What to do while you are out of work?

What to do while you are out of work?

Being unemployed is one of the most challenging times we can go through. How we face that challenge is purely up to us.

One of the situations that generate the most stress is finding ourselves unemployed. Because? Many reasons. The most obvious is the lack of economic income and its implications for the home, even more so if the person is the main source of income.

The lack of employment It can generate stress or discomfort because it affects our essence, who we are, how we define ourselves and therefore our mental well-being. Due to cultural deformation, we tend to associate who we are with what we do. This is a big mistake since we are our values, our purpose, our upbringing, habits, tastes, preferences. What we are is what makes us vibrate.

On the other hand, what we do at work is circumstantial. What we do is what we dedicate ourselves to, period. If it is also our passion, welcome. But we must not lose sight of that fine line. Because? Because if, for some reason, you are left without your job, you cannot be left without your being, your essence.

One question is What happens inside the person who is “between jobs”? How does that person feel? How do you live and go about your day to day life? For those of us who have been unemployed at some point in our lives, we know that this creates great levels of stress.

Many times people have told me that by stopping working at company A or B they have lost the vision of who they are. I have heard phrases like “I used to be someone, I don’t know who I was anymore.”. Or, and even stronger, “They took everything from me, I’m nobody anymore, they robbed me.”

Let’s think about 3 axes of our life:

  • The family – I remember an executive who came into our office to start an outplacement process. She had been separated from a company, in my eyes the hiring had been wrong. The person really did not have the cultural fit with the new organization. This had contacted her directly. The companies, the old one and the new one, were day and night on cultural issues: one was very traditionalist, where the candidate came from, and where she entered, very disruptive. She clearly had the technical knowledge they needed, but not the cultural fit. They ended up separating her from her, after several twists and turns, and they hired us to outplace her (a process in which a consultant accompanies the unemployed person to help them reintegrate) to accompany her. She is the breadwinner, she has children and it took her a couple of weeks to recover from the shock of being, for the first time in her life, unemployed. The end of the story is a story of complete success. She was only unemployed for 2 months and ended up joining a company with a more senior role, higher remuneration and yet, years later, she is still there. What was the big difference? Not her ability but the cultural fit. She is doing an excellent job today and she is highly valued. But, when she came to see me the first day, she was devastated.
  • The friends – Many people find it difficult to be visible to society. Think about what your friends will say. “I am very ashamed” is a phrase I have heard many times. Losing your job can impact costly social activities that you may need to restrict for a time. There is no need to be ashamed in these situations. Being transparent and telling what is happening to us is for me the best way. If a friend judges you because you can no longer participate in certain paid activities, until you are reinserted, he is not such a good friend. True friends are there in good times and bad. There are many alternatives to meet, enjoy being together and share that do not involve financial outlays.
  • Working market – There are two situations that arise: one leaves an organization because one makes a decision or one is invited to leave. No matter how much there is a mutual agreement, it means that we have been separated. I always advise being totally transparent with the fact and the events since, being outside the labor market, it is very easy for any Headhunter or future employer to get references about our performance, leadership style, development and reason for leaving. The phrase may sound very naive “we agreed on my departure” for the one listening on the other side. If you had a bad relationship with a former leader, I always recommend transparency. There is nothing worse than going out to ask for references and hearing the story told by someone else. If you decided to leave for personal reasons, for example the company requires you to move abroad to continue developing and you cannot, also share the circumstances openly.

Unemployment myths:

  • If I am unemployed it will be difficult for me to find a job: completely false. Being unemployed today is not seen as a taboo when it comes to finding work. Due to restructuring, companies leaving Argentina and other reasons, currently most people have been unemployed at some point in their careers.
  • Being out of work puts me at a disadvantage when negotiating my new compensation: It depends on several factors. Clearly it is easier to negotiate your compensation if you receive today. But, if the organization you are going to join is serious and operates with ethically correct processes, they will offer you compensation according to the role you will assume.
  • It is frowned upon to send my CV and apply for different positions: Completely false. There are platforms like LinkedIn and several others where job positions are published. It is totally valid to send your CV and apply for those positions for which you feel that you have proven experience in similar roles and competencies appropriate to the role.
  • It is best to take a sabbatical before fully focusing on looking for a new role: Completely false. I always recommend getting to work right away. The search processes do not pause in the market. Taking a sabbatical can mean missing out on a great opportunity. Nowadays one can work from anywhere in the world. The same is true when looking for a new work challenge. Don’t let a single day go by.
  • Sending my CV to a Human Resources Consultant/Headhunter and requesting a meeting is acting proactively: Fake. We Headhunters receive many meeting requests daily to “explore the market and get to know each other.” It is impossible for us to hold so many meetings. What I always recommend doing is sending the CV to the Headhunters and making yourself available to go deeper if a need compatible with the role arises. It is a much more empathetic way to achieve closeness. If the consulting firm is serious, it will upload your CV to its database for future opportunities.
  • I have a powerful CV, it is the one I send to all the processes in which I apply. Completely false. With every opportunity you have to rethink your CV based on the industry, the position, if you know what the company is, investigate to understand what situation it is in and what its challenges will be in the future. With that information, make sure to put all your knowledge related to those needs in your CV.
  • If I start a labor lawsuit, it is difficult for me to get a new job: TRUE. Except in extreme cases, employers usually shy away from candidates who initiate labor lawsuits. There are so many previous instances that the trial is only for extreme cases. If you have an open lawsuit, the recommendation is to clarify the reasons with your new potential employer so that they do not find out through other people. I know of several cases of people poorly advised by Labor Lawyers who then had to dedicate themselves to working on their own since they could not reintegrate. Labor trials are only in the face of extreme necessity.

What I can do to improve my emotional well-being during the transition:

  • Putting together an agenda for this transition is essential. It must have space for your search process (no less than 3 hours a day). Keep a spreadsheet of activities, contacts, companies and progress.
  • Take the opportunity to do everything that you couldn’t do before because you didn’t have time. Medical checkups, dentist, visiting family, friends, lunches.
  • Very important: if you have children, take the opportunity to take them to school, pick them up, school events, do homework, participate in those things that you couldn’t do because your schedule limited you.
  • 000 steps a day or any sport that makes you feel good and does not mean an additional expense that harms your finances.
  • Read books you didn’t have time to read before.
  • Train yourself especially in current topics such as agility, digital transformation, neuroscience, artificial intelligence
  • To meditate
  • Think about yourself, your essence, your purpose in life, notice what things you were doing on autopilot and start living your life more consciously.
  • Think about whether it is time to start an independent activity. Given that sooner or later, we will not be old enough for the corporate world, but old enough to remain active, the conclusion is that we will all end up with an autonomous activity. Is this the time or will it be later?

Being unemployed is one of the most challenging times we can go through. How we face that challenge is purely up to us. If you see that you cannot, I only advise seeking help from your friends, family, former co-workers, your network in general.

If your former employer suggested you do an outplacement process, take advantage of each meeting to think about yourself, your development and the next steps.

I know it is a challenge, a stone in the way. But, it can also be an opportunity to develop skills that you didn’t know you had or find that job for which you wake up every morning wanting to go through a new day full of enthusiasm.

It may be in a dependency relationship or it may also be your moment to embark on that path that you always dreamed of, but saw as distant.

Managing Partner of Backer & Partners, specialized in executive search for Senior Management and Culture and Leadership Consulting

Source: Ambito

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