I am one of the most optimistic people that I know. You can ask around. I promise you, I have street cred. And yet, as I return to New York from my recent vacation in Europe, I feel devoid of energy to continue working as much as I usually do. What discourages me the most is the effort it takes to move worthwhile projects forward and the amount of time wasted doing superfluous things that are now expected. Lately, I’ve noticed many others share these feelings with me.

I know very talented entrepreneurs who, despite presenting brilliant concepts to their clients, keep facing delays in the implementation stage. I know many former executives who have been looking for a job for months (or years) only to find few opportunities at their level. It is increasingly complicated to make the kind of living we were all used to and to figure out how to tweak your talent and your knowledge to fit the needs of this new economy. Add to that the 24/7 social media engagement to promote whatever it is you do (or wish to do), and you have an additional full time job with a relatively low ROI (Return on Investment). It’s simply exhausting.

What Happens to Quesadilla Lady When WalMart Moves In?

Many people are getting demoralized. The question is, what happens now? Do we finally come up with a new way of making a living that better adjusts to our present circumstances? Do we reconsider the real value of social media and limit our involvement to meaningful interactions? How do we turn our current work condition into a more fulfilling one that contributes to our waking up every morning with a smile rather than a scowl?

The options available to you will surely depend on your family situation, but the truth is that if you are unhappy to the point of being despondent, you might want to consider a drastic change.

If you’ve been looking for a job and you’ve given up due to the complete lack of success, it may be time to consider opening a business, partnering with some friends or offering your services to the rest of the world via the Internet.

If you are a freelancer who’s frustrated because you can’t keep a steady flow of gigs regardless of how many followers you have on Twitter, you may want to supplement your income by renting a room in your home to foreigners who are traveling to your city via Air BnB (www.airbnb.com).

And if you own a small business and are tired of not landing jobs or not getting paid on time, perhaps you finally have to hire an intern and train him/her to help you market your services and to collect your money.

Jobless Mexicana Flight Attendants Pose for Calendar 

The truth is that it’s time for us to admit that things are not working the way we’d like them to, and out of the box thinking along with the willingness to take risks are the only options we have to find an acceptable solution for our individual difficulties.   

See, even when I’m fed up with the things that take me away from doing what I love to do most (writing fiction, presenting, creating programs,) I’m still an optimist. Here I am, offering suggestions to others who are as fed up as I am. Go figure.

Mariela Dabbah is the CEO of Latinos in College and an award-winning, best-selling author and speaker. Her new book Poder de Mujer will be published by C.A.Press (an imprint of the Penguin Group), March 2012. 

Follow her on TWITTER: @marieladabbah.

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Mariela Dabbah is a published author and founder of Latinos in College, a not-for-profit organization, and of the Red Shoe Movement, an initiative that invites women to wear red shoes to work on Tuesday to signal their support for other women’s careers.

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