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Unemployment Survival: Creating a Sense of Security

In a time of economic downturn, international turmoil, company restructuring and corporate mergers run amok, thousands of people are either out of work or fearful of losing their jobs.

Is there, then, such a thing as job security?

No job, in itself, is totally secure. Governments cut back, unions have periods when they have no work available for their members, directors and CEOs are forced out, self-employment ventures fail. Even the most coveted and powerful position in the world, the Presidency of the United States, only lasts 4 or 8 years.

Your only job security lies in self-security. Knowledge and appreciation of your value as a worker: your skills, your competence, your personal qualities, can build the sense of security you crave. A true understanding of the process of finding work, the resources available, and the personal networking which captures the hidden job market, leads to a sense of self-empowerment. The job you are performing may not last until retirement but the prospect of losing it can be transformed from a negative, anxiety-laden situation into a self-affirming, positive opportunity for growth, movement, and the chance to turn your life in new directions.

Here are 10 Tips to help you build a sense of security:

1. Write down all of your skills, experience, knowledge, and personal qualities.

2. Re-read your list daily and before each and every interview until the information is ingrained and at your fingertips.

3. Expand your network by contacting everyone you know, not to ask for a job but to identify other people to contact who might know of a position.

4. Maintain your sense of self. Follow the familiar routines you devised while working so you continue to feel like you.

5. Identify multiple resources: newspaper ads, job lines, internet sites, agencies, networking. Knowing that multiple options are available can counteract negativity about the future and feelings of panic.

6. Treasure your support systems. The frustration you feel is often misdirected towards those closest to you. Appreciate your family and friends and banish the self-pity that often comes with stress.

7. Treasure yourself. Don't berate yourself for the mistakes you make. Concentrate on remembering things you have done well, that show your individual value.

8. Pace yourself. Allow for periods of not thinking about work. Do something active that you enjoy even if only for an hour or two at a time.

9. Maintain your objectivity. Not being offered a job does not reflect on your personal competence. It simply indicates a mismatch as if you had tried unsuccessfully to sell a shack to a couple secretly seeking a mansion.

10. Manage your job search as if it were a sales campaign. Even the world's best sales person will not make every sale but knows that each new contact increases the chance of success.

Practice these tips to build a sense of security, even if initially fragile, and your mental outlook will bloom, allowing you to remain calm in the face of the panic of those around you who walk in constant fear of layoff.

Virginia Bola operated a rehabilitation company for 20 years, developing innovative job search techniques for disabled workers, while serving as a respected Vocational Expert in Administrative, Civil and Workers' Compensation Courts. Author of an interactive and emotionally supportive workbook, The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a monthly ezine, The Worker's Edge, she can be reached at

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