6 Things I Learned While UnEmployed
Well, it ain't pretty. The job hunt is like sitting at 120-degree temperature (underground), waiting on a train and watching working trains continually pass you by while on the platform. Now for those of you who live in New York or a public transit driven city, you'll understand this nightmare even more. The entire process of looking for a new role is exhausting and often discouraging; however, there are some excellent lessons and gems that show up along the way. From being unemployed to prepping for a blog and keeping your spirits high. Here are six things that helped me get through the job hunt desert.
"With highlights like the ones to the left, of course I'll have opportunity."
Me, talking to myself while writing this post....
- Have a plan. If you unexpectedly find yourself jobless as a result of being laid-off, fired or because you were ready to move-on --have a thought process in place. Having a plan will give you the right amount of encouragement to keep moving forward. Particularly, if you are laid-off or fired--quickly review the situation and come up with a way to see yourself thru this life interruption. As we all know, having a plan is often interrupted by real life but a plan is is a guide to help you stay on track and light your way to accomplishment.
- Money. Umm, hmm...It's always easier to say, than to actually have at times. But as you've heard throughout your life, a savings account, 401k, IRA or money market can give you some relief. If none of those options are available don't waste time filing for unemployment( getting that paperwork submitted) if in fact that is a viable option. And if you are a freelancer like I was when I had to file for unemployment (stay on top of the process because it does take longer for a decision to be made). Also, if you happen to have a side gig, tap into that and the contacts you've made to keep that hustle going until your next full-time gig is in sight.
- Hope. Another beautiful word, that seems more cliche than ever while in the middle of this type of crisis. But I can promise you, without hope ( nor faith for that matter) how can you begin to pursue any dream or goal if you don't believe that it can happen.
- Research/Network. I recommend catching up on your reading. And if you are not already an avid reader you will be. I can tell you that catching up on books, articles of interest, blogs, podcasts and TED talks will be helpful. Any one of these outlets will give you a sense of staying informed within your industry and taking some of the pressure off of the daily grind of looking for a job. And network! Use LinkedIn to reach out to people whom have a job you would want and request that information! I was reaching out to strangers every week. In the beginning it may feel weird - but you just need one person to grant the informational who actually may remember that paying it forward is the way to go. If there are free events thru an alumni group or meet up events or networking socials- GO! No time like the present to give out your business card and get to know folks.
- Entertainment. I would not suggest spending eight hours a day, every day looking for a job-- break up your day. For example, my days consisted of job searching in the morning, taking a lunch, catching up on a show or reading, email follow-ups and then focusing on my passion projects. Take time to watch that movie you have not seen, go see a friend or run to that new cafe or restaurant ( if the budget permits). My point is- don't waste away and continue deep stressing every day. You must break the day up, so that you don't feel like you are drowning in stress, desperation or rejection.
- Self-care. I know--a cliche term. Before my days started, typically I would be up by 6:30 am at the latest and get a good workout in. I found that my morning workouts yielded better productive results for the day and I was less likely to feel so stuck. I highly recommend hitting the gym, a park or stay at home and workout. The point is- to get moving. Also, this would be the time to go get those massages if you have a hook-up or a gift card. If the budget does not permit, do the best you can to keep to your skin and hair healthy because stress can have you looking crazy. I scared myself one morning- I looked like I had a lion's mane for a day or two. Meditate or simply sit in silence whenever possible and of course water, water, water!!
These are the things that come to mind when I think of job searching. Of course, I have some other tidbits to offer, but I will put those in another upcoming post. The process of finding a job is not easy. However, by remaining positive and making the best of your situation, small victories and changes do begin to shine brighter than the unexplained rejections, non-responsive recruiters and time that seems to pass. Never give up on your pursuits, because right when you think everything is lost, an amazing blessing shows up. Keep moving forward- mind, body, spirit.
Although, I've been in a new daytime role for a while now, these things are never too far away from my thinking. Stay blessed and positive!