Top tips for the recently unemployed

>> Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Unemployment Olympics

My household has dealt with unemployment for almost 14 months.

There I said it, er wrote it. And, I have to say that I may look back on this time in my life and feel I really learned a lot. However, most likely, I will look back and think boy did that suck.

Whew! That feels good to have gotten off my chest. Which brings me to the first of my top tips for the recently unemployed.

1. Try not to freak out.
Freaking out will not help. Trust me on this. Take a deep breath (or fifty). It's going to be OK.

2. Accept that short term planning may be all you can do right now.
This may be a short term thing or a long term thing, it's impossible to know. The one thing you can plan on is today and maybe tomorrow. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Have you heard of the phrase "Take it one day at a time."? Try to live by that and you'll realize you can handle whatever happens each day.

3. Get it together.
Educate yourself. You have choices. Contact the unemployment office for a quote of your entitlements. Discover if you will qualify for food assistance, rent assistance, etc. Consider your richest relative; now may be the time to seek them out. I'm not kidding, here. These are desperate times and that does call for desperate measures.

4. You're not alone, so don't live that way.
Find a support group, online forum, or career counselor. The more support you can get, the better prepared you will be for the adventure of job searching! You will need to vent about all this stuff you are going through. Your spouse will want you out their hair. It's win-win.

Superheros aren't the only ones looking for a job these days.

5. Structure your days.

OK, I know it is tempting to catch up on sleep and just "hang out" until something magically comes up, however, it's really important for your mental health that you do something productive each and every day. Try cleaning, painting, going to the library or outdoor projects. Keep structured and keep busy.

6. Deal with less money.
OK, here is a great way to reframe your sudden poverty. It's called going green! Yes, going green can save you BIG money and joblessness is a great excuse to save humankind.

Go Green to Save Green

The above tips have helped me and my family keep our sanity. I know (because I've followed my own tips) that Number 1 is really the most important, so I'll repeat it again.

Freaking out will not help. Trust me on this. Take a deep breath (or fifty). It's going to be OK.

(Photo credits: clementine gallot, steve p2008, ewen and donabel)