I can’t believe Thanksgiving is already approaching! It’s the time of year when we sit back and reflect on our past year and all we have to be thankful for. Losing your job may be a devastating blow. As you contemplate life after getting the pink slip, look at what you have going for you…
Unemployment is not a death sentence. It may take some time to find your next position, but you will find it. Stay healthy and be thankful for the good health you and your family enjoy.
Losing your job can feel like someone pulled the rug out from under you. Thanks to the signing of the COBRA policy in 1985, all qualifying employers must provide health insurance coverage to those who have lost their job and their immediate families. COBRA allows for up to 18 months of health insurance coverage, which is something you can be thankful for.
Think of the 26 weeks of unemployment benefits you’re receiving as cushion. It might not be a comfy cushion, but having some money coming in is better than none at all.
Take Time for You
Work, Home, Work. Work never ends does it? Employers expect their employees to give 110 percent. Look at your job loss as a vacation from the 60-hour workweeks, tight deadlines, and endless meetings.
You’re out of the rat race. What now? Be grateful for time for yourself. Stay in pajamas. Sleep! Knit. Explore a new hobby. Volunteer. Finish the baby book you started eight years ago…when your child was still a baby!
Spend time with your family and friends. You’ll never get this time back, so enjoy your family while you extra time to do so.
Got time? Finding time to exercise when you were working may not have worked with long commutes, business travel, or overtime. Appreciate that you have time for exercise and fitness.
Gift of Time
When the initial shock of losing your job lessens, look at your life. Did you love your job? Or were you punching a clock? Take stock of what motivates you. Need a career change? Now is the time to explore your options. What is important to you in an employer? Allow yourself time to find the right job. Want to return to school? Be thankful you have time to re-invent yourself.
Hone your skills…beef up your resume, practice your interview skills, take a class. Be glad that you have the opportunity to make yourself more employable.
It Takes a Village
Be thankful for the people in your life who support you through hard times. Being unemployed isn’t easy, but with the emotional support of friends and family, the burden lessens.
Photo courtesy: MTsofar
These days, it’s not uncommon to see people tweeting or blogging about unemployment. In fact, it’s becoming quite the trend. With around 14 million people out of jobs, it’s not surprising that many find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their hunt for a job.
Quite a few new hashtags and Twitter accounts have popped up by those who want to share the experience of being jobless. While some people are using social media as an outlet for their frustration and complaints, others are turning it to their advantage and landing jobs by posting about their most recent adventures in job hunting.
Sharing experiences about job seeking can be therapeutic in that people have someone who has similar experiences to talk to. Some of the unemployed may not be comfortable talking to their family or friends about what they’re going through, so having a social outlet can be useful and helpful in getting through an emotional swings of unemployment.
What Could Go Wrong?
You do have to be careful when posting about your life as an unemployed person. Remember that potential employers will be searching for information about you and if you have posted something unfavorable, it could cost you the job. Employers use social media sites to get insight into your overall personality – hopefully their investigation leads to finding a well-rounded, interesting person. Unfortunately, many people use it to vent their frustrations, completely unaware of who might view it, sending out the warning signals to any potential employers (including those who might not be hiring, but could recommend you for a position!). Venting too much, posting disparaging remarks about your ex-employer or badmouthing a company that didn’t hire you could make a contact think twice about making contact about an open position.
How People are Using Social Sites to Connect
Twitter and other social media sites are ideal for finding like-minded people in search of a job. TwitJobSearch and TweetDeck have partnered to create JobDeck, a platform that not only finds jobs on Twitter, but also sprinkles in advice for the jobless from recruiters and HR experts.
Profiles like @NJUnemployed and @unemployedsucks offer a gathering place for those united in the search for a job. Facebook has groups where the jobless can meet up with each other and network, as well. LinkedIn Groups like “Unemployed? Get a Job” also provide support and resources for the jobless. All of these networks offer a chance to connect with others in the same boat and can be helpful both in support and advice.
Blogs are also pulling in those without jobs and offering them support and advice. Unemploymentality covers the lifestyles of those without work. Another blog that follows the life of an unemployed woman is Bureaucracy for Breakfast, which covers marketing and news.
Social media is a valuable networking tool. Know how the information in your profile is your shared and how a potential employer could view it. Use it to connect with others, both employed and unemployed, and share your experiences in a positive way. Future employers will appreciate the effort and will see that you are a positive person who makes the effort to get out there, all of which are good qualities in an employee.
According to the Wall Street Journal, many employers in this economy think that the best candidates are those who are still employed and are "bypassing the jobless to target those still working, reasoning that these survivors are the top performers." See it
Bobby Fitzgerald, the restaurant owner quoted in this article, seems to think that restaurant servers and managers are only worthy of being hired if they have a current job. Even though he claims 'two dozen or more unsolicited résumés come in each day', he'd rather fly a candidate from Alabama to Phoenix to interview for a job based on the candidate's current employment status - employed. He's also proud to flaunt his guerrilla recruiting tactics by sending his managers to poach talent from his local competition because he thinks that an employed worker brings more value to his restaurants.
Perhaps it's Mr. Fitzgerald's proud photo along with the negativity and his comments in the article that bother me so much. Millions of professionals are unemployed in the market due to the economic crisis, many at no fault of their own. We're so far past the point of equating the unemployed with damaged. This kind of short-sightedness in this marketplace makes my blood boil.
While it is common, especially during good economic times, to give preference to an employed candidate or to question the reasons behind a layoff, there are many other factors to consider before running off to the WSJ to tell the world about your company's silly hiring policies. Some of these story sources didn't even bother to think about how their comments may affect their reputation. Ticking off the community of unemployed readers and their friends and family members isn't the smartest way to drive business to your company or enhance your employer brand.
Companies don't always make cuts based on performance issues. Entire departments are being eliminated and other companies are going through three of four rounds of layoffs. Sometimes the business just can't sustain even the best performers. And even if the layoff had something to do with the person, such as a cultural or personality clash, it doesn't mean that the candidate couldn't be a top performer in the right environment.
Let's make it clear though. I'm not advocating that preference should be given to an unemployed candidate because he or she is out of a job. I just hope most employers can set aside their preconceived notions about unemployed applicants and evaluate potential prospects based on their relevant experience first, not their 2009 employment status.