How To Eat The Elephant: A Survival Tip For The Unemployed

Here is today’s Finance Friday tip for the unemployed. Mix work with pleasure on the cheap.

Here are a few tips that helped me after years of looking for permanent work.

#1 – Keep eating the elephant.
Understand this is going to take awhile but you’ll get there. The way to eat an elephant is to start with a single bite. You need to keep moving forward, keep trying new things, keep sending out resumes, call recruiters, call your friends, let people know you are looking and don’t be prideful.

#2 – Make looking for work your job.
One of the great ways to avoid depression is to have a schedule. Wake up before 7am. Sit yourself at the computer and put in at least four solid hours of sending resumes into the Black Hole of Hell. Yes, that means Craig’s List, company websites, etc. Not just your dream job but any and all jobs you can do. Then take a break, stretch your legs and spend another hour doing work related tasks. These can be putting items on Ebay to sell for some extra dough, reworking your cover letter or figuring out what you are really good at. And speaking of what you are really good at…

#3 – What do you love?
Believe it or not, a down turn in the economy is a perfect time to go into business for yourself. What do you love to do and how can you make money doing it? It’s not as wacky as you might think and if you are your own boss, you won’t have to make up stupid, fake illnesses if you want to play hooky and go to Disneyland.

#4 – Take it easy once a week.
One of the best ways to help beat depression is to get outside. Take a walk, go to a park, treat yourself to something inexpensive as a treat. You can buy a small scoop of ice cream or have a latte. I know in the Bay Area, all the museums are free the first Tuesday of each month. There are websites you can google that list free movie screenings, discounts on services and other fun things to do in your area. If you want a laugh about life without work, I highly recommend watching Odd Todd cartoons – There were times when I thought this guy was watching me and knew every dirty secret of my out of work life.

So get out, breathe some air, work hard and every day say out loud five things you are grateful for. It helps. Trust me, I’m a doctor. At least I play one on television.

Posted on May 27, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Before landing my current position last june I’d been out of work for just under a year (361 days, but who was counting). Part of staying sane was having a routine to focus on, making that ego draining job search a daily job knowing that the amount of actual response I’d get to the handful of resumes I’d send out daily was extremely small. Things also seemed to come in surges – I’d have 3 months of nothing and then interviews with 3 different possibilities in the space of 2 weeks. Stay with it!

    • Very true. I averaged about 50 resumes a week and found things were the same for me – feast or famine. Months with no nibbles and then 3-4 interviews within a few weeks of each other. That’s why no one should give up. You are so right, having a routine does help with focus.

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