Unalienable Write

April 9, 2010

Ten Immediate Things You Should Do When You Lose Your Job

Filed under: Uncategorized — leeorland @ 11:00 pm

1. Gather your contacts

If networking is important when you have a job, it is doubly important when you are unemployed. Relevant contacts can help you find new opportunities, provide references, and keep you ‘in the loop’. When you lose a job, make sure you don’t lose contact with those co-workers, associates, and clients who can help you later.

2. File For Unemployment

If you lose a job, especially one you’ve worked at for an extended period, you should file a claim for unemployment as soon as possible. There is a waiting week before receiving benefits in most cases, but your claim may take a while to process. The sooner you are in the system, the better. Additionally, your local unemployment office can be an excellent resource for finding a new job. Make sure you avail yourself of any assistance they are willing to provide.

3. Trim The Fat

When faced with a loss of income, it’s important that you limit unnecessary expenditures. Do you really need a premium cable subscription? Multiple phone lines? Dinner out? If there are ways for you to spend less money, take care of them as soon as possible–even if you’ve saved an emergency nest egg for such situations. In this economy, you never know how long it might be before you find a suitable replacement for your job, and if you reduce expenses now, you give yourself more time to find something appropriate.

4. Update Your Resume

Of course you should update your resume for the obvious reasons, but there is a not so obvious reason to update your resume: it can build your confidence. Losing a job can wreak havoc with your self-esteem. When you write your resume, you are presenting yourself in the best possible light to potential employers, and in the process you have to think of yourself in the best possible light as well. Writing your resume helps you realize your strengths, lets you address your weaknesses, and allows you to appreciate all you’ve accomplished and learned in your last job.

5. Take a Day or Two to De-stress

Losing a job can be traumatic, and you shouldn’t jump back into the game without clearing your head. Take a day or two after you lose your job to take care of yourself. Take a walk. Spend a little time with your family. Meditate. Do whatever you have to do to reenter the market with a peaceful mind and a positive attitude.

6. Explore Your Options

Losing a job can actually be an opportunity in disguise. Take this chance to explore your options. Do you want to reenter the same field you just left? If so, perhaps you can brush up on some skills to make yourself more marketable. On the other hand, perhaps you want to try something new. Now is the perfect time to consider going back to school, or to even try to get into another field. For many people, finding themselves unemployed was just the impetus they needed to start their own business. Think about what really interests, and what you love doing, and consider if there is any way you might be able to turn it into a career.

7. Organize Your Environment

Not many people can be productive in a messy, disorganized office, and if you are now at home full time due to losing a job, then your home is now your office. Get it cleaned up and organized for maximum efficiency. Take care of those gutters you’ve been meaning to clean out since last fall, throw away those broken electronics you kept meaning to fix but never got around to, and organize your closets. You’ll find that if you do so, your thinking will be clearer and you’ll feel more professional. If you feel more professional, you will come across as more professional, which will help your prospects in the long run.

8. Cancel Your Credit Cards

If you have credit cards, cut them up or cancel them. Seriously. Using them can be dangerously tempting when money is tight, but this can easily backfire. The last thing you want to do is increase your debt when you don’t have a positive flow of income.

9. Unplug Your TV

This one sounds silly, but it is one of the best things I did when losing my job. When the stress kicks in and you’re feeling down, anything that numbs your mind and takes up your time, like television, can sap the ambition from you. You don’t want to maintain a state of high stress, but neither do you want to lie down and give up. Take up positive activities that keep you active and ‘in the world’. Hike, garden, or do charity work. You’ll maintain a steady pace, and be less likely to sink into depression.

10. Take a Vitamin

Stress can take a toll on your health and your state of mind. To help combat this, make sure you take a multi-vitamin and eat well. The last thing you want is to become seriously ill while you are trying to seek a new job.

April 8, 2010

How I Discovered That Charles Dickens Was Not an Idiot

Filed under: Uncategorized — leeorland @ 6:31 am
Tags: , , , ,

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.” –Charles Dickens

Okay, so I really didn’t think Charles Dickens was an idiot. I did not, however, truly understand the above quote until recently. I knew it sounded nice, but what did it mean? How can you have dark and light, good and bad, heaven and hell all at the same time? I thought of it like an eighties rock ballad–pretty, but meaningless.

And then I lost my job, and my life became one big contradiction that Dickens would be proud of.

I saw it coming, yet it blindsided me. Yes, the economy was in the crapper. Yes, I worked in retail management, which isn’t the most stable area even in good times. Yes, I watched as coworkers who had been there as long as I had were given the boot. Yet it wouldn’t happen to me, would it? I was good at my job. Customers liked me. I increased sales. I saved the company money. I was competent and confident. I had job security.

Apparently not. Evidently, I wasn’t as valuable to the company as I thought I was, and I, like so many others, earned a new job title: Unemployed. To be honest, it threw me for a loop. I didn’t realize it until the moment I was being handed my pink slip, but over the years I had begun to define myself by my job. I wasn’t just Lee Orland; I was Lee Orland, Sales Manager. As sad as that sounds, it was true.

Now I was just Lee Orland again, and I wasn’t quite sure who that was.

However, after a few days, the shock wore off. Like many addicts–and that’s what I had been: an addict of my job–the next phase was anger. I cursed my former employer, I cursed the economy, I cursed at every politician and banker that showed up on my television screen. Fortunately the anger phase didn’t last long, and it soon morphed into confusion.

Why was I confused? Because when I really thought about it, I wasn’t that upset. Sure, my savings were quickly dwindling. The job market was still stagnating. The price of everything was going up, and I had a mortgage to pay and a family to support. Despite all this, however, what I really felt deep down inside was…relief. I’ve never really enjoyed my job. It wasn’t the career I had wanted for myself, and most days it seemed like it sucked the soul right out of me. I began to realize that losing my job was less of a setback, and more of a wake-up call and a golden opportunity rolled into one. I could become Lee Orland again. All I have to do is figure out who that is.

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