How Not to Lose Efficiency During Unemployment?
Every statistic points towards losing a steady income as one of the key causes of anger, depression, health deterioration, fear and anxiety in today’s adult population of the United States, if not of the rest of the world. While anxiety of the future is difficult to shake off, if you find yourself or a loved one in such a position, keeping your self-esteem up, being as efficient as possible and having a purpose through this time is extremely important. Even though the tension can seem to be overwhelming, it is important for you to keep up a routine, taking part in activities that will not only help you survive the period of unemployment but also have you walk out on the other side stronger and prepared.
Acceptance is essential, as is the understanding that it isn’t a permanent setback and with time and effort you will be able to get your life back in order. Though changes and budget cuts must be made, they are only valid until you bounce back.
Even if your reflex is to pull away and withdraw from those closest to you, remember that for mental stability as well as monetary help, these are the people who will be able to help most. Social stigmas do exist and they cannot be done away with, but never underestimate the positive impact of social interaction – a friend who listens without judgement can be a powerful stress relief and a mentor or guide will be able to give you advice, all of which will be out of reach if you withdraw from your circle of friends.
Now is the time to make up for your lost time at the gym or morning jogs. Not just a great way to create a new routine and keep in shape, physical exertion releases antidotes to relieve stress and relax muscles – the endorphins released when you run are enough to boost your mood, as is the satisfaction of getting rid of anger and frustration with a little kickboxing!
The To-Do List
What next? Here is a 8 point plan to keep you occupied, organized, positive and focused, allowing you to concentrate on what is most important – your strengths.
1. Space and time
The first thing that most people who are unemployed begin to miss is their own workspace – the room, cubicle, cabin or even just the desk. Start by setting up a room or corner for yourself at home where you can keep the files important to you, access the web, and focus on the task at hand.
We know distractions at home are inevitable, but it’s important to create a niche for yourself as soon as possible. If your daily tasks include familial obligations, carve out a little ‘me’ time as well, and stick to giving yourself a few hours towards being productive. You can choose to be a part of a co-working space close to home as well, where freelancers from different fields work in a space outside of their homes to be a part of a community even though their jobs don’t call for it.
2. Self-motivation tactics
Determining career goals, listing out priorities both in life, finances and work preferences, and having a checklist to keep you focused can all be powerful self-motivators. The time you spend hunting for work is a job and must be treated like one – with fixed hours, networking and daily requirements.
3. Other channels of productivity
Productivity and resume building is not only about concrete work experiences – companies are flipping through piles of applications in search of out-of-the-box initiatives, volunteer work, socially responsible acts with non-profit organizations and small entrepreneurship projects and apprenticeships.
Don’t focus on only the monetary benefits, it’s a good idea to develop skill sets and learn new things through short courses and certificate programs; the world is rapidly changing, as are the requirements for each field of work, especially in terms of technology.
4. Portfolio, CV, Resume
Now is your chance to update and rework on your portfolio, list your strengths and add skills to your CV and Resume. Self-assessment is a part of the process, boosting your confidence in yourself, as well as allowing others to see you for all that you are capable off.
5. Additional letters
Offbeat applications are all about that little extra something, so add letters of recommendation, intent, and excellence to your portfolios. A simple typed letter letting the company know why you want the job, why this particular post is perfect for you and what you will bring to the table can make all the difference.
6. Upcoming interview preparation
It’s a good idea to network, talk to others who have been through the same process and look online for sample questions and interview preparatory information. The entire application process aside, many get rattled during the interview, lose their train of thought or choke-up because of fear.
Practice with friends and family or in front of a mirror if that is more comfortable, and know that the individual in front of you is not out to get you.
Broaden your horizons, look at opportunities outside of the classified section in the daily news, and apply for jobs that may not fall under your exact expertise or previous area of work. Try and see where your other strengths may help, ones that may not necessarily by academic in nature. From building a strong portfolio to understanding your aptitude and going through the application process, research through conversations with people, media, and the internet is always of great help.
Look at which companies are of most interest to you, and get to know about the space you are working towards – extra information will take you a long way when you are faced with an interview panel.
8. Be prepared
Don’t wait for the phone to ring before you get together your documents and run through interview questions – prepare in advance for any such event and be ready to walk out the door at even a moment’s notice.