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 linkedin.com.
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.