Tips for Surviving Unemployment

When you're between jobs and searching for employment, it's easy to get discouraged. It's hard to maintain your sense of self-worth when you don't hear back from potential employers and get rejected by others. How do I know this? Because I am currently in the category of unemployed.

Last month my husband and I moved to Georgia from Arizona, where I had a full-time job. I've been looking for a job here since June, and I've had my fair share of discouragement. So this post is meant partly to inspire me, and partly for anybody in the same boat as I am.

Here are some ideas for making it through the rough times.

Seek support from friends. Your true friends will encourage you and support you, which is something you need during this time. Having the support of family and friends is invaluable. Not to mention that friends and family may have job leads. Which brings me to the next point...

Network. Tell everyone you know that you're looking for a job. Join an organization in your field. Use Internet tools like LinkedIn to network. You never know where a job lead will come from, so always network.

Brainstorm. I've found my unemployment to be a perfect time to brainstorm. I brainstorm what my perfect job would be (if you don't know what you want, how will you get it?). I also brainstorm temporary solutions - are there temp jobs I'd be willing to do? Are there side jobs I could do? Are there other solutions to your situation that you haven't thought of yet? Brainstorm away!

Cut yourself some slack. Looking for a job can be harder than working a full-time job. It drains your energy, you face rejection, AND you don't get paid for it. So pat yourself on the back for how hard you've worked. You haven't landed the perfect job yet, but you're doing what you can.

Don't take rejection personally. On a bad day it's hard not to take it personally, but the truth is that you will fit well in some jobs and not in others. There are many reasons you weren't chosen for the job and someone else was, and not all of them have to do with you. Don't take a rejection personally. Just don't.

Remember your hobbies. It's easy to get stuck a rut when you're unemployed. It gets depressing to watch TV all day in your pajamas. To combat this, do something. What are the things you like to do? This is a perfect time to do them. Get out in your garden, sew a quilt, lift weights, bake some bread. You get the idea.

Learn a new skill. The great thing about not having a job (and the worst thing about it!) is all the free time. You can't look for a job 24/7 or you'd go crazy. So how about learning something new? You could even learn something to make you more marketable. Head to your local library and find a book on something you've been wanting to learn to do.

Be positive. I know, that's easy for me to say. Believe me, I know how hard it is to be positive when you're unemployed. I struggle every day with this. But on days when I focus on the positive I have more energy, am more willing to put myself out there, and have a lot more confidence in myself and my abilities. These are all things that can help with the job search. And staying positive is essential for your mental and emotional health!

*Almost everyone goes through a period of unemployment at some point in their lives, so remember that you're not alone. What kinds of things helped YOU during that time? I'd love to hear your comments and ideas.


Megan B. said...

What a great post - I'm sure you're helping a lot of people just by having written it. LOVE that you try to stay positive, too.

I was unemployed in my early twenties, about six months after college. Right out of college, I had a contract position with a great company(filling in for a woman on maternity leave), and when it ended, the company cut WAY back, and I was out of a job. Worst part was, I was on my own. Had been since 18, so everything was on me - rent, groceries, utilities, car, etc. And I didn't have any money in savings to fall back on! So, going along with your tip of "what temp job would you consider" I started doing some light accounting for my landlord. I did that for about four weeks, and then was able to find a full-time job in my "field."

That was one of the scariest and best times of my life because I was forced to be in new territory that wasn't comfortable (scary), but I learned I'm a lot more resilient than I ever imagined.

Good luck!

Priscilla Palmer said...

You have been added to The Personal Development List. I would love for you to participate.

Holli Jo said...

megan b. - I hope I'm helping people by writing this. Then at least my unemployment won't have been in vain! :)

That's so true about learning to be resilient in situations like this. Hard times really show you what you're made of.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Holli Jo said...

Priscilla - I'm honored to be part of the personal development list!

Thanks so much. :)