This guest post was written by Lauren Fernandez, known around the interwebz (particularly twitter) as @cubanalaf. Lauren is a PR rockstar and runs a very popular twitter chat for under 30 professionals (#u30pro – check it out). Recently Lauren touched on the topic of Unemployment on her blog with The Unemployment Diaries, this is a hard topic for anyone to write on but in this economy is still very necessary to discuss so I asked Lauren to contribute her wisdom here on genpink.
Unemployment is the pits. It’s bound to happen to most of us – companies go through budget cuts, it’s not a fit or you have a new opportunity that fell through. It’s easy to beat yourself up, especially when there are people behind the scenes enjoying your sudden misfortune.
Trust me, Judge Judy gets old. (Ok, that’s a lie. I watched it All. The. Time.) Whether you have been unemployed for only a few weeks or upward to a few years, it’s a gut wrenching feeling of little self-worth and self deprecation.
So how can you avoid it? Obviously, you can apply for jobs until you’re blue in the face. It’s easy to get caught up in it and really feel the rejection. My advice? Spend roughly 1-3 hours a day on applying for jobs. After that? Enjoy and distract yourself. It’s easy for outsiders to say that you have to hit the pavement and never look back.
How can you do that?
1. Go to Free Museums and Attractions
Most cities have free museums and exhibits. I checked out Citysearch when I was unemployed for deals, new ideas and cheap places. Why? You find inspiration in the strangest places, and going to museums helped me to find that. To stay motivated. To keep going and believe in myself. Plus, I wasn’t spending any money.
2. Go Visit Your Family
I don’t know about you, but my family is my rock. They are there through the tears, the laughs, the frustration. That support system is invaluable. My parents were willing to put up with me for a week while I went to “figure things out.” You’d be surprised at how supportive parents can be if you just ask.
3. Save money to see your friends – don’t waste it on vegging out on your couch
Most of my friends were aware of my situation, and would still invite me to places. There is nothing worse than being unemployed and friends thinking they should not invite you because of financial strain. My friends were considerate and would look for cheap happy hours, or invite me over for a home cooked meal.
4. Go run and do cartwheels in the park
Have you ever screamed at the top of your lungs when no one was around? It’s theraputic. I used to go to the park with my dog and do cartwheels, write and sing – just because. It was releasing and de-stressing at the same time. After a day of applying for jobs and interviewing, it worked like a charm every time.
5. Dance around Risky Business Style
Do it. You’ll thank me later. There is nothing better than the smile that comes from being silly. Make sure to wax your floors beforehand. Sliding has never been better.
6. Go to your local library and read for the day
To me, there is nothing better than curling up with a book and a cup of tea. The librarians knew me by first name during my two month unemployment stint. It was relaxing to me to sit in silence and get lost in a book. It also took me out of my apartment and away from my email/computer. The seconds tick by when you’re waiting for that job offer or interview.
7. Volunteer for a local non-profit
I’ve always loved volunteering in my community. During my unemployment, I tried to get as involved as possible. It was a great way to give back, to truly see hardship and keep me busy. Find that one love that you can’t live without and go about doing it.
8. Surround yourself with people that really matter
There will be people behind the scenes mocking you and waiting for you to fail more. It’s a fact of life. The best thing for you to do is take the high road and surround yourself with supportive people. The people who will be there when you fall. The people who will help you and cheer you on. The people that will let everyone know you’re looking and how awesome you are.
9. Work on Your Networking Skills
I’m pretty sure I annoyed my friend Jeremy Pepper with my incessant chatter about how my interviews went, what I could improve and why I thought I effed up. However, also take the time to brush up on questions. Practice with your friends. Call your voicemail and hear your answers and how you pitch your voice. Reach out to contacts and let them know your situation. Blog about it. Clean up your profiles and go to events/conferences to network when possible. You’d be surprised at how nice people are when it comes to this: My friend Kellye Crane offered to let me stay with her for PRSA, and my friend Josh Groth was there daily asking me how my job search was going. Let people surprise you.
10. Be You.
It’s easy to lose yourself. Keep three things in your life that make YOU happy, and no one else. It could be playing with your dog. Talking with your significant other. Having a game night with awesome friends. Don’t lose yourself to the job search. Make yourself take time out of the day for YOU. It doesn’t mean you’re slacking. It doesn’t mean you have the luxury to sit around. It means you’re staying true to yourself.
What would you add?
View more posts from this Top 10 series.