Prior to being an independent career coach and corporate trainer, I spent many lonesome, scary, depressing, freedom reveling months, in various seasons, handling the will I ever work again syndrome. Though attitude accounts for an enormous part of your ability to get through this transitional time, using these survival tips might help too.
Job search is five (5) focused & productive hours a day in the first couple months of being unemployed. Get organized, set daily and weekly goals and make the best use of each quarter of the day. Surfing the net and answering questionnaires does not count for any of the 5 hours.
Balance your day with pleasurable activities or play every afternoon and work for a couple hours in the evenings.
Treat yourself to designer coffees rather than designer sportswear. Don't deny yourself little luxuries. Discount movie theaters are a great escape from the pressure of looking for work day in and day out.
Let other people treat when they offer, then silently commit to pay backs when you are re-employed.
Attend a yoga, meditation or exercise class minimally 3 times a week. Take care of your body, mind and spirit. Eat more sensibly than ever.
Make a list of your assets, liabilities and begin eliminating expenses you can temporarily live without. Create a stripped down budget. Parking costs can accumulate quickly, watch your transportation practices.
Don't give up child care until you absolutely have to. You need the freedom to go on advice calls and interviews and to meet with fellow seekers for support.
Allow yourself the luxury of sleeping in later than when you HAD TO get up. You may have to sacrifice some afternoon play time or evenings but you deserve it, guilt free sleep-ins only allowed!
Volunteer work is a great remedy for self-pity. Give back to the community, you owe it to yourself and it reminds you of how great you really are.
Socialize every chance you get. Join or attend networking groups, association meetings, Board of Trade functions, seminars, audit courses for free and go to parties with your head held high and your 30 second infomercial honed to a tee - remember to take business cards.
Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who are your cheerleaders for success, not nay sayers of doom. Close your ears to those who have given up on you and believe you are too old, too inexperienced, too uneducated, too tall or too foreign.
Reach out to people. Initiate meetings, phone calls and emails. Dont hide.
Join LinkedIn and Facebook, start a blog.
Attend weekly support group meetings like HAPPEN in the GTA.
Practice being positive. Try to stay in a place of abundance as much as you can.
Watch The Secret with someone you can discuss the film with. Read The Power of Now with an inquisitive mind.
Open up your mind to possibilities.
Get to know people outside your norm, broaden your horizons.
Meet with a career counselor for at least a couple hours to reinforce what you are doing is on track and to pick up some uncharted ideas for moving forward.
Participate in the myriad of free concerts, shows, seminars, galleries, etc the city has to offer.
Offer to walk your neighbors dog if you don't have one. Spend an hour or so with a child, playing, looking at the world through a different set of eyes.
Go on three Advice Calls a week, minimally.
Ask for ideas, suggestions, opinions, input, advice, data, resources from everyone.
Ask everyone you know who they know that they think you would benefit from having a conversation with.
Listen. There may be a lesson or a message in the wind.
Look at this free time as a gift, it wont last forever. You know you will work again, maybe sooner than you think, be good to yourself.
Whatever you do, don't give up!
Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer
Author of Networking How To Build Relationships That Count and How to Get a Job and Keep it