Perhaps you’re thinking in a few weeks you’ll focus once again on job hunting. It’s nice to sleep in, read the morning paper at Starbucks, watch your favorite program, take a walk, stay up late playing video games, or reconnect with friends on Facebook. As long as you have that severance coming in or funds to pull from, what’s the rush?
It’s tempting to take it easy from time to time. But easy doesn’t do it. Treating job loss like a mini-break, where moments of leisure are punctuated with bouts of enthusiastic vigor, won’t build the future you desire or help you through this emotional transition.
There were times you didn’t want to go to work when you had a job, but you still did. Now you’re working for yourself, so do something. Anything. Find something on your to-do list that you can accomplish quickly. Keep going. You’ll be glad you did. Forward action, no matter how small, fuels motivation, builds energy, and ignites job search creativity. It enhances perseverance, and gets results.
Try one of the suggested small actions below each day for the next seven days.
On Monday, do one, then add one of your own. On Tuesday, try a different one, then add one or two of your own.
Keep the momentum building. By the end of the week, don’t be surprised to see your motivation level heightened. That’s because any positive action trumps inaction.
Hate making those phone calls, writing thank you notes after interviews, or following up on leads? Set a timer for fifteen minutes. Do something you don’t want to do for that fifteen minutes three times a day, every day.
Hear about a job that’s right for someone else? Tell them about it. Read about a company that’s hiring? Let others know. Discover approaches that are working, share them. Help others thrive. You’ll feel better about yourself when you do. And others will reciprocate.
It’s not a picnic for your family or friends either. You don’t mean to take it out on them, but consider that you might be doing just that. These are the people who matter most in your life, who sustain you through tough times, who love you. Thank them, appreciate them, surprise them by washing the car, cleaning the house, or making dinner.
Pick one worry that’s troubling you. Brainstorm ten actions you can do immediately to address it. Let’s say you’re worried about college tuition for your daughter’s next semester. Actions might include: call the financial aid office to explore options; talk to your daughter about getting a job; start a spend-tracking system to determine what expenses to cut; call a temp agency about a position, etc.
What time did you get up? Did you shower today? Are you still in your PJ’s? Do you know all the afternoon talk-shows or spend the day sending YouTube videos to your friends? Make a list and start kicking out the bad habits before they settle-in.
Need money to take that keyboarding or Spanish or desktop publishing class? Or buy that interview outfit, create business cards, or get your resume professionally written? Check your overflowing closets, attic, or garage for stuff you can resell on eBay, at a consignment shop, or add to a friend’s garage sale to fund your future. Gather items this week; sell them next.
Identify three people who positively impacted your career. Is there a teacher or boss or colleague who encouraged you? A friend who opened doors? A family member who inspired you? Tell them. Be specific about what each person did for you and why that made a difference in your life. Ideally these should be hand-written, snail mail notes for greatest impact. This is not the time to tell them you’re job hunting; it’s a time to reconnect and offer heartfelt thanks.
Job loss can cause you to lose your grounding. Self-esteem erodes, action becomes inaction, and disinterest pulls you deeper into the emotional mud of anger and despair. It’s easy to anesthetize yourself with wine, food, or self-sabotaging behaviors. But, none of these will help you get back up.
It’s not the doubts or disappointments or the falling down that’s the hardest in job loss recovery, it’s the getting up. Again. And again. How many rejections have stung your heart? How many almost offers have you gotten? How much longer until that first day of a new job?
As a child you didn’t let a few skinned knees keep you from your skateboard or roller skates or bike. Don’t let depleted motivation and energy keep you from your next great job. Use the any-positive-action approach to get you back on a path that will help you be ready to shine when your moment matters.
About this author...
Job Loss Recovery Expert Nan S. Russell discovered a Stanford degree didn’t protect her from being fired from her first professional job. From minimum wage to Vice President of a multi-billion dollar company, she learned the hard way. Now she helps others with what does and doesn’t work at work. The author of three career books including, The Titleless Leader, Hitting Your Stride, and Nibble Your Way to Success, Nan is a national speaker and work issues consultant. More at NanRussell.com; and her job loss seminar: Rebooting After Job Loss.