Updated 20 June 2013

Dealing with unemployment

With our economy being what it is, chances are high that every person will have at least one, if not more, stretches of unemployment. So, how will you cope?


With our economy being what it is, chances are high that every person will have at least one, if not more, stretches of unemployment.

Whether you are between jobs, or just recently matriculated, or been retrenched, the way you feel will probably be very similar. This is not easy to deal with – when you're unemployed, it's easy to feel sidelined, depressed, worried about money and unmotivated. And the sad thing is, that once, you're feeling this way it's difficult to motivate yourself to get back into the swing of things.

Job search. Don't stop looking, even if you're feeling unmotivated. Keep your eyes open for anything vaguely in your line, or depending on how desperate your financial situation is, anything at all. Small jobs well done have often led to greater things.

Keeping busy. Empty days that stretch endlessly ahead, can be terribly depressing. Do something regularly, such as exercising or seeing a friend, or gardening, or going to the movies. Don't watch TV all day, as it can get very lonely.

Be creative. Now you have the time to do things like drawing, woodwork, writing, sewing, furniture restoration, time-consuming home improvements – whatever takes your fancy. Use the time at your disposal to give vent to your creative talents – exactly the kind of thing you wouldn't be able to do if you were stuck in an office all day.

Depression. Watch out for depression – it can creep up on you. Many people, when they are out of work, feel redundant, unwanted and unmotivated. Keeping busy in a constructive manner. Not stopping the job search will both contribute to improving the way you feel.

Getting money. Check whether you are eligible for unemployment benefits. Draw these, as you have been paying in, possibly for years. If you weren't registered for these, you may have to look for alternative ways of earning money. (It is always a good idea to have some savings for these occasions, but this isn't always possible.) Put the word out that you are available for house sitting, babysitting, running errands, casual work etc. Don't spend money you don't have! If you sit at home in a crumpled, miserable heap, work is not going to come and knock on your front door.

Watch the papers. Read the employment sections of the papers every day. Check the internet for job ads as well, if you have internet access. If you don't, ask friends who do, to keep their eyes open. Also check community notice boards for any openings or opportunities.

See friends. Make fixed dates with people. Loneliness is a big problem if you have a lot of time on your hands. If you have fixed dates with friends, it structures your week to a certain extent. Now that you have time on your hands, you can also offer to do things for them.

Do things that don't cost money. There are lots of things you can do that don't cost money, such as joining the library, going for a walk in a scenic area, doing window shopping, visiting friends. All social encounters do not have to cost vast amounts of money.

Keep your CV updated. Have a copy of your updated CV ready in case anyone contacts you and wants it as soon as possible. Be battle-ready.

Up your skills. Learn to type, better your computer skills, do voluntary work for charities or simply offer your services free of charge to a company where you really would like to work. With more experience, chances are that you will find employment more easily.


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