Thank you Mae for your generosity in allowing me to publish this post for my guests.
Unemployment is upsetting for many reasons beyond immediate financial concerns:
Your routine is disrupted. You have become used to waking up every morning at a certain time. You ate lunch at a certain time. You went home at a certain time. You spent around 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, getting ready for work, commuting to work, working, commuting home again, and then unwinding from your day. Now, you have a lot of unstructured time on your hands.
Your social interactions are likely strained. Your friends and former colleagues know you are out of a job. They are well-meaning when they ask (every time they see you), “How’s the job hunt going?” or something similar. Until you do find something, you probably cringe inside every time you answer.
You feel left out. Whether you were fired or otherwise “let go”, you are no longer a member of the “I have a job” club. You are used to having conversations involving your profession and now have very few people to talk to. The LinkedIn groups you belong to are your only connection to the industry you used to work in.
Your role in Society has changed. Your significant other is working so of course, you are doing the housework, chauffeuring the kids to school and extra-curricular activities, and going to the grocery store. If you are a woman, society will accept this without another thought (although you may not be wild about it). If you are a man, not so much. Unemployed men are (probably) sick to death of being referred to as “Mr. Mom” or a “House-Husband”. You are told, “Staying home is great! You are so lucky to be out of the rat-race!” or other similar statements. Inside, you scream.
You have already done this but finding a new position is taking longer than you had hoped. You are hanging in there, but it is getting tough to maintain a happy attitude. You jump every time your mobile rings, hoping it is a Recruiter on the other end of the line. You check your email every 5 minutes. You even check your “Junk” and “Spam” folders just in case an offer was sent there by mistake. “Hope” just isn’t cutting it.
If any or all of the above applies to you, do this:
Structure your time. Get up at the same time you always did when you were working. Spend the morning searching out opportunities, networking, and maintaining your skills. Maybe learn a new one. Have lunch. During the afternoon, catch up on the housework (a messy abode is just plain depressing), and nurture your soul or work on that golf swing. In other words, have some FUN.
I know, some of you are shaking your heads in doubt. After all, you should be “working” 8 hours a day looking for a job, right? Wrong. Because it can take 6 – 8 months to secure a new position, spending every day, all day looking for work will grow old. You will lose your enthusiasm and maybe blow the interview you do get. Another thing: when you get the next job, you won’t be eligible for any vacation time for 6 months to a year.
Make some new friends. You probably don’t know the name of the people living right next door to you, if you are like most folks today. You probably don’t know the name of the person that drops the mail in your box every day, either. Have you ever met the people who spent 8 hours a day with your kids? No, no, and well – no. So go find out. Smile, introduce yourself and shake hands with them.
That doesn’t mean you should abandon the friends you already have; right now you don’t need to be reminded of your situation every time you see them. When they ask, reply, “I am taking my time to find a job I will really enjoy!” smile, and then change the subject.
Volunteer. If you are an accountant offer to help out at your CPA society. They will probably take you up on your offer. You’re an out of work attorney? You can do some pro bono work. Good for your spirit and it will keep you in the game. You’re in IT, an Engineer, or an Architect? Local high schools and community colleges would love for someone like you to help them out. Offer your assistance.
Decide for yourself what your “role “ is. If you live your life according to what “society” dictates, you will be unhappy – working or not. Okay, you used to work as the CEO of ABC, Inc. and were replaced. So what? You used to work as the Vice President of Something and now you are a “domestic goddess”. Again, so what?
You, Dear Reader, are not what you do for a living. (Read that sentence again – humor me.) If you are over the age of 14, you have probably noticed Humanity is rife with people who make stupid and insensitive remarks. You might have also noticed that “society” likes to tell people how they should live their lives. You live your life according to what works for you.
Man or Woman, when you are the one responsible for running a home and taking care of kids all day long, you are doing a (mostly) thankless job. However, it is one worthy of respect. Consider this for a moment: who was taking care of the house so Thomas Edison could be creative all day? While Henry Ford was building his empire working 80 hours a week, who was running the household, taking care of the kids, laundry and so on?
You are not a “house-husband” or a “house-wife”. You are not a loser just because you are in-between jobs. You don’t have to feel bad about yourself because you no longer spend almost half of your life away from the things you enjoy and those that you love.
If you have done the above, you might just realize you don’t want to work for someone else any longer. Maybe you have decided to make your dreams come true rather than someone else’s. So you put a plan together, get some help from some other unemployed people you know, and together, go into business.
Do this and it’s just a matter of time before you will become a business success. According to your definition of “success”. Your dreams, your career, and your life are all what you make of them.
Now, is that time. What are you waiting for?
Do connect with Mae here on LinkedIn and on Twitter @NCMae.
Mae is currently pursuing graduate degrees in accounting (MSA) and business (MBA). She also provides consultation services to small firms and is writing a (somewhat) fictional tale of financial fraud, the murder used to cover it up, and the family torn apart by greed.