Ruvini Godakandae's Advice on How to Beat the Unemployed or Underemployed Blues
As you know, I love sharing inspiring stories to #fuelpersistence in jobseekers and new graduates. So, when a good friend of mine, Ruvini Godakandae, sent me this post I had to share it, as it holiday themed . I love how even though Ruvini has an obstacle in her path (being unemployed), she perseveres, reaches out, and inspires others! She now contiues to do so through being an employment educator (December, 2015). Thanks, Ruvini, for helping others shine!
Read her story below on How to Beat the Unemployed or Underemployed Blues.
'Tis the season to be cheerful, happy and surround yourself with loved ones, but it can be difficult if you are finding that you’re facing some financial woes stemming from being unemployed or underemployed.
During these tough, economic times, it’s easy to find a well-educated, experienced professional or student out of work due to work shortages or cutbacks. I am a prime example of this.
Having gone through numerous contracts, I thought I would be well adjusted to the usual volatility that the workforce holds but once the news hits, I still feel myself getting sent into a temporary crisis mode. Well, not“crisis” as in about to go nuts, but more the thoughts of "Where should I look to get some money coming in temporarily?", “What are my next steps?”,“Should I stick with this industry or make a career transition” and then the thought of “Oh god, here we go again. Back to square one!” seems to seep into my thoughts. Yes, it is nice to have what feels like a “forced vacation”because those can be hard to get, but if you’re anything like me and can't sit still for too long, you start to feel less productive and a bit depressed facing the four walls of your house. This doesn’t have to be the case – in fact, it really shouldn’t.
Now, a little over a month into being unemployed, here’s what I have discovered:
1. You’re not alone, so don’t be so hard on yourself if you were laid off: No matter how you leave an employer when it’s not your decision, you can’t help but think the worst even if your employer says otherwise. Clear that from your head. Hundreds, even thousands of people get laid off, through no fault of their own. At times, it can be a great wake up call to re-evaluate what you want in your career and life. As my friend usually says to me, “This is a tough period, but it won’t last forever.” Hard to believe at the time, but it’s always the case.
2. Stay active: This one, to those who know me, would seem like something that would be quite natural. But occasionally, it’s true, I feel like going into vacation mode and just taking it easy. While this is good to do for a little bit, it’s important to keep your eyes and ears peeled to what’s around you. Instead of spending your day by the TV or couch, a healthy daily workout and some socializing can keep you from constantly thinking about your not-so-fun situation. Just remember to not go overboard or you will find your energy quickly depleting.
3. Prioritize: After you get past the resting period, you need to kick up your job search efforts and set aside some time to search and do applications for jobs. I’ll be the first to admit it, I usually collect postings I see and then wait to do them later and before I know it, the deadline has come or has just past. If you have a smartphone, use it to its full potential. Schedule in your calendar a few days ahead of the deadline to do an application and include the deadline date as a reminder. Always keep in mind one application a day is easier than 3-5 in one day. Use an Excel spreadsheet in conjunction so you know which jobs you have applied for and which are coming up. It’s a great way to keep track of it all.
4. The more you know, the more you grow: Often at times, we get stuck in a bit of a rut at work. Almost like we’re coasting. On the positive side to being unemployed, I often think it’s the best time go and take that course you’ve always wanted to try or volunteer for an organization that you used to think you’d never have time for. I can’t tell you how often I look for great organizations to align myself with for not only skill development but for meeting and being a part of some really neat projects. The more you learn, the more skills you can add and show future employers that you’re interested in personal development. They’ll then know that you won’t be stagnant in your job and will always be striving to be your best.
5. Surround yourself with supportive people and spread the word online and offline: You may be surprised how many people you know and people that your friends know that could lead the way to a future job opportunity. If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, use it as another form of research. Having a journalism background, I know the internet and social media has become an essential tool for journalists to find sources. It can be used the same way to find jobs. Take a company that you’re interested in, for example. Just by looking at their feed, you can see what their latest events, news, campaigns or products or services are that may not be on a website that requires someone to maintain all the time. I often go to meet people and discuss their organization one-on-one or at an event and they seem to show through their body language that they are happy that I took the time out to really get to know them and just a few things about what they do. You’ll find that when you’re passionate about something, the research part can come naturally and people talking to you will see it from the way you discuss their organization.
6. Be patient! Things take time. It takes time to search for those opportunities, find the right people to ask questions about your area of interest, write applications and promote yourself online and in person. Remember, it’s a job in itself so don’t get too discouraged if it’s not happening in the timeframe that you’d like it to be. Start volunteering, interning and attend events to gain some experience and network in the meantime. That’s what I’m doing!
7. Most importantly, BELIEVE in yourself: Despite being at a difficult point now, you should reflect on your previous accomplishments and focus on those, so you can showcase that to others. When people ask me what I think my greatest strength is, I naturally state it’s my communications skills because of my education background and gift for gab. Remember to think about your hobbies, volunteer experiences, and classes you may be taking that can all contribute to your skill set. Employers like to know your qualifications, but they also like a well-rounded employee who’s got a positive and enjoyable personality. Find what it is that sets you apart and use it as a strength. For example, the fashionista that loves creating a stylish wardrobe or following the latest trends and fashions could very well be a great fashion blogger or image consultant. Take advantage of technology. If you like to write, try freelancing, create an online portfolio and try creating your own blog – just like how my good friend Arianna has done. Just look at how it has grown, given her recognition by other professionals in the field and likely, an added dose of confidence.
While some of what I have said may seem obvious, you might be surprised at how much work it can be. Take each day, day by day, and remember you’re not dead yet. There’s a whole world out there with opportunities at every corner –it’s just that it isn’t always the nice, comfortable square box you always imagined it would be in. Be open!
Good luck to all of you out there still searching!
Thanks, Ruvini, for opening up and sharing your lessons with us! I love how we are helping each other grow.
Also, I love reading others stories about this experience. Thanks Tarek for sharing your story "WHAT I LEARNED FROM ONE YEAR OF UNEMPLOYMENT, AND HOW YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM IT."
Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.
See you at the beach!