As the days get longer and the sunlight and warmer temperatures start to lure you outdoors, it is harder to stay focused on a job search five days a week. Do you have to?
Prior to being an independent career specialist and corporate trainer, I spent many lonesome, scary, depressing, freedom reveling months, in various seasons, handling the “will I ever work again” syndrome. Though attitude accounts for an enormous part of your ability to get through this transitionary time, using these survival tips might help too.
> Job search is 5 focused, productive hours a day in the first couple months of being unemployed. Get organized, set daily and weekly goals and make the best use of each quarter of the day. Surfing the net, updating Facebook and answering questionnaires does not count for any of the 5 hours; updating and working on Linkedin does count.
> Balance your day with pleasurable activities or play every afternoon and work for a couple hours in the cooler evenings on tasks that don’t require making business calls.
> Treat yourself to designer coffees rather than designer sportswear. Don’t deny yourself little luxuries. Discount movie theatres are a great escape from the heat and from the real world of looking for work day in and day out. Free lunch hour concerts downtown get you out of the house, possibly chatting up working stiffs who can help you and give you a cultural break from your desk.
> Let friends treat you to coffees or lunches when they offer, then remember to pay them back when you are re-employed.
> Attend a yoga, meditation or exercise class minimally 3 times a week. Take care of your body, mind and spirit. Eat more sensibly than ever before.
> Make a list of your assets, liabilities and begin eliminating expenses you can temporarily live without. Create a stripped down budget. Parking costs for instance can accumulate quickly, watch your transportation practices.
> Don’t give up child care until you absolutely have to. You need the freedom to go on advice calls and interviews and to meet with fellow job seekers for support.
> Allow yourself the luxury of sleeping in an hour or so later than when you HAD TO get up. You may have to sacrifice some afternoon play time or evenings but you deserve it, guilt free sleep-ins only allowed!
> Volunteer work is a great remedy for self-pity. Give back to the community, you owe it to yourself and it reminds you of how talented you really are and how much you have to offer.
> Learn a new sport, learn to cook, play with your kids and your pets more. Explore parts of your city or town you’ve never been to before.
> If you are going to take your lap top to the local coffee shop be sure to chat someone up as well. You need adult human contact and you need to meet new people.
> Join a Toastmasters program.
> Start writing. Keep a journal or twitter of your discoveries, trials and tribulations. Write about a favorite subject that pertains to your work. See if you can get it published in your industry newsletter, magazine or community paper.
> Plant a garden, either in your own back yard or a vegetable garden through a community garden program.
> Laugh more. Whether it is joining Laughter Yoga, watching animals and children play in a park, watching Just for Laughs on TV or hanging out with humorous friends get those endorphins going.
> Socialize every chance you get. Join or attend networking groups, Meet Up groups, association meetings, Board of Trade functions, seminars, audit courses for free and go to parties and BBQ’s with your head held high and your 30 second info-mmercial honed to a tee – remember to take business cards.
> Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who are your cheerleaders for success, not naysayers of doom. Close your ears to those who have given up on you and believe you are too old, too inexperienced, too uneducated, too tall or too foreign to get the job of your dreams.
> Look at this free time as a gift, it won’t last forever. You know you will work again, maybe sooner than you think, be good to yourself.
Whatever you do, don’t give up!
Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer
April 8, 2011