Are you unemployed? Has your partner been laid off? Do stories about layoffs worry you?
Don’t despair. Unemployment can be a blessing in disguise. Regardless of age or occupation, people who have positive attitudes, work hard, and take time to reevaluate goals usually come out ahead. They become stronger, wiser, more confident and fully employed.
1. Understand basic psychological principles. Accept and come to terms with the layoff. Your mind and body need time to digest it. The five emotional stages dismissed employees typically go through are shock and disbelief, fear and anxiety, anger and blame, acceptance and exploration of new possibilities, and commitment to action.
2. Express feelings and thoughts. Advise family and friends of the layoff. Their support, information and referral sources are crucial. Discuss responsibilities, values and goals with your partner.
Write about concerns, plans and questions you want to address. Join a support group for people facing the same challenge. Meet regularly to vent anger, generate ideas and receive encouragement and feedback. Consider counseling.
3. Develop a healthy lifestyle. Take care of your mind, body, emotion and spirit. Schedule quiet times to reassess. Practice stress relievers such as exercising and meditating. Eat healthy, get sufficient sleep, reduce alcohol intake. Take time for fun.
Change perceptions. A major stressor is the perception that we can't cope and don't have options. Believe you can cope and DO have options.
4. Maintain optimism. Your attitude about yourself determines others’ perceptions. Reinforce the positive in yourself and others. Expect good things. Watch your “self-talk.” When you think or say something that fuels fear, replace it with a positive statement.
5. Develop a routine. Create a work area. Job search is a full-time job. Schedule job search activities like normal business appointments. Keep a log of calls and follow-up actions.
Update your resume using key words listed in job descriptions. Proof read correspondence. Then market yourself.
Leave the house. Attend seminars. Volunteer. You’ll feel good, meet people and be available when opportunities arise.
6. Manage money. Planning and willingness to live on less stretches finances. Create a budget. Cut expenses. Look at needs rather than wants.
Use coupons, negotiate reduced payments with creditors, comparison shop. Consider a more inexpensive residence. Can family members cut expenses? Work part-time? Think about borrowing.
7. Get a part-time, survival job. Work as a sales clerk or waiter to bring money in. Register with temp agencies.
8. Know what you want. Identify your purpose and the skills, needs and other qualities you want met in your job. Explore compatible options. Clarify your goal and develop an action plan.
Don't select a job because it's in demand. It's difficult to maintain enthusiasm when you're not excited about positions.
9. Network. Join alumni or civic groups. Attend career fairs, trade shows and professional meetings. Identify people who can connect you with organizational decision makers. Maintain contact with references. Show appreciation for assistance.
10. Use varied search strategies. Don't passively respond to ads listed in your field. Peruse ads in many fields. Management positions are often listed in construction, retail or education.
Look for hidden leads. Newspaper or television stories describing new products may suggest positions with new or expanding companies. Try executive recruiting firms. Consider relocating.
Contact company hiring managers. Request and prepare for interviews. Follow-up contacts. If nobody responds, call or email again. Don't take rejection personally.
11. Develop luck-facilitating attitudes and strategies. Luck is being prepared when opportunities arise. Become open to new experiences. Challenge conventional beliefs. Recognize and seize opportunities.
Don't fear mistakes. Ask: "What's the worst that could happen?" Decide whether you could live with the worst scenario or take steps to reduce the chance of it happening. Instead of worrying about failure, think about opportunities you'll miss if you don't try!
12. Manage fear. Identify worrisome issues. Minimize these using appropriate information and resources. Live in the present. Don’t worry about what might happen.
13. Practice imagery daily. Imagine yourself living your goal today. See yourself performing your goal while in a relaxed state. Experience it. Notice how it feels, smells, sounds.
View unemployment as an opportunity to revitalize your career. Believe you’re beginning a wonderful new chapter in your life.
Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, offers additional strategies for managing unemployment and starting a wonderful new chapter in your life career. http://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963