The Unemployment Manifesto

So you’ve been laid-off, along with approximately 10% of the country and growing. Assuming you’ve already applied for unemployment,
this is a list of what to do and not to do when unemployed.

This is what I learned over my 12 months of unemployment.

1) If you were just laid-off, take one day to relax and do something fun. Take your mind off of things. Running back out to find a job immediately may put your mind at ease temporarily, but taking one day may help you strategize your next direction. You have a chance to find a better opportunity. Clear your mind first.

2) Day Two: Write out a plan of what you want to do for a career path or job. Ask yourself, “What would be better than my last job?” I find a pros and cons list very helpful. This will weed out what you’re not looking for while creating a mental image of what you do want. Post it proudly in your home workspace.

If you’re debating changing career paths, I’d recommend the book “Is Your Genius at Work?” by Dick Richards. Yes, that’s his real name and he’s created a very useful tool. The exercises are plentiful and revealing if you’re ready to be honest with yourself. If you want the full course meal, take an Assessment test.

3) Continue with hobbies and stuff that makes you happy. Being laid-off or fired can lead to a loss of identity and in turn, your mental health can suffer. Keep the simple joys in your life intact. They’re more important than you realize. But be mindful not to fill up your day with simple pleasures and distractions. Which brings me to…

4) Make a to-do list every morning.

Have you ever had this internal dialouge: “What should I do now?… maybe I’ll go insert something unproductive instead” Keeping the habit of a to-do list is valuable for the simple reason that it eliminates excuses.

Keep your to-do list realistic. Put the most important things at the top of your list and do them first! Cross them off as you go. Have a beer when you’re done.

What does your list say is next?

5) Exercise & Nutrition. I could write blog-zillions on the benefits of exercise & proper nutrition. If you can’t afford the gym right now, there are no excuses. Running, push-ups, sit-ups and Plyometrics are free. Barbells are cheap and extremely effective. In-the-door frame pull-up bars were $50 last time I checked. If you pay for a gym, go more often- you have the time. If you’re still claiming to not have time, keep your workouts to 15-20 minutes each. There are no excuses to not being in shape and mentally fit when you’re unemployed.

Eat smaller meals with more protein: chicken, eggs, whey, tofu, milk, and yogurt to ward off the infamous “food-coma”. Keep all food potions to the size of your palm. Pack some food if you’re going out on multiple interviews.

6) Network in person.

I joined Toastmasters. It’s a great place to develop communication and network with many people who have the mindset of positive growth., is another great resource because it leads to physically talking to people. If you’re part of a religious tribe, start attending more events and tell people what type of work you’re looking for. Facebook & Twitter are ok but they’re not in person and infinitely less effective.

Always, always, always have business cards with you.

7) Go on interviews even if the job is not ideal for you. Remember, you can say no to an offer after an interview. Multiple interviews will make you an expert in interviewing so when the right opportunity comes along, you will nail the interview. Also, when you impress an employer, they may call you for other positions that suit you better. Network, network, network. And always, always, always have business cards with you.

8 ) If you’re considering starting your own business, do it. With great change comes great opportunity.

My path was to find a day job and supplement my business growth with a majority of my free-time and weekends. Start your business with a plan! Ask someone who’s done it before; I think they’re called mentors. Network, network, network. Always, always, always have business cards with you.

9) Help people Pro bono. Not the singer of U2. I mean offer your services for free. If you’re an independent professional looking to start your own business, the best way to get busy is to work for referrals at a discounted rate. If you’re providing real value for others, business will come back to you.

10) Keep growing. The world doesn’t stop because you’re unemployed. I believe the best way to add value to the world is to first add value to yourself and then give this value to others. Learn, start new projects, develop a specialized skill and work on it daily. If you spend the time learning and repeating a skill, it will stay with you forever. Put in the time while you have plenty of it.

... Thank you for visiting Matt Fonda Personal Development!

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