Surviving Unemployment

In today’s tough economic times, there are very few who can feel safe in their jobs.  With unemplyment skyrocketing, it’s important to be prepared in case you should be forced to join the masses of those looking for work.  Here are a few tips and tricks written by Kim from Parachuting Without a Net. 

Plan For It:  Don’t assume you’re immune.  If you have any personal documents on your work PC, copy them to CD, email them to yourself as attachments, or even print a copy.  Copy or print out your email contacts.  Companies are handing employees a box and walking them out.  You may not have a chance to access your information. 

File:  File your unemployment claim as soon as possible.  It may take 4-6 weeks to start receiving benefits, so even if you receive a severance, it may run out before your benefits kick in.

Network:  Tell people you are looking as soon as possible.   HR departments are being overwhelmed with applications, so if you can bypass the masses and have someone personally deliver your resume, you might have a better chance of being interviewed.

Report to Your Desk:  Put a notepad, pen, calendar, file folders, etc.  in your home office, so when the phone rings with a potential employer on the other end, you’re not scrambling around writing on the back of envelopes with a crayon.  If you don’t have a home office space, use a small tote or basket to keep it all handy. 

Get Organized:  Those file folders mentioned above?  Those are to keep all your separation paperwork, insurance information, unemployment claims, and all the other paper organized.  Make a folder for each job application, so when they finally call, you can quickly put your hands on all the pertinent info, making you look supremely professional.

Go to School:  Find an online course or tutorial and brush up on or learn a new computer program.  Take a summer class at your local college.  Visit the library for additional free resources.  Keep your skill set sharp. 

Put on Pants:  It’s tempting to hang out on the couch in your sweats, but I found it helps my mood if I get up, shower, and even just put on some lip gloss.  Not to mention, if I were to get a call about an interview, I could be ready a lot faster than if I had just rolled out of bed.  Enjoy an occasional sloth day but don’t slack off on personal hygiene.

Seek Medical Attention:  While you still have insurance, and while your schedule is relatively free, visit your doctor and dentist, and catch up on any physicals you may have been putting off.  Also, if you think you’re starting to feel depressed, please see your doctor immediately. 

Be Patient:  Remember, you aren’t the only one competing for that job.   It may take two or three weeks, if not longer, to get an initial response.  Even if you haven’t heard back from the employer, don’t forget to follow up.   It keeps your name in the front of their mind and their files.

Be Positive:  Take a walk.  Visit a museum, the zoo, an art exhibit.  Stay healthy.  Don’t drown your sorrows in M&Ms.  Catch up on your reading.  Organize your closet.  Even alphabetizing your CDs can give you a sense of accomplishment. 

Finally, look at being unemployed as a gift of time.  Spend time making contacts, networking (both on and off line), and catching up on all the things that you would have liked to do but didn’t have the time for when you were working.  And remember, unemployment won’t last forever.  Whether your time looking for a new job is brief or extended, spend each moment wisely.  This is perhaps the most important key to surviving unemployment.

Written by: Kim Dorsey 


One Response to “Surviving Unemployment”

  1. There is so much to do when you are laid off. You can either make it fun or you can wallow in your sorrow. I chose to make something of it and enjoy it. I started a blog 4 months ago when I was laid off. Here’s a link to the most popular posts including my story –

    Best wishes to all,

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