How to Combat the Unemployment Blues
At some point in your career, you might experience a time of unemployment. Perhaps you chose to quit abruptly or maybe you were laid off. As someone who is recently unemployed, I can say there’s been many highs and lows of the experience thus far. Through my own experiences, I’ve found some tips that might be helpful to those who are unemployed, and inspire you to combat your unemployed blues.
Set time away for yourself! Remember on rough or busy days at your previous job you’d think “Oh, if I just had the time to…” or “If I didn’t have to be confined to this office for 8 hours a day…” Remember when you told yourself those phrases; now, no more excuses, do what you said! For me it was read more, spend more time with my puppy, and continue to get to know myself better so I could get a clearer picture of what I wanted from my career. You might never have another opportunity to have this much time away from the responsibilities of work; take time to enjoy it.
Combat boredom through a balanced schedule of mental and physical stimulation: Robert Fulgham once said, “I fear the boredom that comes with not learning and not taking chances.” I remember the day that I got laid off, the first thing I did when I got home was get out my calendar and my notebook and begin writing down short-term goals with a coinciding daily schedule. When we work or go to school, we have schedules; as crazy as they might seem they actually help keep us sane. When we are bored, our minds will wander and get the best of us. To avoid that, create a list to combat boredom. My plan to combat boredom included everything from daily yoga classes, to a minimum of jobs I’d apply for a week, to coffee with friends, to “me time.” Self-rejuvenation is critical during unemployment; don’t forget this!
Get yourself moving! Prior to getting laid off, I had become pretty stationary as many of us who have worked in an office do. Being unemployed allowed me to completely re-center my health, and care about the physical me. I began taking yoga daily, as well as pushing myself to do intermittent cardio. When I’m having a down day, I’ll get myself moving and I feel better when I’m done. Endorphins naturally make us feel good and happy, plus you’ll be getting out, meeting new people, and we all know the importance of meeting new people…(new networking connections!).
“How’s the job search going?” This might be one of the most inspiring questions that friends and family ask you during your search; it might push you, drive you, and motivate you further…Or it might be one of the most frustrating. I’ve always thought this question was to inquire more about the emotional state of being, rather than unemployment status. For me, I tend to lean more towards the latter and the frustrated part, as it seems to be a sticky reminder that I don’t have a current full time job. However, there are ways to successfully answer this question and use it to your advantage. I’ve found giving my most recent progress on the job search usually suffices inquiring minds, such as divulging about a recent phone interview or a networking lunch.
Every action, no matter how big or small, is progress! It’s very easy to get down on yourself during the job search, because you want it to move fast when the majority of hiring processes do not. There will be times you feel worthless, helpless, and not positive for the future. During those times, take control and kick-start your good vibes back into gear. Attend a networking event, follow up with positions you’ve applied to, stretch your network and see if there’s someone whom you haven’t reached out to yet to meet with. Write down and keep track of all progress, as having a list will be a handy reference to serve as a spark of brightness when you’re feeling blue.
Most important, remember that like everything else in life, this is temporary. If you continue to put your shoulder to the bar, stay active both physically and mentally, and push as hard as you can to get the job you deserve, you’ll find yourself employed in no time!