Unemployment can be discouraging, to say the least. For example, searching for a job can feel like online dating -- you create your "profile" and contact a variety of people, most of whom turn out to be uninterested or simply frogs. Meanwhile, you're struggling to summon up the motivation to trade your bunny slippers for a pair of real shoes and get on with your days in a meaningful way. Surviving and adjusting to unemployment takes a concentrated effort not to give in to fear and the deceptive idea that you'll never work again.
Get Out of the House
Sitting at your laptop in your pajamas perusing classified ads all day may help you become aware of fish canning opportunities in Alaska, but won't do much for your mental health. While employed, you enjoyed social interactions with a variety of people. Ensure that you continue to have a healthy social life by letting friends and family know that you're likely to go stir-crazy without regular coffee dates. Staying in the swing of things socially also increases the chances that you'll hear of job opportunities that trickle down through the grapevine.
Another way to get out and about while your unemployed is to volunteer. Volunteering can help you build your skills while you look for a job. Who knows what your volunteer position as the fundraising coordinator at the animal shelter might lead to?
Unemployment can be a blessing in that it gives you time to take a close look at your life. Ask yourself if your former career aligned with your values and purpose, and if not begin to make a personal assessment of your strengths, skills and interests so that you can find the right career for you. This is a good time to seek career counseling, take personality inventories and other assessments that can help steer you in the direction you want to go.
Sitting and waiting to hear back about interviews and job leads is emotionally exhausting and doesn't do a thing for the state of your bank account. Instead of taking a passive approach to your situation, get creative and think of new ways to make ends meet while you look for a new position. Many times, this can be accomplished by parlaying a hobby into a part-time job. You might find that you're so happy reselling antiques that you never go back to being an corporate auditor.
Change Your Perspective
The saying, "Crisis equals opportunity" is well-worn for a reason. Strive to view your unemployment in a positive manner. You can look at it as a challenge you can draw upon your skills to overcome and as an opportunity for personal growth. Looking at your situation in this manner can help you cope, because it's an empowering way to think, as opposed to "My life is completely at the whim of a middle manager."
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.