Jane is a client of mine but is currently between jobs i.e. temporarily unemployed. Her friends tell her that she is lucky to have time on her hands – however, she does not see it that way. She wakes up in the morning with no reason to get out of bed. Her husband, Gerry, gets ready to go to work, as usual, by 7.15 whilst she lies in bed thinking about what she can do to fill her day.
This is a time of great challenge for Jane. The very word ‘unemployed’ fills her with anxiety. She understands that she was made redundant because of re-organisation within the firm and that it was not a reflection upon her work. Her boss was very understanding and said he would give her a good reference but they just had to ‘let her go’.
So, from one moment of being Jane Reese, HR Assistant, she became Jane Reese – unemployed! She didn’t think it would matter to her. She would catch up on emails, rewrite her CV, go for interviews and get another job. It all seemed rather simple, initially. It was Summer time so she would also use the period to recharge her batteries. But then Summer came to an end. She had psyched herself up for countless job interviews but nothing had materialised. She thought she would certainly have found a new position by then, but she hadn’t. Jane tried hard to keep positive but this was becoming harder as she received one refusal after another. So what to do? She knew she had to take some action to keep herself active, positive, alert and confident.
So, she came to seek my advice and we looked at various options for her:
Take a temporary contract: Although Jane really wanted a full-time job, we looked at the importance of keeping her skills up–to-date and giving her back her self-esteem together with the fact that many temporary contracts can end up becoming permanent. It’s an opportunity to prove one’s worth by getting your ‘foot in the door’. If she could do a great job, then whoever would hire her would be more likely to recommend her for a permanent position in their company or possibly with another associated, company.
Volunteer: If Jane were to secure an unpaid post, it would certainly make her more marketable. When you volunteer your services, you are showing employers something specific about you as a person. It would indicate to them that you care about helping or supporting others; that you are passionate about something other than work and that money, although important, isn’t necessarily everything. Mixing with a new group of people will also broaden your horizons and give you additional connections. Prospective employers also look for individuals to employ who have integrity and character and this can be one way of demonstrating those personal traits.
Start your own business: I know this is not for everyone and it does take a certainly type of individual to go in this direction. But again, you don’t know until you try. And even if this doesn’t become the career path for you, it is a great CV enhancer and an excellent marketing tool. Be seen as the expert in your field! Get people to come to you for your specialised knowledge! Become the ‘go-to’ person.
Make and use your connections: It is important to sit down and think of all your contacts and start to reconnect with them. Use the internet. LinkedIn is a great way to start, together with professional Facebook and Twitter profiles to network and connect with others.
Write a blog: You certainly will have the time to do this and you can convey your passion and knowledge through the medium of words to contact potential employers who will be very impressed to see that you are pro-active and enthusiastic about a subject you care about.
Being unemployed is a challenge but not the end of the world. Try to look at it instead, as a time of opportunity; to view the world with a different perspective and to re-evaluate who you are and what you want.
Making positive changes in your outlook and mindset is a job you can do now!
- Most of us have been unemployed at some time
- It can be a time of useful re-appraisal of priorities
- Most important is to get yourself out into the marketplace
Written by Carole Spiers and reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News.
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