With over two decades of working with job seekers, I’ve seen hundreds of people wrestle with being unemployed. Surprisingly, those who do best DON’T spend 40 hours a week looking for work. At least not in the normal way.
Looking for work is stressful and involves lots of rejection messages (or no communication at all) from employers before you get to ‘Yes!” So, it’s actually good for the soul to do other things during your search. Things that make YOU feel better. Here are a few ideas:
- Volunteer – select your location wisely, you don’t just want to get out of the house (although that is important), you want to spend time doing something that will help you meet people. There are organizations happy to have volunteers even during COVID.
- Take on some extra chores at home – if you’re not bringing in money, be helpful to those who are working by taking on some extra chores. Pick the kids up from school, get food, make some repairs you didn’t have time for when you were working. It’s not just good for your family, it helps you talk positively about what you’re doing when you interview.
- Exercise – even if it’s just walking, you’re helping your body reduce stress, and you never know who you might meet. I know people who found a job by talking to people while walking or riding their bikes.
- Take time to talk with neighbors – There is plenty of evidence that if you’re an hourly employee, the best place to learn about job leads is from those who live around you. This can lead to new friendships and a backup ride when the car suddenly stops working or a tire goes out.
- Learn something. There is so much available online now that you can take a meaningful class for 3-6 weeks for under $30 on sites like Udemy. Some places, like Mary Rigg, will even have free classes that can help you gain new skills. Even if you don’t get a certificate you can tell a potential employer you did it and share your learning. It marks you out as someone who gets things done and your future boss wants someone like that!
I know some of this is harder during the pandemic but it’s still possible. Work at it and even if you don’t get a magic moment that lands a job, you’ll be exercising and doing things for people that will make you and them feel good.
Andrew Lee is the Director of Rigg Corp and Community Engagement. You can read more about him and the work he is doing here.