Everyday Inspirations


~ a better you ~

Guest Blogger: Susan Cannon
Susan Cannon is a Salt Lake City-based commercial banker with fifteen years of experience in risk management. Since she was laid off last August, she took a leading role in finalizing arrangements for her daughter's September wedding, completed a contract risk policy assignment with a Utah financial services company, started a blog, and continues training for stock market trading. Check out her blog at www.feliciaevita.blogspot.com.

No question, unemployment can be tough. Your entire world as you knew it changes. But you can survive and thrive while you look for your next job. A few helpful hints that have saved me during unemployment ...

Reframing “I'm Unemployed”
Fascinating how some people meeting you for the first time or even long-time associates assume you have a strange disease called unemploymentitis. Maybe this is why there are leper colonies. I've found it more fashionable to say I'm "between jobs."

Muchas Gracias
Be sure to thank the kind friends and thoughtful former colleagues who send job leads and postings within their organizations. Keep in touch with former colleagues to let them know you are still looking. And be careful what you say if your former colleagues are your Facebook friends!

Click SUBMIT To Apply
Online applications are great, but don't forget networking and if you are at the appropriate level in your career, work with a headhunter (or two). Don't be discouraged if your interviews are phone interviews at first – you can do them in your pajamas. You may apply for hundreds of jobs before you even get a face-to-face interview. And be as flexible as you can about job function, work location, work hours, and other factors, even compensation, if possible. In some cases, people may need to consider temporary or contract work while they job search. I did a three month contract assignment after I was laid off. The environment of the company where I worked was just what I needed to transition out of the stressful pre-layoff situation at my previous job.

Stay Positive
The job market can be tough, especially if you were in a middle or senior management. People have said “wow” when they saw my resume, but I'm still seeking that elusive job offer, as are several of my work peers who were laid off about the same time last year. Several of us “unemployees” are sending each other postings and ideas for how to attract the attention of employers, as well as providing much needed moral support.

You Can Trip Over Someone While Walking Sideways
Even though you may have overlapping skills that would be applicable in another field, lateral moves may be more difficult. A higher number of applications means that employers will be able to select from candidates with direct experience in the job function. For example, even though I was willing to take a 33% pay cut for one job, another candidate who held the same position in another organization was selected for the job.

Don't Let Your Brain Atrophy
Keep a regular but flexible schedule. If nothing else, put yourself in school at no charge. The internet has hundreds of free classes to improve your skills in everything from spreadsheets to writing. I'm learning all about stock options trading and search engine optimization. You may develop skills that would be valuable if you switch industries or decide to start your own business instead of getting another job. And be sure to eat healthy and get plenty of exercise to boost your spirits.

Life Goes On
Unemployment status won't give you a bye on other life eventualities ... relationship drama, car problems, putting our dog to sleep, toilet troubles, and heating system failures. I've had it all. Still, life will be more pleasant if you can find things to be thankful for.

With a Little Help From My Friends
A friendly phone call can work wonders! So can a meal out at an inexpensive diner or the $1 menu at a fast food restaurant. In my case, getting together with my weekly jewelry making group is a delight.

Seek Rebate Checks and Free Coupon Offers
Spend only on necessities. I never used to get so excited about rebate checks from my credit card company or my insurance carrier. Free coupons with no purchase minimum from Victoria's Secret, Wal-Mart and Kohl's have arrived in the mail. Fast food freebies from Einsteins and Chick-Fil-A have appeared in my email, along with deep discount coupons from Groupon for purchase of essentials like garden plants, meat and cheese at more than 50% off.

Enjoy Your Time Away from Office Politics
I admit, I don't miss caustic emails and meetings filled with jockeying. And I miss all of this even less when I read Meeting Boy, who mentions the Seven Dwarves in a meeting: Grumpy, Dopey, Sleepy, Bossy, Boring, Spacey, and Conniving. If you are working, you know those fellows! And there's no time like when you are off work to travel because your vacation time doesn't have to be approved by your manager! I've gone on two very inexpensive vacations, made possible because of frequent flyer miles and a free place to stay and pooling of resources in a large group.

And Finally, Add Water to Almost Everything
I've always been a fan of adding water to my drinks, but I now add water to everything from salad dressing to hair styling milk. Amazing how product manufacturers con us into thinking that a certain consistency is necessary for use of their products. What I cannot add water to I make at home, laundry soap and bread, for example.

Unemployment is like everything else in life. Embrace it, make it your friend, and sooner or later, you really will find the next big thing.

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