Guide to surviving unemployment

Unemployment is a life-altering event that has probably happened to many of us at some point. Being laid off is an unexpected event that can lead anyone to question their skills, marketability, and self-worth. The reason you’ve found yourself being unemployed doesn’t matter. What matters is what you’ll do next, and how to cope with being unemployed.

Unemployment rate varies from State to State, as well as the number of opportunities for each industry. Some are hot markets, some are not. Let’s look at the tech industry, for instance, the potential for employment may be much higher than let’s say, creative careers like writing, marketing, etc.

If you find yourself looking for employment in a saturated industry, the odds of it taking you longer to find a job may be higher. Age is another factor. Whether we like to admit it or not, we’re living in a world lead by a younger generation (millennials), and becoming unemployed in your 50s may cause finding a job more challenging than when you were younger.

Here are some ways you can cope with unemployment that I’ve practiced myself, and they helped me during that time of uncertainty.

Take a break after losing your job. Take a couple of weeks off or more if possible to go through the motions. Be angry, afraid, uncertain, doubtful, and then, get over it.

Get over it. Start seeing prospects at a new light. Explore the possibility that this may be your chance to do something new. Challenging events happen in life and we have to deal with them head on in order to move through them quickly. Accept what has happened and start looking at options.

What are your options? Can you afford to go back to school to gain additional skills in your field or to become more competitive? Are you considering a totally different career? If so, what education and/or training would be necessary for you to enter the field? Can you afford a pay cut to pursue an entry level position?

Examine your budget. How long can you afford to be out of work? Create a realistic budget and stick to it. You may have to alter your lifestyle for a while. This is one of the most difficult things to do but trust me, you’ll not only get used to it, but you’ll come to realize how much money you can waste when you have it.

Volunteer or intern. Being unemployed for a long period of time can take a toll on your emotions, self-esteem, and self-worth. You can also develop feelings of hopelessness and experience utter boredom. Volunteering is a great way to get out of the house and may help you feel better about yourself. Interning can help you gain skills to fill in gaps in your resume or help you land a different job if you’re switching gears. They give you an opportunity to network and meet people.

Get a part time job. Keeping your mind occupied is essential to surviving a lengthy unemployment period. Here you can get creative, maybe by taking a job with minimal stress, something totally outside the box, or something that will help you learn a desirable skill.

Join associations in the industry you’re interested in. Join organizations closely related to your field. And, network, network, network. Bring business cards, brochures, a copy of your resume. Whatever information necessary for prospects and organizations to be able to contact you.

Stay positive and keep busy. Continue to enjoy life as much as possible. Cutting back financially doesn’t mean you can’t find fun and affordable activities. Hang out with friends and family, read or join a book club, go for hikes, pick up a hobby you can afford, or volunteer. Any activity is better than sitting home waiting for the perfect job to arrive.

Lastly: Believe in yourself. Remind yourself that this is just temporary. Tell yourself every day that you will get a job!

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