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Everyday Is Saturday: Help for the Suddenly Unemployed

I recently was "unhired" by my former employer. Unhired is a softer term than "fired" but it means the same. With no warning and an immediate departure, I found myself at home enjoying the provisions of a severance package but curious about the next steps.

Like most recently unhired people, I went through a range of emotions--shock, anger, grief, rebellion, self-reliant indignation, and so forth. Yet, after a few weeks I found myself wondering what day it was. For me, everyday was Saturday.

That's not a bad thing. It's great to be able to cut the grass before it gets too hot or swim on sunny days. However, there was still a problem. Not only did I not have a job, but I wasn't making progress toward getting a job. Something had to change.

Now, I know that it is impossible to force an employer to give me a job; I can't even force them to look at my resume! All I can do is apply, check back, and wait. That routine leads to a sense of frustration!

I decided that the only person who could hire me was me! So, I applied for the job and got it... I'd be real worried if I didn't get that job! I hired me to do some things the other me wasn't doing. In effect, I fired the "waiting for my ship to come in" me and hired the "go kill something and drag it home" me.

That led me to a new routine... a routine I'd advise any job seeker to consider. Here's the plan:

1. Get up! I started by setting my clock to force myself to get up at the same time every morning. This put my mind in the "going to work" mode.

2. Get going! I'm one of those guys who needs a cup of coffee and a shower to get my brain functioning. In addition, I exercise every other morning. So, even though I have no specific appointments, I still go through the routine--coffee, exercise, shower--to get my mind moving toward doing something creative.

3. Get busy! Whether it is writing articles, updating my web site, or looking through the online job listings, I make it my point to get about accomplishing a task. The afternoon break is deserved only after I have accomplished something that day.

4. Get creative! Your next employment might not look like your last one--and that might be a good thing! Too many people limit their futures by the boundaries of their pasts. In my situation, I have discovered my future might be a myriad of adjunct teaching responsibilities, speaking engagements, freelance writing, and entrepreneurial activities. That's a lot different than my corner office overlooking downtown! The cool thing is that my new experience puts me in the driver's seat!

5. Get out! You, your spouse, your family, and your pets deserve to venture outside the privacy fence and into the world beyond. All work and no play makes everyone miserable. So make it a part of your routine to exercise some spontaneity. People who lock themselves into their rooms often suffer symptoms of depression and other problems.

6. Get determined! Waiting for someone else to rescue you from your perilous state is stressful. Take charge and use your creative energies to begin marketing your talents to the most likely customers. Who knows, you might discover that your new employer actually is staring you in the mirror!

Being laid-off, fired, unhired, released, or negatively employed is traumatic. The key to survival often is a person's motivation to turn a negative into a positive. Chances are your future will be brighter than you imagine!

Dr. Terry Hadaway is a well-known expert in adult education, a freelance writer, and a university professor. His articles, books, and conferences are insightful, yet humorous. For more information, visit http://www.thinkingboxmedia.com.

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