Coping with 'Being-In-Transition'

No one is unemployed, just ‘in-transition’ between positions.  Here’s seven tips with additional comments about how to ‘transition’ effectively.  Call them your ‘Magnificent Seven’ for transitioning to new work.

[A discussion around these seven tips with your EaRN Teammate will very likely help you make fullest use of the ideas contained in it.  They can provide a good framework for your work search thinking, planning and activities to find your next work assignment in the shortest amount of time.]

Coping with ‘Being-in-Transition’ (edited version), by Wayne Rainey, original article posted at Full article at . [Comments in brackets, italics and bold by Ken Soper.] It’s easy to get discouraged particularly if you’ve been looking for a job for quite some time. After all we define ourselves so much by what we do [it’s a trap to equate who we are with what we do for paid employment]. How many minutes after you meet someone for the first time, do you ask him or her, “so what do you do for a living?” Even those that support you, family and friends, can unintentionally create problems. How many times as a job seeker have you heard, “so, have you found anything yet?” [Here are Wayne’s 7 areas to consider in keeping yourself moving ahead to landing a new position. –Ken Soper]

  1. Budget — Prioritize where you are spending your money. There are certain expenses you may not be able to control such as rent or a house note. But for expenses like credit card debt, examine your statement to see if you ever automatically signed up for a payment protection plan. Chances are your credit card company may have enrolled you, if your balance has been over a certain amount. Take advantage of that, many of those plans will allow you to suspend payments temporarily. The key to a budget is to put it ‘on paper’, whether you create an Excel spreadsheet or scribble it on a note pad, having something that you can look at and change is a great help in developing a budget that will last.
  2. Routine — Stick to the same pattern you had when you were working. Resist the nightly temptation to watch Leno and get plenty of sleep instead. During the week, actually set your alarm clock. Pick a time to get up and get ready as if you were going to work. Does that mean you need to put on business professional clothes? Not necessarily, but hey, if it helps keep you focused then why not. Being ready for work every day means that you can respond to an interview request quickly. Also, by keeping a schedule, you will have an easier time of transitioning back to the work world. And you won’t scare your new co-workers by looking like a sleep-deprived zombie your first week on the job.
  3. Exercise — You’ve probably become use to wearing your sweats or some other sort of casual clothes. Funny, when you go to that interview, your suit feels a little tight. Although you wish you could blame your dry cleaner for shrinking your best interview suit, you know you can’t. You don’t have to join a gym. You can exercise by taking a walk in a nearby park or dusting off that old Richard Simmons tape. In addition to exercise, watching what you eat can help as well. Regular exercise and consistently eating right can help make sure that interview suit fits a little better. But it’s the added bonus of staying healthy during a stressful period in your life that is most important.
  4. Stay informed — Staying current on what’s happening in the real world is what keeps you connected. Whether you read the paper, surf the Internet, or frequent your local library, challenge yourself to learn about what is going on in the bigger picture. At the very least make sure you keep current on business trends. Being-in-Transition means that you need to be keenly aware of what factors are affecting the marketplace, especially in your industry [and career field/occupation]. Doing research can give you ideas on what industries are growing and what companies are hiring. And you will also be able to engage in the “small talk” that often precedes an interview. … chitchat … can help ease the tension when you’re meeting a recruiter or hiring manager.
  5. Volunteer — …while you were getting a regular paycheck, you helped with your money, now you can help with your time. Becoming a volunteer should be a commitment that will last beyond your transition period. So examine it seriously, before you decide to do it. Most organizations that rely on volunteer help will welcome anyone, no matter how much time he or she donates. But again, explore carefully how you can contribute during your transition and then what you can do after you start to work again. Besides being a wonderful networking opportunity, it is great to have that sense of accomplishment. Try this site to help find that right volunteer opportunity:
  6. Support Groups – No matter how well meaning your spouse, extended family, or friends are, if they aren’t ‘between positions’, they may find it hard to understand what it’s like to be out of work. That’s not to suggest that their support is not needed or welcomed, but sometimes you need to seek out others who are also in-transition. This idea may seem overly dramatic and some folks may not need it and that’s okay. For those that do just remember to start simple. If there were other people that were laid off from your company, call them first. Check in on them. Find out how they’re doing. If you think it would be worthwhile to get together, then do it. Some people you encounter will be negative, frustrated by their lack of success in finding work, they will likely try and infect you with their bad attitude. The long-term value outweighs the risk since this can be another networking opportunity. After all a job that might not be a fit for them, may be for you and vice-a-versa. And it is reassuring to know that there’s another person or group of people going through what you’re going through.
  7. Entertainment – – Yes, entertainment! You need to find a way to have fun. Whether it’s reading a book, playing a game, or watching TV, you need to work at making sure that some form of entertainment is part of your week. You need to figure out a way to include entertainment in your schedule and budget. Even if it means clipping coupons, going to Happy Hour and eating bar appetizers at halfprice, or waiting till that first-run movie hits the cheap theaters, you need give yourself permission to relax and enjoy life. Looking for work is a full-time job. Like any job, you need to have a break. So don’t short change yourself and feel guilty about goofing off every once in a while. But do schedule it.

The bottom line in keeping a positive attitude while you’re in-transtion is to remember the bigger picture. People get interviews because their skills match the job requirements. People get jobs because they have great attitudes.