I had the pleasure of being let go from a job that was making me quite miserable, and apparently the feelings were mutual, however, being a low income single mother no income was a stressor to say the least. After my natural emotions (primarily anger) and phone calls to loved ones I immediately went into survival mode and learned a few things along the way. If you find yourselves unemployed, I hope you can find this list useful.
1) Don’t Panic!
I know this may be easier said than done, but especially if you have children or dependants, panicking does more damage than good! When I told my son that I was no longer working his first response was “how can we afford to live?” I was thankfully emotionally stable enough to be positive and hopeful. It barely helped. I can’t imagine his response if I had been panicking. Children aside, you won’t complete the next steps successfully if you are not thinking clearly either.
It’s amazing to know that the God that created the heavens and the earth loves you. Really truly loves you. Your current situation may very well have been a result of your actions, or maybe it was a result of God needing to close a door in your life in order to open another. Either way, now is a good time to talk to the one who knows best. Pray for the RIGHT door to open. Pray for security until that happens. If you are lacking it, pray for faith. Pray for guidance. Pray without seizing. This may be number two on my list, but it was the number one thing that helped me.
I don’t work best in an unstructured setting. If my to-do lists and goals are mental they often times stay that way. I took a bulletin board and gave it headings: Me, Career, Relationship, Family, Passion, Home, Health, Money and To Do (just for those extra things). I made sure the important things like filing for unemployment and updating my resume were on the board, but also things like using that gift card for a massage I’ve been holding onto, and start a blog were on the board as well. It wasn’t long after the board was made that I started removing items and replacing them with new ones once they were complete. I could see these attainable goals and I could achieve them! They became much less overwhelming. Make a vision board or just a to-do list, but either way get planning!
4) Learn to sell yourself.
I made an appointment with a business adviser that helps my boyfriend’s business. She told me I had a lovely resume that nobody would care about. In her words “Nobody cares what you did at Indigo Books three years ago!” Thankfully I can take constructive criticism, because I was able to create a knock out resume and cover letter focusing on the companies I am apply to work for, and how my skills will be an asset to them. Self-promotion has never come easily. I would never in regular conversation talk about my “proficiency” or “excellence” in anything. And yet here I am, writing two pages of what feels like over inflated adjectives. I would love to share these tips with you in the future.
5) Network, network, network!
People say that it’s not what you know, but who you know. I am convinced that people began to say that in my town! Start talking! Find out who is hiring, make some phone calls, send some emails and go to workshops and meet and greets. Sending out resumes cold is fine, but being able to say “Bill suggested I contact you” is going to get you a solid consideration at least.
I understand better than anyone that finances are an issue right now, but that is no reason not to enjoy an hour or two of free time. Catch up on your favourite TV show, read that book that has been sitting on your shelf collecting dust or catch up with an old friend. These things not only bring some joy into your life when you need it the most,but restores some balance. I found that having a career that took me out of the house 50 hours/week means that I couldn’t be the parent I wanted to be. This time allowed me to not only spend more time with my son, but reassess my purpose and priorities.
Losing my job was devastating. I woke up with anxiety attacks in the middle of the night for the first two weeks. I went through the stages of grief as I am sure you will also, but I hope my experience can bring you some calm in your storm.