Let's get some basic definitions out of the way.
- Work is generating income. You might even be one of the ever increasing numbers of boomerang kids and live with your parents, but go get a minimum wage job. Or two!
- Life is basic living: a roof over your head, food and transportation.
In many cases the financial equation doesn't close. You might have to rely on the support of family or friends (couch surfing), but hopefully you will return the favor someday. Prioritization takes on a whole new meaning within these narrow definitions. Meeting friends in an expensive coffee shop might not something you can afford.
Despite all the hours you might be spending behind a cash register, your number one job is finding a job. Spend as much time as you possibly can on this.
- Do you have a great resume? Does it tell "your story"? Make sure your activities have common themes that ties to what you want to do. (And if you are pursuing a few different jobs, it is ok to have a few different resumes).
- Are you pursuing all options? Not only should you check all the job listing sites, but you should be looking at all the companies that you might be interested in and seeing what openings they have on their web sites.
- Do not think that an application or an email is it. Be aggressive - try to call the company and find people to speak with.
- Find other people to talk with and get advice. Ask for an "informational interview". Every few networking calls will yield another networking call and these calls increase your odds significantly.
Leverage every contact you have who might be able to refer you to a company. It is completely naive to think you can do this without any help from others who might know someone. And don't worry about it. A connection is merely opening a door. Your personality and skills keep you in the game.
And when you get an interview, treat it with great importance. Do you homework. Know the company well and be able to position yourself within that company. Read about business. Read about the industry. Read sites like Career Realism. Take nothing for granted.
All this hard work and perseverance will pay off. Once established in a job you can step back and take a broader look at your career and your life. One step at a time.