Congratulations, you’re looking for (more) work! Why celebrate this moment of insanity? Because it’s about to open you up to a whole new way of living.
At times of un(der) employment, you are likely taking a leap into something new. Your last experience ran it’s course, you were fired from that job you didn’t want, you left the thing you loathed, your career is taking a new course - however you describe it, this moment is happening because you are ripe for something new.
So why does this phase of excitement, risk and adventure feel more like a Beckettian nightmare of listless, hopeless thumb-sucking? Because you haven’t taken the Lady Sunday School of Surviving Un(der) Employment, that’s why!
If you are feeling lost, blue or bored, simply make these practices part of your daily routine and you are sure to see results faster than tequila makes me take my shirt off.
Embrace the Spend-Cleanse
Be honest with yourself. Truly honest. When you were employed, were you living beyond your means and/or living paycheque-to-paycheque? No judgement. Sunday’s been living in this sin since, oh, day one. The upside to any cold turkey diet is that it resets your cravings. When it comes to spending, the value of potential purchases goes up because you are either penny-pinching on EI, hesitant to shill out any of your savings or are making mild cheddar in a part-time job (keeping the lights on but no way you can go to Holts). This leads to considerate consumerism; the new practice that is going to save you kabillions of dollars when you do get (more) work (and I promise, my friend, you will).
Pants on by 10
Ah, my favourite rule that has served me since graduate school! When the dayplanner is wide open and/or no one is waiting for you to show up at an office (take heed freelancers and stay-at-home moms/dads, this recommendation is about to change your life), it’s hard to be motivated when your daily ensemble looks like a Saturday morning cartoon party. Pants by 10am. No excuses. Pants made of Luon don’t count, nor do ones that starts with the words “sweat” or “track”.
Yes, you STILL need to dress for the job you want
Frankly, I don’t care if you think I sound shallow when I say this but the job you dress for is the job you will get so if you go out to get your morning coffee looking like you’re homeless, well … you get it. You are absolutely smart to be job hunting online but your next career move isn’t necessarily waiting at the other end of a job board or your laptop. It’s out in the world where you are mixing, mingling and chatting. Out for drinks with friends or, better yet, strangers? You damn well better look like you belong in the industry you are seeking. I believe in inner beauty as much as (if not more than) the next chica but the fact remains that we are all just puppies trying to figure out how we fit into the pack. So help a brotha out and tell him what you do before he has to ask. I can tell a PR girl a mile away (clean makeup, chic trench, pressed clothes, sensible heels - ALWAYS heels) and Realtors will always be business-casual with unshakeable confidence. What are you communicating about yourself, from a distance?
Welcome to your new office: the coffee shop
While the latte effect (spending $3/day on coffee) is proven to be the #1 way of bleeding Benjamins, I consider it the daily rental fee of working a few hours out of your house. It gets you to a new location, keeps your social skills on-point and, most importantly, gives you purpose and soothes your psyche. When possible, hop on a bus/train to a new part of town and give a new shop a try. It’ll keep your mind refreshed and serve as a daily practice in being open to new possibilities. Sitting at home with the birds of The View chirping in the background is the slow, agonizing death of the job hunt that I only advise for my most hated enemies.
Vocational Viagra - How to Keep it Up
You can’t confidently tell prospective employers why you’re right for a job if you’re having Americano-fuelled existential crises on a daily basis. So how do you get (and keep) your confidence up in these trying times? From the well-known source of all passion and desire: fantasies. Whether it’s journalling or jogging, you need to do the thing that gets you going everyday. If you don’t, you are sure to stay a lacklustre lass looking for others to get your motor running. Not only is it unattractive to others, it tires them out. You must be your own lifecoach, boss and big sister all in one; pulling out all the stops to keep the vision of your direction planted firmly, front and centre, while walking/running/climbing every step along the way.
Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner
I’m going to scream at you what I’ve started saying to myself: STOP SETTLING! When times are tough it’s easy to pick up the first job that comes your way. And yes, sometimes the bills just need to get paid. But ask yourself, REALLY ask yourself if your happiness and sense of self will suffer at the demise of a dumpy job. If it will, you owe it to Baby (that’s you, babe) to pinch your pennies even harder and have faith that you will soon find exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t undermine your talent or underestimate your worth merely because you need moolah.
Avoid the Mean Girl (Especially the one in your Head)
You know how it goes: you think a positive thought and in stomps that ho-bag called Doubt to rain on your Prada. You might’ve put up with that s#!t in grade 9 but, child, you are too old to listen to that tube-top wearing tramp anymore. She’s mean and she will win in a bar fight. Best to just avoid her and let her life take it’s inevitable course (teen pregnancy and trailer park woes). You’ve got bigger Fendis to fry. So when one of her nasty thoughts pops into your pretty little head, you do what your self-respecting jr. high self did when faced with any tormenter: you look ahead and walk strong, all while thinking: “in 10 yrs I am going to be famous and she is just going to have fat hips”. Works everytime.
Be good (and keep the faith!),