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Coronavirus Musings Work Life

Keeping the Faith When You’re Laid-Off or Underemployed

Most of us have been there, and many of you are there right now – laid-off or underemployed. It’s not a great feeling overall, and there’s a range of emotions that accompany suddenly being without work or not working as much as you’re used to. But, these abrupt changes in employment sometimes can be a blessing in disguise. And sometimes they’re just a chance to breathe a little before the next round starts up again.

Here are ideas that helped me when I was laid-off for five months:

You will make it through this. It may not seem like it now, but you will. It may be hard financially or emotionally or both, but you will make it through to the other side.

You will find a new job eventually. You will. Even if it takes a while you will. Just believe that and know that.

Be flexible. The right job for you may not be what you imagined initially, but it may be just what you need. Life is really funny. I’m betting in five years you won’t be exactly where you think you will. If so, that’s wonderful. But I’m betting it will be better than you could ever have imagined. So that box you think you fit into work-wise? Ditch it. Then open yourself up to new possibilities.

Be patient. This may feel and sound contradictory to what you’re experiencing, but be patient and wait for the right opportunity. I mean, if a job doesn’t feel right or every bone in your body is telling you not to take a job, then maybe don’t. Or maybe do to pay the bills, but keep looking for another. Being patient and knowing what level of job I wanted helped me sort the opportunities and focus.

Take the time to think outside the box. You don’t have a job anyway, right? Or, you’re not working full-time, right? Use the extra downtime you have right now to imagine your dream job, then apply for it. Or, imagine your ideal life, then figure out the steps to create it. Maybe it’s a pipe dream but you never know. And you’ll really never know unless you try. I applied for a couple pipe-dream jobs when I was laid-off. I didn’t get them, but it makes me giggle knowing I applied.

Reassess your options. Do you have to go back to work? Is now the time to make that move across the country or to another country? Maybe it’s time to open that business you’ve been dreaming of, or go back to school. Maybe you can freelance or join the gig economy to sustain your lifestyle. If not now, use the tip above and map out steps to get to where you have more time to do what you enjoy but still support yourself.

Leaving unemployment can be hard, but don’t be scared to fly. Unemployment doesn’t last forever, and it’s important to keep that in mind.

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