Losing your job is tough.
Struggling to find more work is hard.
Watching your bank account rapidly start to empty is scary as sh*t.
Even more so when you have big responsibilities – kids to feed, rent to pay or a mortgage looming over your head.
Don’t underestimate the hefty toll that losing work can have on your mental well-being.
If you, or someone you care about, are finding yourself in this position, know that you’re not alone and you absolutely can do something to improve your situation quickly – keep reading.
Here are 7 practical steps you can take right now that brought me relief when I was looking for work and desperately trying to survive mentally at the same time.
- Get Loud
When you’re struggling financially, you might want to ‘go to ground’ and ‘figure it out yourself’, but it’s time to put pride aside and reach out (to everyone and anyone).
It’s true – it IS who you know. And you never know who knows who, and what one conversation could lead to. Get on the phone. Send emails. Go door knocking. Reach out to your contacts. Go for coffees every chance you can (even if it’s just water). Catch up with people and let them know you’re looking. You’ll find that people love to help. New doors will open. Get loud.
- Find Opportunity
Not every business struggles in hard times. Some thrive. Look for the opportunities in businesses that are growing and hiring. Not sure where to start?
Here are 10 industries that thrive during hard times:
1. Groceries (everyone’s gotta eat)
2. Health care (sickness doesn’t go away)
3. Alcohol (as humans we often seek ‘guilty pleasures’ to numb the pain)
4. Candy (see above – Snickers was launched during the Great Depression)
5. Discount retailers (for those cutting costs)
6. Essential baby products (parents will cut back in other areas before their kids)
7. Pets (if a beloved pet gets sick, it becomes a priority)
8. Financial advisors (people seek financial help/advice when struggling)
9. Cybersecurity / Tech support (the recession has driven people online)
10. Repairs (rather than have to buy brand new, people will try repair things first).
There are also plenty of side hustles or casual money-makers you can try. Get paid to complete surveys, be part of a focus group, be an extra in a TV show. Get Googling and see what’s out there near you.
When you find yourself with extra time on your hands, use it to your advantage! Upskill yourself in an area that excites you and will further your expertise (making you even more desirable to employers). Doesn’t have to cost a fortune either, there are plenty of free courses on YouTube or cheap ones on Udemy. Being productive feels great to, so get busy and get to work on yourself!
- Find Your Purpose
Ever heard the saying ‘when it feels like you’re fighting to row upstream, try letting go of the paddles and see where it takes you’? What might seem like ‘failure’, may just be life pushing you towards something greater. Get curious about your next move. Where would you LOVE to go? We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and a sense of purpose gives us that. What’s yours?
- Have Fun
Don’t get too bogged down in the chaos of a major life change. Remember life is to be lived, we’re not just here to work till we die. Your mental state affects your physical state too. Give yourself some time between the hustle to do something you enjoy. Laugh for a while (even if you have to force it at first). Trust me, you’ll feel better for it. And the state you’re in (happy, energetic, stressed, or angry) when you go to job interviews plays a HUGE part in whether they’ll hire you, or not. Your attitude says a lot about you.
- Keep Waking Up Early
It might seem painful at first. Maybe give yourself a day or two to wallow, then get back in the habit of getting up early. A lot of your most productive hours are in the morning. Not only will it help you adjust back when you find work, it’s also the best time to reach people before they get too busy and tied up in meetings all day.
- Get It Out
Lastly, and most importantly, remember to get your thoughts out of your head, regularly. Going from working in a busy corporate office, to mostly working by myself at home for the past 9 years, if there’s one thing I know, being alone a lot sucks! Specially if you like being around people. For your own sake, try to talk to someone at least once every day. Go for a walk outside and say hi to your neighbour. Or if you can’t talk, write. It’s therapeutic and important to get all those pesky, self-doubting thoughts out of your head before you start to spiral. Working on your mindset and personal well-being is critical when you’re suddenly at home a lot.
If nothing else, I hope you’ve found this helpful.
Having had times of struggling to find work in the past myself, I know how hard it can be.
Just keep going.
When it seems like your world is rapidly changing around you and the rug has been pulled out from under your feet, remember the ONLY thing you have TOTAL control over is your reaction.
Life is 10% what happens to you.
90% how you react to it.
Your attitude is everything.
And if you find yourself needing someone to talk to, flick me a message. I’m here to help.