Starting over…

If you found yourself unemployed at year-end, you have my deepest sympathy. I have been there a few times myself, and it does not improve with repetition.

Being unemployed is a condition that will affect more and more of us in the years to come, because employment no longer comes with any guarantee of security.

The one thing I can say with certainty, is that when you are unemployed, you will find out who your real friends are, because they are the ones who will give you the impetus to get back on your feet and succeed again.

They probably will not lend you money, but they will put you in touch with people who will hire you. You don’t need charity, you need a helping hand which leads you to a new opportunity.

At the risk of repeating myself, I would like to remind you that 85% of all positions are filled by personal referrals. (Wall Street Journal archives)

If you are going to get a job and you were not top of your class
from a nationally recognized university majoring in whatever is hot,
hot, hot today, you will probably get your job through the
recommendation of a friend, an acquaintance, or someone you just met at
Starbucks or the neighborhood bar.

It doesn’t matter where you find this  person, what is important is
that they know someone else who could use your services. It may take
several tries, but you will find a job, when you do, through a
referral. Not to knock headhunters, as I have known and used them, but
for most of us the route to employment is through personal contacts.

If you don’t have contacts, then volunteer somewhere, or get temp
work which will give you contacts. You need to develop a personal safety net of contacts by networking so this doesn’t happen to you again.

The next thing to consider is that you will never be in a better
bargaining position than when you interview for a job. This may sound
counter-intuitive, but your ability to negotiate decreases once you
begin working.

I will write more about this in a future post, until then you will
have to trust me and take your best shot during the interview process.
If they truly want you to start work, make them pay you what the job is
worth.

To do that you need to get them to explain what the pay scale is
based on and why they are offering you a particular pay rate. Do not
fall for the tired old line that they will pay you at a lower rate
until you have proved yourself. Believe me, that day seldom comes.

Let them pay you what you are worth and get rid of you if you don’t
prove satisfactory. If they won’t go for that, they were probably never
planning to pay you full salary anyway.

There are good employers out there and you will find them if you
look carefully. If you find one, do your best to contribute to the
growth of the company that gives you employment. Make friends and do a
credible job so that you will be better prepared for the next layoff.

If this sounds like grim news, get used to it. You are going to see
a long period of employment uncertainty. You will survive if you do the
following:

Work efficiently and do what you promise

Make friends and stay connected to people in your field

Acquire skills that will lead you to future full-time self employment

It
will be an interesing new year. If you are starting over, do it with a
plan for increasing your self-employment potential. Your future may
include running your own micro business and you should start getting
ready now.

Good luck.

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