I’ve been thinking about this lately and since I do have experience in the field, I want to give those people that have recently lost their jobs to this stagnant economy a little advice to make their lives a little easier. I have been unemployed twice in my life, once in mid-2001 until mid-2002 and again from December 2008 until about July 2010. It wasn’t easy either time, but I made it through and am working again. I hope that my advice can help somebody stay positive when all appears hopeless.
File for Unemployment Compensation
I know this sounds like a no-duh statement, but there are people who equate unemployment compensation (UC) with welfare. IT IS NOT. Most likely, you (and the company you worked at) paid into UC and, therefore, is your right as the laid-off worker to collect. File as soon as possible and collect that money. It’s not much compared to a paycheck, but it will help immensely since the bills don’t stop coming. Laura on Facebook adds this: I would say to treat everyday as though your full time job is finding a job. Search, network, maybe attend training seminars to keep your skills current.
Newspapers are cutting back on printing costs by publishing “Help Wanted” ads on the Web. Therefore, Internet access is necessary to finding that next job. If there is a library close by, then feel free to cancel Internet service at home to save some money, but there is also another important factor to the Internet.
There are people who think the unemployed should not have cable television or Internet service. I call bull on this because after the job ads are combed through and the resumes sent out, there is nothing left to do but worry and fret over being unemployed. TV and the Internet can provide a decent and much-needed distraction from the worry. The Internet can also provide a support system with web sites dedicated to the unemployed and access to blogs with helpful advice about how to handle unemployment (like this one).
Try to Stay Upbeat
This is the most difficult one to succeed at. The worst possible thing that you can do is get down on yourself and fall into the pit of depression. I know this feeling. I felt completely worthless following my lay off and it took me a while to get over that. You’re not alone, there are many others in the same boat. My next piece of advice follows off of this one.
Don’t Become a Hermit
My fiancee reminded me of this one. Get out of the house regularly and hang out with friends, go for a walk, expand your interests. Remember, you’re unemployed, not dead. I found myself having to find things to do and it wasn’t hard to find things that didn’t cost money. I have always been interested in writing, so I joined a group called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I met new people, it got me out of the house a few days a week and it gave me something to look forward to. It was also where I met my aforementioned fiancee.
Don’t Be Picky
Michelle on Facebook has this to say: Don't look for your dream job right off the bat. Look for any job that will hire you, even if it means working fast food for a while. Beggars can't be choosers. Look for a better job while working your 'crappy' job. It'll pay the bills, and give you job experience as well. I will add, though, to be smart about what you take. Don’t take a job if it means driving so much that the gas eats your paycheck. Stick close to home until a very good paying job comes around. This advice also goes with my next entry.
Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
I have been an electronic technician since 1999 when I got my degree, but I decided to take a different job during my unemployed period. I worked at a lunch counter at a building full of scientific research start-ups. I met a doctor who was also a podcaster on the TWiT Network and ended up working for him on the side. I had no experience in data analysis, but I found the work to be quite enjoyable and easy for me. I’m still working for him more than a year later and still enjoying it.
I think that’s a start, but I don’t want it to end there. If you have any other advice that could be helpful, please feel free to share in the comments. If it’s on another blog, please link to it. If you’re currently unemployed, I hope this advice will help.