There’s no doubt that losing a job is a demoralizing situation—and when you have a family and loved ones to support, it can feel that much worse, knowing you have people depending on you. However, countless workers in the past few years have faced unemployment, and it’s important for you to understand that you are not alone in your struggle.
Life does get much harder when you are unemployed and there are bills stacking up, left unpaid. You might even be facing a situation where you know you could take “a job” but you don’t want to, because it’s not the job that you want and it feels menial compared to what you were doing before. In this situation know that it might be wise to take that job—at least in the interim—studies show that the longer that you are off work, the less likely it becomes that you will ever return to work. Realize that you might feel better doing something as you continue a job search as opposed to allowing that gap on your resume to grow bigger and more daunting.
However, coping with unemployment is about more than just making sure that your resume is up-to-date. For many people, being laid off or terminated from a position wreaks havoc on self-esteem and pride—but there are ways to get through this. Follow this advice:
- Identify and acknowledge your feelings. Yes, it’s going to be tough. Yes, it’s sad and upsetting. Yes, you might be overqualified for a lot of positions. But don’t give up. You will get through this.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Contact your family, friends, and your professional network and ask point blank questions. “Do you know of any job openings?” “Can you help me with my job search?” Use networking skills and create opportunities.
- Know that you are worthy. This thought encompasses so many things…worthy of support, worthy of happiness, worthy of success. Work hard to make success a reality and whatever you do, don’t thrust all of the burden on your spouse or family. Stay engaged with the process, keep your mind focused to fight depression, and above all else, get up and get going in the morning—don’t sleep until noon. You do have an objective right now—it’s to get a job.
- Focus on your health. Studies show that during unemployment people are more likely to let their health go or engage in unhealthy behaviors. Keep a healthy diet, don’t engage in excessive drinking or other risky behaviors, and get enough sleep. When you do get called for an interview, you want to look sharp and alert.
- Create a day-to-day schedule. While it may be true that you no longer have a clock to punch, it’s important that you stay on a schedule in order to hold yourself accountable. The only way you can look for that next opportunity is to actively focus.
- Realize you need to be flexible. This might be a trying time in your life, but you have to remain adaptable. You must develop the mindset that this too will pass. Keep an open mind and consider every opportunity that you uncover. Reach out and introduce yourself to people. Remain friendly, outgoing, and positive. You never know what tomorrow holds or what great opportunity is just around the corner.
Remember, while coping with unemployment may be difficult, the fact of the matter is this: The difference between winners and losers is that winners are willing to do what the losers refuse to. Live in this moment to realize that good things are waiting for you on the horizon.