DFN: In the words of the great American Philosopher, Red (Shawshank Redeemption), "Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying", Mr. Rao gives some good advice regarding approaching a job search as if it were a job, and looks at it as an opportunity to do lots of ‘things’ you didn’t have time to do while you were employed.
Pollyannish? Yes, but, consider the alternatives. Would you rather spend time worried about the future? Live your life in fear? Or, would you rather myopically work towards success, one plodding step after another, but, not worried, w/o fear?
Why You Need to Develop a Healthy Unemployment Routine
By: Srinivas Rao 10/23/2009
In today’s economy it’s not a surprise to find many people who are unemployed and many who are on the verge of losing their jobs. Some people like to say things like “No matter how you look at it, it sucks.” But, how you look at it really makes a difference and if you look at in the right way then you’ll see that there is a reason some people jokingly refer to it as “funemployment.”
However, those who only see the negative side put themselves in a really dangerous position because they run the likelihood of a downward spiral. In fact, the worst thing you can do when you are unemployed or looking for a job is crawl into a whole and become a hermit.
I have what some might consider an extremely unusual regiment for an unemployed person. I get up super early, sometimes even by 6am. I also have learned how to be extremely efficient. I spend what some consider insane amounts of time at the beach surfing (4-6 hours a day), yet I publish blog posts almost daily, I submit resumes every day, and I even schedule job interviews in the midst of all this. There are tons of things you can do when you’re unemployed, that are actually beneficial to you in numerous ways. I’ve made a point to develop the kinds of habits I would have, even if I was working. Let’s say you are unemployed for quite some time, 6 months to 1 year. If you get into bad habits, then they’re going to be hard to break because you’ve conditioned yourself into them for so long.
Four Healthy Habits for the Unemployed
1. Get up at a reasonable hour
I recommend that you get up at a reasonable hour. You don’t have to be an early riser like I am, but let’s say you get into the habit of getting up at 1pm everyday or sleeping all day, then you are going to have a tough transition to the working world. It’s also really bad for you mentally to do this because you send a message to your subconscious that you have nothing important to do, and there’s no reason to get up. Just imagine what this will eventually do to your state of mind.
2. Have daily tasks/rituals
If you can get into the habit of having a daily routine or ritual you will have a reason to get out of bed. For me, it’s publishing blog posts, and getting to the beach for the dawn patrol. Having tasks and rituals will give you some sort of purpose other than “I really need to find a job.” If you all you are thinking about is “I need to find a job” your entire focus is on the lack of a job. Eventually it will become a self fulfilling prophecy.
3. Manage your time
Managing your time is another really good habit to develop. When you come from the mindset that “I’m unemployed and I have all the time in the world” you will continually procrastinate and never really accomplish anything. The path to accomplishment of most goals can be easily paved with a simple investment of 15 minute a day.
4. Be social
If there’s one thing I’ve seen with many of my business school classmates, it’s that they have dropped off the face of the earth. There are no Facebook updates, and some refuse to go out at all. Sitting at home and wallowing in your misery is a guaranteed way to stay unemployed for even longer. To add to that you will eventually become depressed. Combine that with your state of mind and you’ll give off an energy that no employer will ever want be around.
Unemployment doesn’t have to be the nightmare that most people make it out to be. It’s a great time for self exploration and doing all the things you said you would if you didn’t have a job. Take advantage of the time and when you do finally start a job, all of the positive things you’ve done will have set you up for success in your new position.
Srinivas Rao is a personal development blogger who writes for The Skool of Life. He’s a recent graduate of MBA Program at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business, and has a bachelors degree in economics from UC-Berkeley. He has previously held positions in online marketing, client services and account management with employers such as Intuit, Nielsen Netratings, and Forrester Research.