I have a friend that was laid off at his job a while back and continues to look for work.
After getting caught up with him about a month or so ago, I must admit I left our time together shaking my head a bit.
First off, it is not up to me to judge him and/or his approach to finding another job. He’s old enough to make decisions on his own; I can only offer him advice from when I got laid off last decade and what I experienced.
So when I asked him how the job search was going, he said he’d essentially stopped looking and was just going to file for another unemployment extension. While he indicated he was tinkering with some business ideas of his own, he also noted that he was fine with just sitting back and collecting his check from the state.
When I got laid off back in 2006, the initial shock of it soon turned to frustration, disappointment, anger and anxiety. What had I done to warrant this? Could I have done anything differently to prevent it? Better yet, what could be learned from it?
I did learn some things from that negative experience in my life, most notably that to throw in the towel was not an option.
Yes, I went through a period where it seemed like my world was spiraling out of control; however I also knew that retreating was not an option. Everything happens for a reason, so I had to make the best of the situation and learn from it.
Flash forward years later and I feel like I have learned things from that period of my life, some of which I would like to gently share with my friend that is going through a similar situation.
Those thoughts include:
1. Handle looking for a job like a job – To anyone that says looking for work is not a full-time job in itself; they’ve never been through the experience. The first thing I made sure I did while out of work was keep a normal schedule. I’d get up each weekday morning as if I were going to work, would dress as if I were headed out to the office and so on. Even though I was getting ready to either job hunt online or in person, I kept a similar routine to that of having a FT job. It would have been very easy to stay in bed half the day, etc. but that should not ever be an option;
2. Reach out for help – Being out of work not by one’s choice is not something you want to discuss with the whole world. Yes, you can and most likely will have feelings of depression and anxiety regarding how you will survive financially for starters. When I was laid off, I reached out through networking to people I had done some work for before, friends, etc. The networking in many cases did not lead to any work, but at least I felt it was something I had to do;
3. Don’t let the job search consume you – It is real easy to get frustrated and even burned out at times with the job search. If you feel yourself falling into that trap, take a little break and walk away from it. Resort to an activity that relaxes you and go do it so that you’re not burned out sooner rather than later;
4. Reassess your career goals – When you’re out of work, what better time is there than to reassess where you need to go with your career? If your most recent job was a filler job, then you are more likely to already being reviewing your career. If the position was something that truly was part of your long-term career goals, then take the time to see if you need to get some more education to be more successful at it or if you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
So, what have you done when you were out of work that may be a good game plan for others going through the same thing right now?