Professional Fridays: Your Guide to Being Successfully Unemployed

[caption id="attachment_8912" align="alignright" width="160" caption="Photo Credit: Agefoto"][/caption] The Professional Fridays column usually features great information for on-the-job issues. Unfortunately, there are the 10 percent of us who have no job at which to be professional. It’s not all pajamas and ice cream at 3pm. Having been unemployed a couple of times, I know about the issues that no one tells you about. Besides networking skills, you will need ways to deal with potential anger and frustration. However, you will also want to know how to take advantage of this sweet-sweet freedom. Get SOME sort of structure in your life. All of a sudden, your days seem to blend together into an abyss of blank time. To combat this feeling, schedule as many things as you can during the day. I’ve scheduled showering and lunch. No shame. If you can still afford a gym membership, develop a routine there based on a workout regimen or group classes. I found that going to gym classes afforded me a new group of friends outside of my normal circle, which gave me a different perspective on my career and my life. Going to the gym also means you will have a great outlet for stress and anxiety from inactivity or interviews, and of course you will be fit and healthy!the-job issues. Unfortunately, there are the 10 percent of us who have no job at which to be professional. It’s not all pajamas and ice cream at 3pm. Having been unemployed a couple of times, I know about the issues that no one tells you about. Besides networking skills, you will need ways to deal with potential anger and frustration. However, you will also want to know how to take advantage of this sweet-sweet freedom.
Whether you asked for it or not, you have begun a new chapter. Choose to look forward and be optimistic about the future. Try not to replay old scenarios or recount “failures.” Instead, use this time to grow yourself and try new things that you couldn’t do with your old 9-5 job or demanding class schedule. Cook a time-consuming recipe. Walk to a place that you usually use wheels for.  Make scrapbooks out of all the papers from times past. Organize your bills (boring, but seriously, when else will you be able to do this and STILL have time to spend staring at unattainable espresso makers in Target?). Keep your brain busy. If you’re smart enough to be a Fem 2.0 reader, then you’ll probably need intellectual stimulation in your life to fill the absence of school or work. Take out some library books on subjects you always wanted to learn about, or bone up on career-related subjects. You never know when it could help you in an interview or build skills for your future job! Take the GRE/GMAT/LSAT. If you're thinking at all about further education, take the appropriate standardized test. You will be at a great advantage time-wise, it will give you a goal to work towards, and your scores will typically be usable for five years. WRITE. Just like I’m doing now. The week after I lost my job, I trekked over to a meeting at 9:30am on a Thursday, for a local blog, Brokelyn, taking advantage of time that I never used to have free. I channeled my research and community political skills into something positive by writing columns about tenants’ and workers’ rights. My growing portfolio led to writing for blogs such as this one. Your pieces will make great writing samples, and give you something meaningful to talk about during interviews. You will still need to apply for jobs. Get several people in your field to look over your resume and make suggestions—especially people who have been involved in the hiring process. Network in unexpected places. You never know who you will meet at the local café, or who you sell a television to at your seemingly un-lucrative job at Best Buy. Now is the time to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. It can be a tough journey, but you might find a new talent or inspiration from unexpected sources on the way to your new job.   Is this day a little slower for you? A time, perhaps, when you sit back and think about what you want to get our of your career and your work?  Every Friday, we bring you expert advice from experienced professional women in a variety of fields.  Want to see a particular issue addressed or have a question? Use the hashtag #Fem2JobQ and we’ll tackle the issues you care about.  View last week's Professional Friday post by Maggie Arden, who wrote about knowing your value it the professional world and learning from other people's mistakes.

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  • http://www.fem2pt0.com Maggie Arden

    Great ideas here Rachel! Wish I’d had these when I was unemployed a few years ago – especially taking graduate school exams then! Instead I’m using up my vacation time to study now. I did volunteer in the field I wanted to work in, which was a great help – got me out of the house, gave me experience, and allowed me to make more connections.