the reason you are unemployed doesn’t matter, not now

my reason for unemployment

You are unemployed.  Okay, that’s a fact.  You want to become employed.  Good.  That’s looking to the future.  You are bitter/hurt/disappointed/angry about why you became unemployed.  Fair enough, BUT.  You can’t move forward if your focus is on the past.  Make up your mind.  Do you want to get hired or justify the unfairness of your situation to the poor soul ambushed by your negative passion?

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Just getting a job isn’t enough

Will work for salary and benefits

If you’ve been unemployed long enough and are surrounded by caring and helpful people like I am you will have to get used to the advice that you should take any job.  The job is the goal, nothing else matters.  Not the money, not the circumstances, not the benefits.  Nothing else.  There is no real thought behind this statement but there is a lot of emotion.  I’ve already discussed how being unemployed makes other people uncomfortable and how your unemployment will make people you meet wiser than you.  Put those together and you get, “You just need to get a job, Period.”

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Take some time each day to retool and re-educate


If you’re like me, the almost daily grind of job seeking can get a bit depressing.  And the occasional moments of trying to relax away from your “job” aren’t really relaxing.  Time keeps moving forward but you aren’t.  On top of all that you need to stay positive for yourself, your family and friends, and for any potential employer / employment contact you meet.  That’s a tall order.  You need something to spark your interest, keep you upbeat.  For me the best medicine is learning new skills.  And the best place I’ve found is

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Others will help you based on their past not your present

unemployment line

For the long-term unemployed, aid and comfort from the people around you are essential.  You need their connections, their insights, and maybe even their financial assistance.  But don’t expect them to understand your situation in the same way you understand it.  This can be good but could just as easily be frustrating and emotionally draining.  As I’ve said in other posts, you will be put in the situation of trying to understand where they are coming from, pulling out what good you can, and not be beaten down by advice that might seem flippant or callous.  Their viewpoints are shaped by their past, not your present.

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Being unemployed makes other people uncomfortable

Other people will be uncomfortable

This may seem like an odd statement but I’ve found that people are uncomfortable being so close to unemployment.  And the fact is you now personify that concept.  Some people will handle it well but most will want to “fix” you and start blathering out “helpful” ideas.  They’ll quiz you on what you’re doing about it.  “What’s your strategy,” they’ll ask with deep concern.  They’ll look at you with sad, helpless eyes.  They may awkwardly change the subject to something more upbeat, vaguely say they’ll connect you with someone they know, or just wander off.  For us it’s a very strange thing to watch and if you are not careful their discomfort becomes yours.  Avoid this.

A good analogy in this respect would be to view unemployment like a fatal disease.  Think about it.   Continue reading

You probably just need my brilliant advice

Golden Horse

Your unemployment will make people you meet wiser than you.

You have found or will find that when you interact with people you will occasionally hear The Lecture.  That laser-focus, one-sided discussion in which you are told in no uncertain terms what you should do about employment.  It’s the same capsulized lecture that teenagers hear when they take a job training course.  The galling thing for me is that I’m in my 50’s and have successfully worked my entire life until recently.  Ouch.

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Start a consulting company


As your time among the unemployed begins to lengthen from days into weeks and then months you will become aware that something is happening to your resume and online presence on sites like LinkedIn.  You are developing an employment gap.  People put different emphasis on the importance of having a gap but no one thinks it’s a good thing.  Depending on the person interviewing you and the type of field you’re in, this gap could possibly become a real issue.  This can happen in any field but fast-moving technical fields can be the worst.  If your unemployment reaches the year mark it could become critical.  But take heart.  You don’t have to have an unemployment gap, start a consulting company.

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you need a job title

creative decision-maker

Anyone you speak to could lead you to a job, so be ready with your job title.

When you become unemployed, even chance meetings become impromptu job interviews.  New introductions usually include a “What do you do?”  Friends usually ask, “How’s it going?”  Please don’t throw these opportunities away.  Give the other person a chance to be helpful, most people want to.  But you have to help them help you.  Let them know you’re unemployed and what job title you’re looking for.  It should be just that short and sweet.  Don’t whine and moan about how you got to this point, be upbeat.  And be sure the job title makes sense and can be remembered by the other person.  I found this out the hard way.

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