Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How to be Unemployed

Obviously, not a huge struggle these days to be out of work. As the holidays approach, I imagine people will find being unemployed even harder, especially since a lot of stores are not able to hire as many seasonal helpers like they did in the past.

Being that I am in this situation right now, I have found some basics of being unemployed:

1. Look for a job…
…but never get hired. This is not necessarily under your control unless you like interviewing for fun (weirdo) but unless you have a sugar momma/daddy or a tremendous savings, it’s what you have to do. I have the bonus right now of having a small savings so I can search for jobs that will make me the least miserable but I know how lucky I am. Doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly difficult but we have to roll with the punches sometimes.

2. Don’t get down on yourself

Much, much easier said than done but you must be realistic: It’s a tough economy and you are in competition with tens, possibly hundreds, of people for one single job. I have repeatedly been told that employers received overwhelming responses to their job postings. Sometimes, it is several hundred for a job that is nothing more than an hourly wage and no benefits. However, this is not necessarily a reflection on your and your skills but just the times that we are in. We can be thankful to have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. Especially luck if you have people to support you.

3. Improve yourself & your resume

Weekend classes and seminars can be a tremendous help to not only your resume but also your own self-esteem. For between $50-60 (average), you can take a class in business or computers and then be even more ready to take on a new computer program or to better fulfill a position that you are in search for. If you are changing professions then this can be especially helpful because it shows employers that you are committed to that line of work and your future in it.

4. Figure out things to do by yourself
It’s likely that your friends have jobs during the week so it’s important to look for cheap and free things to shake up your ho-hum week of applying for jobs and stressing. Obviously, you may need to go through a few dollars here or there but I figure it is worth it to keep your sanity. My favorites are going super, super thrift shopping (i.e. super cheap, usually no more than $5 per visit), the $3 movie theaters, crafting with supplies I already have (Christmas IS just around the corner), happy hours (cheaper than McDonald’s), walking in the leaves, taking pictures and people watching (always priceless and really entertaining).

5. Do the things you didn’t have time to do before…
…ya know, like when you actually HAD a job. That list that has never been completed because you were too tired, busy, or had more important things to do? Here is the time! Backup files on your computer, organize important files, clean out your car, defuzz your sweaters, refinish that chair in the garage.
It’s time.

6. Volunteer!
Interest in volunteering has risen greatly in the past year. Best thing to do when you are struggling is to help someone who is worse off than you are. I am planning to volunteer at the Oregon Humane Society and I know that no matter how bad my day is, kitten kisses and wagging tails will help. An added bonus for volunteering is that it can help with your resume! If you enjoy computers then volunteer at a non-profit group like Free Geek. If you want to work with kids then volunteer in the classroom or at an afterschool center.

7. Hidden talents
Things that DON’T go on a resume. Scope out coupons or reuse centers for cheap supplies for knitting, upholstery or household projects. Some stores, community centers, and schools offer free or low cost workshops for learning new skills as well. Take advantage! It can’t hurt to do a little research and to see what is out there.

Everyone’s situation and resources are different but there are things that you can do to make sure that life is enjoyable while we are all going through this rough time. Even if you are employed, these are great tips to shaking up life a bit!

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