Author Topic: In between jobs - advice on making the best of this time  (Read 1145 times)

FITortoise

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In between jobs - advice on making the best of this time
« on: April 17, 2019, 01:12:10 PM »
Hi this awesome community.

I was recently laid off in a mass company re-org. It came as a surprise to my team and I. Financially, I have a few months of runway (have a mortgage). While I actively look for a suitable role, what suggestions do you have to effectively use this time before the next job starts? Most interested in suggestions outside of job search from this community, but happy to hear your thoughts on job search too (what worked, what didn't). Job search itself is a journey of up and downs, as many of you know.

For context, I used the first couple of weeks to process what had happened, rested (wow I was sleep-deprived before!), and put together a rough draft of an action plan. The latter continues, and I've added workout sessions, meetings with those I haven't connected with for a while to learn about new spaces and opportunities. Any other ideas? Thank you in advance for your support.

CindyBS

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Re: In between jobs - advice on making the best of this time
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2019, 01:37:36 PM »
In the past few years I've gone through some not by choice unemployment - I quit working b/c y son got sick and then took a while to get a new job.

For me, one of the big things about not working is that you don't really have a "role" everyday.  If you are retired or a stay at home parent, that is a role, but when it is a temporary thing like what you are doing, it doesn't make a lot of sense to start retirement things like a volunteer gig or shoot off on a vacation.  I found myself lacking accomplishments, feeling lost, lacking purpose.  One thing that helped is to have a project.  Something that I could work on and accomplish a task.  Mine were mostly house related - cleaning out the garage, decluttering the attic, painting basement, organizing paperwork, etc.  Having a goal and working on it on a regular basis to accomplish said goal helped me.   I also did well having a loose schedule. 

Starting a new hobby that doesn't costs much money would be good too or even reading more books or catching up on old movies.

When I was able to go back to work, I told everyone I know I was looking for a job - announced on FB, emails, book club, neighbors, etc.  I got a lot of leads from people I am hardly in touch with.  My current job is from my husband's friend.  I am the only person he interviewed.  He only reached out to me after getting an email from me announcing to everyone I was looking for a job.

Some parts of the job search process I found discouraging - mostly looking through listings on Indeed or other job search boards.  So I limited that to twice per week - Tues and Friday.  I spent the other days sending out resumes and applying.

Good Luck


cincystache

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Re: In between jobs - advice on making the best of this time
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2019, 06:54:20 PM »
It sounds like you are doing all the right things. I don't any great advice or experience with this but I just want to wish you well in your search for a new opportunity. Try to have a positive outlook and keep up your self-confidence which will help when you start to interview. Exercising and connecting with other people are good.

mozar

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Re: In between jobs - advice on making the best of this time
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2019, 10:34:04 PM »
I was laid off a year ago and I haven't gone back to work. I recommend taking care of any medical issues, for example I finally got braces. I volunteer a lot anyway so I ramped that up. Take it easy. I also don't find it helpful. I read a book recently, about how instead of looking at job listings and try to fit yourself inside their definition,  you should think of who you are, where you do well, what do you want in life. Can't help you on the actual getting a job part. I think the book was called designing your life.

FITortoise

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Re: In between jobs - advice on making the best of this time
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2019, 10:58:19 AM »
Thanks for your input and well wishes. I am looking into more volunteer opportunities.

Laserjet3051

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Re: In between jobs - advice on making the best of this time
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2019, 11:33:55 AM »
I spent a lot of my time in between roles exercising and connecting with people in my personal (not career) life. Plus lots of cooking fancy meals that required lots of prep time. For exercising, that meant many long road and mountain bike rides. ASide from the obvious physical benefit, psychologically it helped me deal with the relentless beatings of repetitive job rejections. On the relationship side, spending a lot of time with family (kids) and friends showed me how much value relationships contribute to quality of life.

BicycleB

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Re: In between jobs - advice on making the best of this time
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2019, 03:21:23 PM »
I'm full of ideas, unsure whether they're helpful. But they're free!

1. Network towards excellence. Spend part of your time looking not for jobs, but top shelf peers, supervisor/managers, projects, companies. Ask everyone you know things like "Who's the most trustworthy person you've ever known on the job?" and talk to them.
2. More of the same, focused on the work. List the companies, projects, work types that are most interesting to you. Find the most interesting people in them. Reach out to them, communicate. Find out everything you can about what's going on.
3. Spend a day defining your ideal work flow/ process/ environment. If possible, display it in as many ways as possible.
4. Blog some of the above. Write it for yourself, but publish bits weekly (or something). Include the link in your communications.
5. Have links/resumes handy that describe your favorite laid off peers / employees.
6. Visit professional groups.
7. Consider some travel that includes in-person visits of workplaces you'd like, or want to explore.

I bet before long, you'd get offers. Maybe you'll find some for your peers/employees too.

Noodle

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Re: In between jobs - advice on making the best of this time
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2019, 03:45:40 PM »
I went through a seven-month layoff a number of years ago. My biggest regret is that I didn't use that time to do much in the way of projects. I did do a big move to the area where I eventually found a job, which occupied a lot of time at the beginning, and I was job-hunting and interviewing throughout; what I wish I had done more of was day trips, volunteering, learning various skills, visiting more distant friends and family, etc.--the kinds of things that are hard to fit in when you are working full-time. These days a lot of non-profits have "gig" type opportunities so you don't have to sign up for a long-term commitment.

FITortoise

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Re: In between jobs - advice on making the best of this time
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2019, 08:59:17 PM »
Agree - leisure cooking, exercising, spending time with loved ones have been enjoyable and kept me positive overall. I like the list of networking/job focus ideas. I was just thinking today that I need to make a point of conscientious learning. Appreciate the "what I wish I had done" sharing very much.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 01:25:49 PM by FITortoise »

MDfive21

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Re: In between jobs - advice on making the best of this time
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2019, 07:26:53 AM »
ptf.  will be in the same boat soon.

FITortoise

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Re: In between jobs - advice on making the best of this time
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2019, 01:26:07 PM »
@MDfive21 - How are you doing?

livewire516

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Re: In between jobs - advice on making the best of this time
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2019, 09:28:41 AM »
It is worth noting that unemployment tends to be psychologically damaging to the average person.

I recommend journaling about your experience - the emotional aspect of getting laid off, what concerns it brought about. Sounds mushy - I know (if you knew me IRL, you'd know I'm not mushy). There's some research (lead by J. Pennebaker, a psychologist and researcher out of a Univ. in Texas IIRC) that suggested that people who were instructed to journal about their recent layoff for 20 min a day for 5 days reported better measurements of psychological health and possibly more importantly, found work again sooner.

Men particularly fare worse - the longer they're unemployed, the less 'agreeable' and 'open' they become (these are psychological measures of personality - which typically are stable in the sense that they're normally very unlikely to change much across a person's life). In laymen's terms: they become stubborn grumps. Scarily enough, this tends not to go away even after they find new work. Don't become a stubborn grump -- be that open-minded kind dude/dudette.

Clearly, if we value FIRE - we wouldn't believe this to be inevitable. I'm just spelling out the hazards of not working in a society where work is so central to many people's structure, social activity, meaning, and sense of self.

My other recommendations:
  • Volunteer, especially if you're a man - Men who are unemployed in fact volunteer less than working men of comparable age. Volunteering provides purposeful activity, social engagement, and being held accountable to at least some sort of routine.
  • Maintain a daily structure - it's only with industrialization that employment became the force that shaped our days. Prior to that, our schedule was dictated by day-night cycles (anyone who's smelled burning tallow can understand why working by candlelight was generally avoided). Set an alarm for the same time each day. Don't permit yourself to stay up odd hours or sleep in. Be ready to be 'out the door' the same to you'd might be if you were working. That way, you're ready for anything each day.
  • Get out of the house - go to the library, a park...hell, go to Starbucks and milk their free refill policy (if you have their app). Perhaps you're a disciplined monk, but most people get distracted and waste their days in their own home. Bring a book somewhere and kill it in one sitting. Disable WiFi on your laptop and bang out several cover letters you've been dreading (at least I consider cover letters torture).

Why I feel like I can tell people what to do aka My background: I worked in public health for several years. I had extensive experience in working with individuals in recovery from substance abuse. My research interests in grad school were related to job-related psychological risk factors - aka what exactly is it about people's jobs, or lack thereof, that made them miserable.

minimally

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Re: In between jobs - advice on making the best of this time
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2019, 09:14:56 PM »
It is worth noting that unemployment tends to be psychologically damaging to the average person.

I recommend journaling about your experience - the emotional aspect of getting laid off, what concerns it brought about. Sounds mushy - I know (if you knew me IRL, you'd know I'm not mushy). There's some research (lead by J. Pennebaker, a psychologist and researcher out of a Univ. in Texas IIRC) that suggested that people who were instructed to journal about their recent layoff for 20 min a day for 5 days reported better measurements of psychological health and possibly more importantly, found work again sooner.

Men particularly fare worse - the longer they're unemployed, the less 'agreeable' and 'open' they become (these are psychological measures of personality - which typically are stable in the sense that they're normally very unlikely to change much across a person's life). In laymen's terms: they become stubborn grumps. Scarily enough, this tends not to go away even after they find new work. Don't become a stubborn grump -- be that open-minded kind dude/dudette.

Clearly, if we value FIRE - we wouldn't believe this to be inevitable. I'm just spelling out the hazards of not working in a society where work is so central to many people's structure, social activity, meaning, and sense of self.

My other recommendations:
  • Volunteer, especially if you're a man - Men who are unemployed in fact volunteer less than working men of comparable age. Volunteering provides purposeful activity, social engagement, and being held accountable to at least some sort of routine.
  • Maintain a daily structure - it's only with industrialization that employment became the force that shaped our days. Prior to that, our schedule was dictated by day-night cycles (anyone who's smelled burning tallow can understand why working by candlelight was generally avoided). Set an alarm for the same time each day. Don't permit yourself to stay up odd hours or sleep in. Be ready to be 'out the door' the same to you'd might be if you were working. That way, you're ready for anything each day.
  • Get out of the house - go to the library, a park...hell, go to Starbucks and milk their free refill policy (if you have their app). Perhaps you're a disciplined monk, but most people get distracted and waste their days in their own home. Bring a book somewhere and kill it in one sitting. Disable WiFi on your laptop and bang out several cover letters you've been dreading (at least I consider cover letters torture).

Why I feel like I can tell people what to do aka My background: I worked in public health for several years. I had extensive experience in working with individuals in recovery from substance abuse. My research interests in grad school were related to job-related psychological risk factors - aka what exactly is it about people's jobs, or lack thereof, that made them miserable.

this is amazing advice. I am going through a frustrating job search right now and I REALLY needed to hear this. thank you so much for the helpful comments.