Whether you’ve been unemployed for a day, a month or a year you are probably all too familiar with those suffocating feelings of fear and panic. If sleepless nights and restless days have become your new routine perhaps it is time to get a fresh perspective on this global crisis.
During an interview titled ‘How to find a job during a recession’ career coach Maggie Mistal provides practical advice to the unemployed and retrenched workforce in America which is useful to the non-working population worldwide.
Step one, ‘stay calm’. Mistal reminds us to start by focusing on what we do have as opposed to meditating on our jobless state day and night. Our savings, assets, support system and networks are excellent focus points.
Once you are calm you can rationally examine why you are unemployed. Have you lost your job because your industry is crumbling or because your ex- company could not compete on a global scale? According to Maggie we need to first identify the problem before we can develop a strategy to combat it.
PURSUE YOUR PASSIONS
If the problem lies with the company it is safe to continue to pursue work in this industry however if the problem lies with the industry itself it is necessary to reassess your career path. ‘See this period as an opportunity to pursue your passions’ says Mistal.
OPPORTUNITY INSTEAD OF DISAPPOINTMENT
Mistal’s core message is to view this bend in your career as an opportunity instead of a disappointment or failure. It may even be a blessing in disguise as it forces you to reflect on your career choices and really look at what drives you. Mistal recommends seeking a mentor or coach who can help to identify your unique gifts and talents so that you can ‘leverage those in your career’.
Once you have identified your unique skills set make use of your networks and tell others about what you are looking for.
Of course, it’s not all roses. Experiencing negative feelings during this period is natural. ‘Fear, anxiety and despair are part of the process’ cautions Mistal. Change is never easy, so recognize that it is normal to feel a sense of hopelessness during this transition. However, you should not allow this kind of thinking to become a permanent mental state.
So you’ve established your talents and gifts, you know which direction you want take in your career, you’ve put yourself out there, you’re feeling positive about the future and after four long and arduous months of searching, no job.
DON'T BE DESPERATE
Should you now change your attitude to one of ‘I’m so desperate I’ll take anything’? The answer is a resounding no. ‘This is the biggest mistake that people make and a recruiter’s worst nightmare’ says Mistal.
But what are the alternatives and when should you implement them? ‘In a good economy it takes 3 to 4 months to get a job, in a bad one it can take anything from 6 months to a year’ cautions Mistal. It is important to prepare yourself for this possibility and plan your job search strategy with this in mind.
According to the careers expert moving to another area or searching for employment in a different industry are avenues that can be explored but those who pursue this path should be wary as ‘you could end up living in a place you don’t like doing a job you don’t enjoy’. Be aware that a move does not guarantee success or happiness.
Mistal shares the secret to gaining successful, stable employment. ‘Job security does not come from your boss, your company or the economy’. She endorses the notion of self-reliance and the importance of playing on your strengths.
'If you do what you love you’re going to be better at it than other people’. This will ultimately set you apart and guarantee a rewarding and successful career.