What I Have Learned From Being Unemployed

It has been seven months since I was laid off. My credit cards are maxed and my husband and I juggle bills like circus performers on a tightrope. Yet, this journey is helping me examine my own self-awareness and work on my personal ideology. I have gained some invaluable insights, like the following:

  • I am not a job. I am not less valuable because I lack employment. On the contrary, I am priceless and it would be a shame to take a job in which I’d be miserable. How would that be a step forward?
  • Ask for help. Networking is vital. I decided to start with people I knew and told them I am looking for work. It is tough at first, but people I didn’t tell found out anyway. I was incredibly fortunate to be invited to the Sandler President’s Club by former sales coach Jeff Schneider. Because of this group, I have confidence and a network of fellow trainees who I greatly admire. Watching videos on various career-related  websites is helping me figure out other places network and how to be more productive at it.
  • I must keep my options open. My big break may be lurking around an unsuspecting corner. Opportunities tend to arise when – and where – I don’t expect them. I don’t always see the “point” in prospecting or networking activities until later. So, if I receive an invitation to connect, why not explore it?
  • My time is precious. That means I need to find a fair balance between studying, learning, networking, job searching and enjoying life. Being smart saves me time. I’m finding job search tools that are much more productive which leads to much more happiness. Why shouldn’t I do things that make me happy? So I take a hike, volunteer, cook a gourmet meal … I am enjoying doing things my job schedule once prevented. These things relieve stress and stimulate my mind. Great ideas pop into my head while I am traversing through the mountains.
  • And finally, I need to RELAX more. This last, important ingredient is vital to maintaining my sanity throughout this job search process. I know this transition isn’t easy, but being frantic and stressed out won’t land me a job any faster. Frantically searching the job boards will not tell me who I really am or where to find my perfect career. I must take a breath, relax and go do some more networking. A good start is to make a list of things I am grateful for despite my lack of work.

What about you? What have you learned about yourself since you have been laid off?