Saturday, October 2, 2010

9 Things You Must Do Now if You are Out of Work by Suzanne Stanford

You Just Lost Your Job!

The 9 Things You Must Do Now If You’re Out Of Work

Suzanne Stanford

It’s a terrible thing to be out of work and struggle to support yourself or your family but you’re not alone.  According to the August report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 14.9 million Americans are jobless. 6.2 million, or 42%, have been out of work for 6 months or more.  The “Land of the Brave” and the “Home of the Free” is taking a beating right now.  There are things we can do however to mitigate our loss, bounce back, and create a secure future.

#1.  EMBRACE THE “IT’S THEIR LOSS” ATTITUDE:  As hard as it may be, bless the boss that let you go!  He or she just let an amazing and talented person, “You”, go, and despite all scenarios, you will be missed.  So, in effect, they need your blessings.  Give it to them.  It will serve your psyche in the long run.  Take the high road!  You are now “free” to re-evaluate your goals and objectives for your life.  Is it scary to be jobless in these economic times?  Absolutely.  Is it the end of the world?  Not even close.  You are your biggest asset.  You are valuable.  Embrace the future of new and exciting possibilities, whether it’s working in the same field or charting a new path.

#2.  THANK GOD or Whomever your “Higher Power” is:  Be grateful that you are who you are and that you live in America.  Know that you are a unique, one-of-a-kind amazing being.  You are not defined by your past, your age or your circumstances.  Rather, you make the “choice” to define yourself!  You can choose to stay the same as you are, improve yourself or your skills or change direction entirely.  Your talents and gifts are priceless.  Thankfully, we live in a country that guarantees us “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.  The key is, we need to make it happen.  Despite America’s shortcomings, you don’t see people rowing away from our shores. Life is not a “dress rehearsal”.  Every day is an Opening Night and you can make it a Smash Hit!

#3.  GIVE YOURSELF 48 HOURS OF “ME” TIME:  Starting on the day after you’ve been laid off, downsized, or fired, allow yourself 2 days to grieve. 
On Day 1:  Cry, get mad, feel sorry for yourself, rant to your friends.  If you’re an emotional eater, binge on your favorite foods for a day.  Whatever you need to do to get over the emotional hurt, shock, feelings of unfairness, or fear, do it!  But do it for just 1 day. 
On Day 2:  Have fun!  Don’t get caught up in thoughts of doom, gloom or anger.  If you find yourself slipping into that, re-read #1.  Spend the day doing whatever it is that you have wanted to do but didn’t have the time because of work.  It can be anything from spending a day with your family, getting together with your friends, or learning something new that you’ve always wanted to try.  Whatever it is that will give your mind a rest in the spirit of play and involves people, do it! Don’t give in to negative thoughts!  The result of this exercise is to re-charge your emotional batteries. 
If you’ve already been out of work for a while, then you can either include this step or just skip to #3.

#3.  SELF ASSESSMENT:  Take an empty spiral notebook and on the first page, write “My Job”.  Then, draw a vertical line down the center of the page.  On the left side, write everything you like or liked about your former job or career.  Be sure to include a category of responsibilities you like to do; regardless of whether you’ve been in charge of that task before or even if you’ve never been involved but think you’d be an asset if given the chance.  On the right side, write everything you don’t or didn’t like.   This will help give you clarity as you think about your next job move in terms of the responsibilities and environment in which you’d like to work.  

#4.  IDENTIFY YOUR IDEAL JOB:  On the next page, write at the top “If money were not an issue, this is what I would I like to do?”  In a stream of consciousness, without considering your educational background or training, write down what job you would absolutely love to do.  Do not consider the money that the particular job or career typically offers.  This is to find your PASSION.  If you come up with different jobs, then put each one on their own piece of paper.  Again, draw a vertical line down the center of the page and on the left side, write down everything you like, or think you’d like about this job or profession.  Ideas of things you might include are:  not an office job, less business travel, like working with start-up companies, can work more independently, etc.  If you’re happy with your current job or career, write down what you like about it. On the right side, list the things about that job or profession that you don’t like.    Now, review your lists.  This should provide a description of your “ideal” job and some direction in finding it.

#5.  ACTION PLAN:  If you’ve come up with a job that is a departure from the one you’ve already been doing, before jumping in head first and spending money on school, consider seeking someone out who already has that job.  Ask for a brief “informational interview”.   If the person likes you, you may get an opportunity to observe them or their staff at work, or you can offer your services for free as an unpaid intern.  Volunteering, whether at a job you’d like to explore, or even just for charity, often leads to wonderful and unexpected opportunities. 
If you’re looking for a job in your existing field, let colleagues know that you’re available.  Then go through the business cards you’ve collected along your employment journey.  People want to be in business with people they know, like, and trust.  Networking is the key to the “hidden” job market.  One of the great things about email is that it’s not obtrusive.  You can quickly shoot someone a “’just catching up” note and voila!  You’re connected.    Also, make sure you’re on the main social networking websites such as LinkedIn and FaceBook.  You may find that your circle of influence is a hotbed of job leads.

#6.  RESUME:  Job hunting is all online – meaning that software programs, not people, are the initial gate keepers in selecting your resume to be read by a living, breathing person who can bring you in for an interview. As for writing your resume, you might want to consider hiring a certified resume writer, as they’re often connected with online recruiters and can offer targeted online exposure for you. If you don’t want to spend the money which can range from approximately $299 to more than $1,000, you should review a recent resume writing book before getting started. There are formatting specifics that must be followed or your resume will not make it through the screening process.  The key is to get “in the game” as quickly as possible. 

#7.  UNEMPLOYMENT DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE MORE VACATION DAYS:  While you may not have an office to be at, or a boss to report to, IT IS IMPERATIVE, that you treat Monday through Friday as work days that are defined by “usual” work hours.  The temptation exists to get caught up in the daily routine of chores or extra activities, but resist it.  Remember, your time is money regardless of whether or not you’re getting a paycheck.  The two hours you took to lunch with your friend may have been the exact time when “the person you thought about calling” just filled a job that needed your skills.  

#8.  IF YOU NEED MONEY NOW:  Don’t be attached to your “stuff”.  Look around your house and see what you can sell either at a garage sale or online.  Even if you make a few hundred dollars, it is more than you had before.  There are also opportunities for online work at home.  First, “beware” of scams.  Never pay for any opportunity to make money for another company.  There are however opportunities to start your own business which does cost money, takes consistent and dedicated time, and there’s no such thing as “get rich quick with little or no work or training!”  As for work at home jobs provided by companies, the following are just some of many legitimate resources.  Some of these also provide benefits and your employment contract is much like one with a traditional offline business.,,,,,,,,, 

#9.  DON’T GET DISCOURAGED:  Know that looking for a job is “often” harder work than actually working at a job.  Nutrition is also vitally important during this time.  Fuel your body with healthy food and regular exercise, even if it’s just taking a walk around the neighborhood for thirty minutes. Stimulating your endorphins helps to promote a positive attitude, self esteem, and confidence – qualities you need to land that perfect job. 

Suzanne Stanford

Editor's note:
Ms. Stanford is an award winning, internationally known speaker and expert on Internet Safety and innovative education tools and systems.    You can comment below or write directly to her at     

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