No one enjoys being suddenly unemployed. But if armed with the right tools, there are ways to confront temporary job loss and positively triumph. After making the necessary adjustments and plans for your immediate fiscal future, sit back and plan your next moves by following these five job loss survival tips.
Stay Informed and Stay Connected
When you’re unemployed, it’s easy to lose touch with former co-workers and career news. Maintain contact by making casual phone calls, just to say “hi.” Stay alert to what’s going on in your industry through trade publications and newsletters. Networking has always been one of the most effective means of finding work, so set up lunch dates with friends and former colleagues to discuss your situation. Do not be shy about letting them know you are actively looking for work. Join an online professional networking website (such as LinkedIn, and Xing), and market your skills to a worldwide audience of potential employers.
Keep Your Skills Up-to-Date
Workplace technology is constantly evolving and it seems to change even more quickly when you’re not reporting to an office on a daily basis. Acquiring in-demand skills and knowledge, and staying current in computer software and new programs, can make or break opportunities for employment. Take courses at a local college, at the community library, or via the internet. Learning will do more than just jazz up your resume’ and provide practical, marketable skills for work: It will boost your self-esteem and supply an added dose of much needed confidence when presenting your qualifications for a new job.
Explore New Directions
Temporary unemployment presents the opportunity to change direction in life. Why not take this time to do something vastly different from anything you’ve ever done before? Ever dreamed of writing greeting cards, or being a chef, or starting your own web-based business? Why not give it a try now? If you’re fortunate enough to collect unemployment, or have enough severance pay to cover major bills, contact a local job agency and take a temporary or part time job in a field that might give you more pleasure than income. Turn the negative of unemployment into a positive and take advantage of the opportunity to enrich your spirit, even if it doesn’t do much for your bank account.
Invest in Yourself and Others
A period of unemployment can be the ideal time to start a diet and exercise program. You’ll need lots of energy and resolve to tackle the task of securing a new job. Going for a daily run, a bike ride, a swim, or even a brisk afternoon walk around the park will release natural, mood-enhancing brain chemicals and revitalize you. Unemployment could also be an excellent opportunity to improve relationships with neglected family, friends and your community. Get involved by volunteering at a neighborhood center, a local school, or at your house of worship. The more you give of yourself to others, the more you get in return. You will feel useful, necessary, and sustain the essential knowledge that your unique contributions as an individual are still of value to others.
Maintain a Positive Outlook
Being unemployed can lead to stress, depression and other unhealthy states. Certainly, losing a job is a serious matter, but it is vital to keep it all in perspective and to not fall prey to pessimism and defeatism. Setting specific goals (such as making five job search calls before noon, or swimming five laps in the pool without stopping) can help to regain a sense of achievement and competency.
In times of trouble, it is always better to look on the bright side of things rather than the dark, and it is always more beneficial to pat yourself on the back rather than kick yourself when you’re already down. Instead of dwelling on past failures, concentrate on looking forward to new successes. If you are ever going to regain the self confidence and determination you need to move forward, the first place to start is on the inside, and by changing the way you look at the world.
Losing one’s job can be a catastrophic, life changing event. But it need not be the end of the world, or the end of one’s ability to grow and contribute. Making the effort to remain focused, diligent, upbeat, and involved will pay off in ways you might never have imagined. While you’re waiting for the phone to ring with a new job opportunity, use that time to gather experience, acquire knowledge, work on improving yourself, and strengthen your relationships. When the phone does ring (and, it will), you’ll find you’re more than ready, willing, and able to face new employment challenges and possibilities with a renewed sense of hope and a sound frame of mind!
Managing Job Stress in a Struggling Economy
In a struggling economy where unemployment is high and job roles are ever changing, there are ramifications for those whom are employed as well as unemployed. There are significant sources of added job stress that are related to job insecurity through downsizing and corporate mergers, as well as through high turnover from burnout and fatigue. The coinciding impact of layoffs and the expectations for employees to increase performance to compensate for a decreased work staff, contribute to job stress, and can become difficult to cope with and manage.
With downsizing comes an increased responsibility for many workers. Employers expect one employee to blend responsibilities and take on tasks previously managed by numerous people. This can lead to work overload, which involves having excessive demands and too much work at one time, and causes fatigue and lack of productivity due to the person perpetually being behind in schedule. Similarly, jobs with high turnover tend to lack the congruence of establishing role responsibilities from lack of new employee training. This can lead to ambiguous job expectations where the employee is unsure of responsibilities and must self-manage and deal with problems without managerial support.
Improving productivity in a time of intense job competition is one way to begin managing the increasing work load of many positions and the stress of uncertainty in job security. Changing work habits and values are ways to begin improving personal productivity and balancing work responsibilities.
Improving Personal Productivity: Procrastination
Dealing with procrastination is one area to begin improvements. Having many undone tasks and playing catch-up can make things more confusing and lowers productivity when important tasks are continually not getting done.
According to DuBrin, one technique to manage procrastination is the WFO principle, which stands for “worst in, first out.” This involves focusing and completing the more cumbersome and time consuming task first to be able to better manage the other smaller tasks that can smoothly be completed afterwards. It can also be beneficial to break tasks into manageable chunks when a starting point is not apparent. Preparing a to-do list and setting priorities helps to stay organized and cuts down on major tasks that seem overwhelming.
A very important part of changing the habit of procrastination is to decrease the rewards and pleasures that come from procrastinating, such as socializing with co-workers, or surfing the internet instead of focusing on the task at hand.
Improving Personal Productivity: Work Habits and Skills
One major principle in enhancing productivity while managing stress is the idea of “working smarter, not harder.” This relates to taking the time to plan and prepare for the implementation of a task, and deliberately focusing on enhancing strengths and working on areas of improvement. This may require changing some values and attitudes related to work habits that have been established.
For instance, valuing orderliness and cleanliness provides the means to bypass time wasted on searching for misplaced items or information. Also, making an effort to maintain good attendance and punctuality provides immediate benefits of more time and involvement in the job. This is also a way to show an employer how engaged an employee is in the job by sheer presence, which ultimately improves productivity.
Lastly, overcoming time wasters, or those filler activities that consume large amounts of time, such as checking an email countless times, playing computer games, and surfing the internet opens up extra time to enhance productivity. Being able to focus on essential work activities when necessary each day will add up in the long run.
Balancing Work and Life
Within the process of deliberately improving productivity it is important not to disregard priorities outside of the job. Being aware of work habits also means making sure not to develop workaholic habits or traits. A balance between life and work is essential for managing stress and avoiding burnout.
Dedicating time to exercise, getting plenty of rest, and having a healthy diet are invaluable when managing a stressful schedule, and maintaining time for these crucial healthy habits is essential for improving productivity. Being able to exemplify what it means to be an engaged employee who is dedicated and willing to put in the extra effort, while still having time to devote to enjoyable and healthy leisure activity, is the balance that must be achieved in coping with job stress.