Basics of Unemployment

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Feb 3, 2011 in , | No Comments

There’s no doubt, being unemployed puts you in stressful and financially difficult situations.

Below are basic suggestions to make the transition into unemployment a little easier.

1.) Be sure to watch your self-esteem in unemployment.  A low self-esteem can lead to depression and sink a person to levels difficult to snap out of, limiting job prospects. Symptoms include: distancing from others, becoming a couch potato, eating too much, putting yourself down and being angry.

2.) Keep physically and mentally active. Exercise daily, this keeps your body healthy and endorphins active in your brain, making for a happier mood. Extra pounds can damage your physical health and also limit job prospects–weight discrimination exists.

3.) Stay in touch with friends and family for support.  Reach out for help from caring individuals, don’t “tuff it out”. Let people know what you need, they might not have a clue.

4.) Listen to experts on how best to market yourself. See publications by Richard Bolles, Michael Farr, Dan Miller and others considered experts in the job search field. Networking is key. If you don’t know how to do it effectively, learn how. Most jobs are landed through good networking skills.

5.) Read up on interviewing, practice with someone until you feel confident you can convey accomplishments, work history and what you can do for an employer in the future (value). Michael Farr’s books on interviewing are excellent and may be found, free, at your local library. Sign up for a mock interview with your local Career Center or One Stop–it’s free.

6.) If you haven’t redone your resume in over two years, time for a make-over! I highly recommend the resources by Michael Farr for resumes and cover letters. He has examples for different sectors, walks you through important exercises that help you remember what you’ve done and present it well.

7.) If you feel depressed, in despair, hopeless and worthless, it’s time to seek out professional help. Free counseling at your place of worship, low cost counseling from your local mental health facility, or private counselor, are all available. The vast majority of counselors work on a sliding scale based on your income, or lack thereof. Don’t wait to get help, no need to suffer in silence or alone. Depression can be heard in your voice during an interview, costing you a job.

8.) Watch what goes in your mouth! Eating too much will increase your waistline, drinking alcohol can depress you, so can too much sugar. Taking recreational drugs doesn’t solve problems, rather, creates more. Get help if drugs or alcohol are a problem. Find healthy ways to cope with stress.

9.) You are not a loser, washed-up or a failure if you are unemployed. Remember that the problem is the economy, don’t discount your self-worth or think your job defines your worth. Instead, recall your accomplishments and put your skills to good use by volunteering while unemployed.

10.) Help others! You’ll forget your own situation and the person you assist may just have a job lead for you. Often, volunteers are hired by the nonprofit they assist.

11.) Sit down and honestly look at your financial situation. It might not be pretty, but when you know what’s available (or not) you’ll have a better handle on finances. The key word is budget. No longer are you able to spend the way you did while employed–remind yourself of this daily. Instead of it being a burden, make it a game. Find new ways to cut costs. See my earlier post, What’s In Your Wallet? for money saving tips.

12.) Most of all, keep your hope. Unemployment is not a permanent situation, things will change, things will get better. They always do. Try to look for the opportunities now available to you, some not considered previously, instead of what was–that’s history. The future is ahead.

©2009 Judy Anne Cavey, who resides in the S.F. Bay Area of California is a credentialed, certified, higher education instructor who taught Work Experience/Cooperative Education and ESL at three community colleges. She is also a freelance writer and grant writer currently authoring a textbook, has designed other learning programs, and worked with several nonprofits. Her Edublog, “Work Experience”, is a not-for-profit endeavor designed to assist job seekers of all ages.