Many people eventually experience a disruption in the continuity of their work history. That is to say they find themselves out of work either by choice or through means out of their control. Depending on why one is out of work, it is reasonable to take a break for reasons of physical and/or mental health; the length of which can vary greatly. Yet wait too long before jumping back in and you could have added challenges.
The most obvious problem that comes to mind is the gap of time between your last job and the present day. If the days turn grow into month’s, you should expect a prospective employer is going to question what you’ve done with your time. The reason this is of interest to them is because typically they like to hire people who use their time profitably; who keep up good work habits – often labelled as having a good work ethic. You may not have paid employment it’s true, but how have you used your time to your advantage?
Now while it’s no one’s business but your own, another key reason to get back in the hunt for paid employment is to shore up the financial bleeding that unemployment accompanies. Sure you might have employment insurance of some kind where you live, but the weeks you are entitled to receive these benefits does go by quickly. True, you might also have severance pay from your last employer, but the sooner you get working, the more you can see these as additional funds and not your only funds.
You could also find – although you would never have thought so in the past – that you come to find certain aspects of being out of work attractive. So much so in fact, that giving what it takes to find work, often described as a full-time job itself, is more work than you’re ready to put in. This isn’t good! You could be falling into a bad situation where you’re rationalizing that your new-found free time is your right to enjoy; that you’ve had it all wrong up to now.
If you’re in a situation where you’ve got a second income in the family from a partner, could be that you’re immediate need to contribute financially to meet payments isn’t that urgent. While this is the case, your partner might now be caught in a very uncomfortable situation of wanting you working to contribute financially, but also not wanting to put too much pressure on you to get a job. Caught up in this predicament, they might be feeling increasing pressure at the same time you seem to be feeling very little pressure at all. This isn’t a good recipe for a happy partnership.
Of course as many people find, conditions in the job market change from time to time, as does how to even go about finding work. Many people who have to suddenly find work after decades of having held jobs find they don’t know how to go about it. The memories they have of handing out resumes in person and their personal experiences of having found getting a job easily are soon replaced with current realities; the job search experience has shifted and continues to evolve.
I need not tell many readers that the issue of age crops up often too. I’ve got people in their mid-forties telling me they are feeling their age is working against them. If 20 somethings are saying they aren’t being taken seriously because they lack experience, have we got to where only the 30 somethings are the ideal age to find work? Let’s hope not!
Despite all the above, there is another reason – the most troubling quite frankly and the hardest to overcome – that you should get back into the job search earlier and not later. You could develop a very unattractive attitude of bitterness, resentment or anger. Without even being aware of it, you might not be able to help it showing on your face, in your sighs of exasperation, your body language etc. Suddenly you’re at risk of becoming a prematurely old and bitter person who may have the skills to do the job and the experience, but the attitude you’ve come to own makes you a bad hiring choice.
It’s only natural to look at ourselves and see what we’ve got to offer an employer. We know more than anyone what skills and experience we have and how these could benefit others. Unfortunately, what we may fail to see when we look at things from this perspective is the people we are up against for employment and what they offer. Employer’s don’t have this dilemma. They have the benefit of having many applicants from which to choose for the jobs they interview for. They therefore look not just at the skills, education and experience applicants have, but at the intangibles too; the feelings they get from the conversations they have.
These feelings – call them gut reactions if you will – they pay attention to. They are trying to address the chemistry that will exist if you’re hired. Will you add to something positive or bring negativity and disrupt the current situation. A growing period of unemployment can make coming across as upbeat, positive, happy and enthusiastic harder to do, if not downright impossible.
Sure take a reasonable break after your employment ends to refocus on finding your next job; but do get going!