NotBlueAtAll

I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Notblueatall’s Guide to Unemployment:

May13

Yes, it’s true! I’ve survived unemployment in both the best and worst ways.  I know the lows and the highs and the roller coaster that is actively looking for work! Below are simple steps & advice that should help and get you through the worst of it. As always, please feel free to ask questions or offer up your own tips/advice!

1.) Allow yourself to grieve! (Remember to apply for unemployment asap!) Give yourself a specified amount of time to think things through & let the reality of losing your job sink in. It hurts, it’s hard, but don’t deny yourself this time! I recommend about 3 days, but it would depend upon you and how devastated you’re feeling. However, dragging it out is damaging. Stick to your allotted time and don’t make excuses!

2.)Stick to a schedule! Preferably the one you had at your last job or the schedule of the job you’ll be seeking. Sleeping in until 12 ever day may seem luxurious and self caring, but it’s a slippery slope that leads to procrastination, late nights and depression. This also means not laying around in bed while looking for work and things of this nature. Keep your bed for sleeping. Sleeping is necessary for the body & mind to heal, not to escape reality.

3.) Make your resume Pop! A good resume isn’t full of inflated credentials and fluffed-up job titles (yes, everyone knows that the longer your title is the further from reality it probably is, too). It is okay to include your specific job functions, but don’t get too caught up in achievements and awards. A quick mention is fine, or better yet include a brief summary of them with what drove you to get them! Passion for a particular field is always helpful! Don’t have a 3 page resume! With so many people looking for work the people screening resumes/applications won’t go through any more than that first page (Okay, they’ll look at your cover letter & the 1st page of your resume, if you’re lucky). A cover letter should be about what you’re looking for and how that fits with the position you’re applying for. Some say you should tailor your cover letter AND resume for each job. But let me tell you something, it’s a lot of work! Especially when you’re applying to a lot of jobs every day. So, customizing your cover letter should be enough if you’re applying for mostly the same types of jobs.

4.) Look for work! It’s time to switch gears and think positively! What do you want to do? What are your strengths? What did you love/hate about your last job? Look for positions that will include these or won’t include the things you hated. Be reasonable! The job market is beyond tough right now and if you convince yourself you can go from a mid-level corporate job to CFO overnight, well, stop fooling yourself! Don’t only look for your dream job (if it exists you’re probably already applying for it anyway). This new position isn’t necessarily going to be a life-long career. Look for what matters most (limit to 3 or so specific things: location, benefits, etc) and be flexible!

5.) Did I mention being flexible? Don’t not apply for a job just because it’s in a lower pay rate than you’re used to. Just because you made $70K last year does not in any way shape or form mean you will make that in your new job! These aren’t the good old days of bonuses and fluffy benefits. Focus on what matters most and when the economy changes again (’cause it always does) hopefully you’ll be in a position that will allow for a raise or promotion.

6.) Interviewing! Think of an interview and a fun challenge. Nerves don’t hide themselves, so have fun with it. Be honest about your intentions and interests and go with your gut! When in doubt, research! In fact, research the hell out of any company you’ll be interviewing with. Remember, you’re interviewing them, too! So ask questions and smile, be confident and enjoy the ride! You’re not on trial here and you’re likely to have several interviews.

7.) Take care of yourself! This means everything from hygiene to paying your bills and keeping house! Don’t let things in your life slide just because you’re out of work. Stick to a routine if you have to in order to make sure things get done, but don’t go over board either. Normality is important here. It is totally okay to pamper yourself every now and then with a simple at-home activity (I’m thinking mud face masks with cucumber slices and sweet soft music or watching some awesome guilty pleasurable thing on the tube). Don’t get too self-focused. The world does not revolve around you and it is all too easy to think that it does when you spend more and more time alone looking for work.

8.) Get out of the house!!! This is so important! Stay social, meet new people, have some fun and let people know you’re looking for work! There’s no shame in letting people know you were laid off these days. You don’t have to beg for recommendations though. Just stay open to things and people and try new things. New things lead to other new things. A new hobby could lead to a new friend who just happened to have a brother who is the hiring manager at a big company! You don’t have to retell the lay-off tale every time someone asks what you do for a living. Keep it simple and up beat and good things will come your way.

9.) Stay away from vices! Okay, your morning cup of Joe is fine by me (the proprietress of a cafe), but if you’ve quit drinking/smoking/drugs/etc stay away from them and any situation that would allow for an opportunity for you to be exposed to them. Seriously! I’ve seen a lot of good people fall into bad habits after a long battle with quitting to begin with. No one wants to relive something that has hurt them or their loved ones, so please just don’t.

10.) Watch your budget & have a plan! How much do you have saved? Can it pay your rent/bills/etc for 3-6 months? How much will unemployment be giving you? How big of a gap does that leave in your budget? Can you make any cutbacks? You don’t need a latte every day (gasp!). You can make a fantastic cup of coffee and have that gorgeous steamed milk at home (leave a comment and I’ll instruct you, doll)! Stop shopping! I know it’s so tempting with all of the extra time, but it will only lead to depression when the bills start rolling in. This also means not using your credit cards! Try as long as you possibly can, as though your life depends on it (it totally does) to not use the credit cards!  There is no such thing as “it was such a great price I couldn’t afford not to buy it!” You save more by not spending, duh! You can still be social, too! Host a potluck night or a BYOB party! It’s cheap & easy (again, leave a comment if you’d like specifics). Meetup with some friends at the local park for a picnic & come frisbee or volleyball! Hit the beach and soak up some sun with a great book. Hit the library (great place to meet peeps) or other community resources/outlets.

11.) “I did what you said and I’m still depressed!” Okay, so the thing is, most people who get laid off or spend any amount of time out of work get depressed. I don’t know that there is an absolute remedy, but you can pull yourself out of it. Identifying that you are depressed is so important because you can find the patterns or behaviors that lead you there (hopefully). Removing yourself from your own social circle is bad news. Isolation is never the answer! Get your vitamins, get some sun, get some human interaction, flirt!, just do things! I’m not telling you to ignore your problems and throw caution to the wind (ahem), but you must be aware of the things that have a negative impact on your mood and your life.

Bottom line: You are worth it! Take the time you need and find what it is you want out of a job and your life! Giving yourself that space to think and let things sink in is so important. Find what drives you or at the very least what you find pleasurable or gives you release. Stay focused on looking for work, but don’t get so caught up in yourself and this pursuit that you lose track of the other aspects of your life. Not everyone has experienced this and may not understand where you coming from or what you’re going through. They can guess and can give you tons of bad advice, often with the best intentions, but in the end it is up to you to find your own way. There is nothing to feel ashamed of and in fact letting people know you’re actively looking for work puts you in their minds the next time they hear about a position. Enjoy this little bit of free time while it lasts while staying away from the things that have or can bring you down. Stay social and even pursue new interests & friends. If you don’t find your dream job the world won’t end, not even your own! It just gives you some time to earn an income while still keeping an eye out for what is right for you. And if you have no idea what that is then just do what makes you feel good. When you feel good you attract other people who also feel good. And this is what life is all about!

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