Getting back in the game…

When you are unemployed, whether by choice or by being terminated, you lose one of the major reference points of your life. Whether you plan to or not, you frequently define yourself to others by the company you work for.

When someone says, "What do you do?"

You probably respond with something like, "I work at ______."

It’s a convenient way of saying that you are somebody of consequence, even when company _______ has only four employees. When you are unable to associate yourself with a company, you may suffer a loss of importance in your own eyes, if not in the eyes of others. A person without a team is a stranger in a strange land.

This can act as a huge handicap when you are trying to get back in the game after having been out of work for a long while. Each new rejection acts like a reinforcement of the fear that you are not good enough to be on a team.

There are several things you can do to change this sorry state of affairs.

First of all, ask youself if you really want to go back to work for someone else again? If the mere thought makes you cringe, you should consider whether it is time to start a business of your own. Too many people go through the motions of getting hired again when they already know deep inside that they are sick and tired of working for others. The simple decision to be self-employed will often pick your spirits up.

If you aren’t ready for self-employment, go about your job search intelligently. Stop throwing resumes at every job opportunity you see in the papers. If you want to become part of company X, you must find someone in company X or find someone who can introduce you to someone in company X.

Why is that? It is because 85% of all positions are filled by personal referral. A personal referral will get you past the barriers erected by Human Resources/Personnel. A personal referral also cuts through most of the arbitrary crap that gets added to job requirements to protect the hiring manager from having to make a judgement call. By arbitrary crap, I mean things like degree requirements rather than competency.

The next thing to do is read my book, Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day and actually apply what you read to your current condition. The book was written for people who are out of work, not just for those who are working and unhappy about it.

I get concerned when I see that someone has read my book and plans to apply the material when they are employed again. It gives me the idea that they may have skipped over the key sections on finding and keeping work.

There are several places in the book where I stress the importance of networking and describe how to network at the most basic level, that is by telling all of your acquaintances that you are looking for work of a particular kind. In most cases, you will be able to find work through personal connections that you will make in Starbucks, at the gym, or by doing volunteer work.

If you do not have an abundance of connections and you are looking for professional employment in the high tech area, I strongly suggest that you sign up with LinkedIn at

If you are not in high tech, there are other online networking services to check out and you should pick one that seems right for you. The only recommendation I have is that you select one that connects you through introductions, otherwise you may get spam from people seeking to use the system for soliciting business.

One last suggestion, which I discuss in more detail in my book, is that you should make sure you get daily exercise and enough sleep so that you stay as healthy as possible. If you find that you cannot lift your spirits enough to do an effective job of finding work, you might consider getting career counseling of some sort. You may find that career counseling is all that you need to get you moving again. If it doesn’t, then you might want to explore counseling which puts you more at cause over your life.

It all comes down to the fact that you got yourself into this situation and you can get yourself out. All it takes is a clear head and a willingness to do whatever it takes to make a change for the better.

Now you may find every reason to disagree with what I have written, but you will do yourself a favor if you just consider that you are going to pull yourself out of this spot and follow the steps I have suggested. They are based on observations of many, many real-life recoveries from unemployment.

If you are currently unemployed, try these simple actions and let me know how things work out.

This entry was posted in Basic Business Concepts, Micro-Business, Working For Others. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Getting back in the game…

  1. Imady says:

    David my friend, your writing about the work place comes from the heart and reach the heart. Your other writing is also high quality and wonderful. BUT… There is always a but. People who are bothered about their work situation don’t seek reading about things like ‘Floyed carnival’. People who are interested about your fantastic craft work may not have work problems.

    It is possible that a domain separation is needed. What ever you decide I will continue to read your blog, from the other side of the globe.

    I now use not only to improve my english spelling but also…
    This an online dictionary that also say the words. Another day a friend told me of a new english word that he learned. I opened the site and we both learned to say it properly.

  2. Imady,

    I appreciate your comments and fully understand that not all visitors will enjoy every one of my posts. But, and this is a really BIG but, people enjoy variety and so do bloggers!

    Some of my blogger friends who wrote excellent posts about a narrow range of subjects have stopped writing, not because they ran out of ideas but because it became boring!

    I have a great deal of concern about my friends and my readers who are out of work or are about to lose their jobs. If I wrote non-stop, I would have several posts every day on that subject and my readers, even those without jobs, would lose interest.

    Life is more than looking for work in all the wrong places. It is also about making the most of every hour and every conversation.

    That’s why I write about artists, and coffeehouses, and craftmanship, as well as about finding and keeping a job. All these are a part of life. I expect readers who are looking for a particular type of message to go to my categories on the left sidebar. There is enough variety there to keep the average browser busy for a while.

    Life is all about keeping things in balance, and learning from your experiences. I try to keep things in balance when blogging and I hope that there is something of value in every post for the reader to take with them.

    Finally, when you are out of work you need to keep your spirits up and not be too hard on yourself if you fail. Success is actually a simple matter of finding out what doesn’t work and doing something else until you discover what DOES work!

    You can save a lot of time by observing others and reading about their successes and failures. I write to educate whenever I can, but I try to keep the message as entertaining as possible.

    Even my articles on craftwork and enjoying a restaurant are written with that purpose.

  3. Thank you for mentioning LinkedIn. I would like to clarify though that well over 50% of people on LinkedIn are not in high-tech, so LinkedIn is a pretty good choice for professionals (wether employed, unemployed or self-employed) in most industries.

    If you yourself are in high-tech, your own network may skew towards high-tech, but I know, for example, people in financial services in the UK who think that LinkedIn is all about people in financial services in the UK because the page with stats about their personal network shows a high percentage of UK members and those in financial services. But that is because they connected to people in financial services and in the UK, and those people tend to connect with the same kind of people.

    Since we now also show you results from the entire LinkedIn Network (not just your personal network), do search for people in industries very different from your own, and you may be surprised what kind of professionals you can find (especially in regions of the country/world where people work in those industries) on LinkedIn.


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