Being out of work is stressful, but there are ways to manage the anxiety.

#b#Tom Brophy#/b#, former owner of Brophy’s Shoes in Princeton and 18-year veteran of New Jersey’s Department of Labor, will offer insights into managing the depression and anxiety that ends up hindering job searches on Tuesday, July 13, at noon at the First Presbyterian Church of Titusville. The free event is part of the church’s “Mercer Business and Professionals Brown-Bag Luncheon. Visit or call 609-737-1385.

Brophy is the author of “Little Victories: Conquering Unemployment” (available at Amazon for $19.99). In it he writes about the secret life of the unemployed — how much of our identities are tied to our jobs and the sense of loss and dismay that comes from unemployment.

“Unemployment is a world unto itself where we are thrust into a new ‘neighborhood’ and are expected to know exactly what to do,” he writes. “We’re numb, and we spend the next three months going through the motions — not grasping what really happens.”

What happens, he writes, is pain and disbelief, emotions that can cripple our initiative to find new work. Too often, we simply rehash and relive what was, losing precious time finding what’s next.

Brophy says he was devastated when his family shoe store closed. He then joined the state Department of Labor’s unemployment division, where he spent 15 years managing an unemployment office and an overall 18 years counseling more than 40,000 professionals who were in the same situation he had been.

“I never forgot the gut wrenching experience of being unemployed,” Brophy says. “I created a program called Transition Layoff Counseling, in which I spent 90 minutes doing one-on-one interviews with clients and giving feedback. Ninety-two percent were back to work in five months.”

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