By now, it’s no surprise that unemployment is a major problem in the United States. I live in a small town that has suffered tremendously due to the shutdown of major manufacturing plants. With the economy seemingly unstable, it’s no wonder that a lot of people are fearful However, here are a few tips to help you ride the wave of unemployment and survive the storm.
Rest – Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Rest? Are you serious? How am I supposed to rest when I’m not sure how long I will be in this situation. I need to get busy so I can compete with the other 15.3 million people who are unemployed.” Whoa! Pump your breaks for a minute. Losing a job can cause a plethora of emotions to surface. So it’s certainly fine to take a break of anywhere between a few days to a few weeks to come to terms with the situation. It’s important to be rested and ready to embark on the start of your new chapter of life. For many of you who have had the fortune of being employed with one organization for an abundance of years, it’s understanding that you would feel somewhat overwhelmed by the circumstance. It’s like getting into the dating scene after the end of a ten year courtship. Certainly some things will have changed. But the rest, will help with coming to grips with it and regaining your focus.
Faith – Trust that everything happens for a reason and you will make it through. Reflect back on a time when things seemed all so dark and dreary. Think about how you felt and how you overcame that circumstance. In 2007, I found myself unemployed and watching my father die. It seemed that my world came crashing down. What was I to do? At the time, it seemed like the lowest period of my life. I doubted I’d ever be able to survive and get back on my feet. With the support of God, I overcame and nearly two years later, I am able to stand stronger than I stood before. Looking back, I’ve had many sad and tiring experiences. But it’s strengthened me beyond measure and you too will be better because of it.
Friends and Family – Find a quality support system. Keyword: Quality. At this time in your life, surrounding yourself with positive people is a must. But you also need people who are empathetic, as well as sympathetic. Spend time with people who have had similar experiences and have come out of it better. They’ll serve as a reflection of what things are to come for you. As an entrepreneur, I face lows also. But I have an excellent support team, who will allow me to wallow in my pity for a brief moment. But not long enough that I stew in it, if you know what I mean. You need to know that you’re going to find something better and it will come in due time. But you also need to understand that you’re not alone. There are 15.3 million people who are also seeking employment. But it will not be this way forever.
Get Involved – One of the best ways to forget about your problems is to help someone else with theirs. So finding a place to donate time, if only an hour a day, to a cause you support creates a positive change. It can also be uplifting to know that you made a difference in a special way. During my time unemployed, I would volunteer to run errands for the elderly. It proved to be so uplifting. But it also made me realize how blessed I truly was to have the ability to drive, see, and do for myself; those things are sometimes taken for granted.
Network – The more people you know the farther you can go. Think of it as your own personal yellow pages. Getting to know people by going to a variety of free seminars or workshops of your interest, is a great way to meet people who may help you in your job search. Unfortunately, it’s not always about what you know, but who you know that helps people find employment. So if you know 300 people well, you have 300 contacts to potential opportunities. Notice, I said know 300 people well. This doesn’t mean that you should pass your personal business cards out to the first 300 people you come in contact with and expect a job opportunity in a week. It means work on relationship building. People only refer those they trust. I can tell you first hand that I’m not recommending anyone that I feel isn’t going to enhance my reputation: not even family. I have my own resume writing business. But a friend had asked me if I had considered grant writing. So I attended a local grant writing seminar to get some information about it. It was there that I met one of the greatest marketing experts. I made an appointment to sit down and talk to her and she became one of the greatest assets to me to help build my business. I made an amazing contact without spending a penny that day and I even got free lunch out of it.
Weigh Your Options – There are a lot of things to think about here. What are your options? Do you have savings to sustain you, should your unemployment benefits end without your finding employment? Are there ways for you to reduce your costs of living, such as downsizing to a smaller home or eating out less? Do I want to look for employment in a similar industry? Should I consider going back to school to enhance my former career path or change career paths? These are just a few questions that you may want to answer to help formulate a plan for your future. I have a friend who faced unemployment last year. She was a marketing associate in a big organization. But when she became unemployed, she took a freelance writing gig which required her to write reviews of new establishments in Atlanta. So she took in a friend as a roommate, to make up for the difference in her monthly expenses and continued freelancing and seeking other opportunities that would allow her to write.
Embrace the Change – Get excited! By now, you should be closer to coming to terms with your situation. Your life has officially changed, whether you’re ready for it or not. How you handle it, determines it’s outcome. This is your chance to write your new chapter. I know many people, myself included, who have had to come to terms with being unemployed. But all of them bounced back and with a vengeance. You have the decision to do something different. What are you going to do? Not too long ago, I met a former colleague who had been laid off, in a grocery store. She told me about her layoff and was very upbeat about it. Seems she had done some serious self reflecting and was excited. She had come to the realization that although she had taken her last job for money, the next opportunity would be for joy! What a great attitude to have!
While it appears that the world is engulfed with despair and sorrow. But while things may not be as great as we’d like. We still have so much to be thankful for. Change is the only constant and we should understand everything is cyclical. We all go through our share of ups and downs. But try to remain positive, as I’m certain that these helpful tips will help you successfully weather the storm.