1. Stop the Blame. When you’re unemployed, it’s easy to blame the world around you. Everybody does it. The economy sucks. Your last boss sucks. Your last job didn’t give you the necessary skills. It’s Obama’s fault. It’s because of those darn immigrants! Well, here’s what I think. The pity-fest is a self-serving distraction. You must let go of hate, Luke. You have to take complete responsibility for doing something about your condition. Make a commitment today to stop blaming the world around you and take control of your thoughts, attitude, and convictions. Even if you’re gainfully employed, thinking positively even about the most dire conditions will help you find opportunity.
2. Avoid FUD. This is a cool economist term. It’s an acronym. It stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Dread. There’s a lot of it these days and if you spend a lot of time with other fuddy-duddies they’re just going to harsh your mellow, man. If you’ve risen above the blaming problem and have oriented yourself towards positive thinking, the last thing you need is a bunch of people swarming around you with more FUD. Cleanse your pallet. Give yourself time away from this crowd to think positively about your issues. Remember, there’s only one thing that can get in your way towards financial freedom: you.
3. Focus. Do one thing well. Not seven things. Not twelve. Stop multitasking. Focus on something you’ve been putting off. Weight loss. Writing that book. Swimming. Learning how to ice skate. Hiking. Rebuilding your resume. Education. Go out and do that one thing. Put all of your energy into it. Once you’ve done it, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment for starting and finishing something that you’ve been avoiding. Then, pick just one project, and work on the next big thing. With every accomplishment, you and your friends and associates will take notice. You’re doing something with your time. You’re not idle and waiting – you’re creating your own reality – and getting more and more confident at the same time.
4. Self-Educate. Formal education happens in the halls of academia. Informal education happens all of the time. And you’ve got free access to the most abundant information in human history! In my blog post last year called Teach Thyself, I wrote about how you can take MIT courses for free, or, learn about something that’s always fascinated you. The Internet is an infinite resource for learning. Keep your mind and skills sharp. Learn more about your world and explore your interests. Now’s the perfect time to bone up on anthropology (one of my passions!) or, heavens, quilting, whatever turns your crank! If you find yourself with any free-time, take an hour to learn something you didn’t know. Always be learning and re-tooling your skills!
5. Network. It’s time to make conversation. Nothing ever happens in a vacuum. You’re going to have to get out there and meet people; shake hands; pass around your name and pass other people’s names; get to know others in social settings. You need to build your sales team: people who will promote you when you’re not around. Whether or not you’re out of work or a small business owner, the best form of advertising is word-of-mouth. The only way those opportunities are going to present themselves is when you’re meeting and talking with others.
What we’re really talking about here is a strategy for building-up your confidence and self-esteem. Don’t take the time you have being unemployed for granted. Time is the most precious commodity! Use it, everyday, to improve your circumstances, and to find opportunity.
Russell Mickler works a technology consultant in Battle Ground, WA, USA. With over fifteen years of experience, Mickler teaches for numerous colleges and universities, and earned a CISSP, MCSE, and a Masters Degree in Information Technology. His website can be found at http://www.micklerandassociates.com.