Why Aren’t You Working?


There are many reasons why people aren’t working; what’s yours? Some possibilities are:

  • Not looking for work
  • Physical or mental health restrictions
  • Poor interview skills
  • Weak resume
  • Unsure what to do
  • Attending school full-time
  • Raising pre-school age children and unable/unwilling to find childcare
  • Required as a primary caregiver for a family member
  • Not motivated

This isn’t an exhaustive list of course, just enough to stimulate some thought, give enough possibilities that some of my audience is captured and yes, perhaps enlighten those that think there’s only one reason anyone would be out of work – laziness.

The first and last reasons on my list – not looking and not motivated one could easily argue are so related they are really the same; ie. not motivated to look for work. For some people, this is absolutely true. Would you agree there are those who aren’t motivated enough to seek out a job? I mean, I know people who fit this category and I suspect you do as well. They have shelter and food provided by someone or some organization, their needs are modest, their motivation to work to earn enough money to support themselves just isn’t enough to get them going.

Perhaps it’s a phrase in that last sentence that is the real issue for many; the idea that money to support themselves is the motivation to work. Money does of course, provide the means to acquire housing and food, as well as the discretionary things in life which for many improves their quality of life. However, working to support oneself when you’re already being supported isn’t much motivation. In other words, if you’re not working but getting housed and fed, you might not be motivated to work 7 hours a day just to get housed and fed – something you already have.

Work therefore, or more importantly, the motivation to choose to work, has to come when there’s more to be gained than just money for basic support. For some it can be an issue of dignity vs. shame or embarrassment. Support yourself with your own source of income and you feel independence, a sense of being in control of what you do, where you live, what you do with your money, who knows your personal business and who doesn’t.

For some people, work provides social interaction. Be it with co-workers or customers, there’s some connection to other people, which stimulates our feelings of inclusiveness; we are part of something and not isolated. Feeling isolated, left behind, left out, missing out – these are common to people who don’t work in some cases. Of course, other unemployed people will tell you they get all the interaction with people they want; many of those they ‘hang with” themselves being unemployed.

Feeling a sense of purpose is one thing employed people often tout as the best part of their jobs. What they do is significant and important to some part of our population, and this feeling of purpose gives identity to the working person. The problem for some who struggle to find a job is in fact deciding on what job to do; in other words, they are focused so much on finding their purpose, they get paralyzed waiting for it to materialize.

The irony is that when you’re unsure what to do with your life, often the best way to discover it is to start working! It is through work that you learn where your skills are, which skills you wish to develop and improve on, what you like and don’t. You learn through success and failure what you’re good at, where you make a difference, where you’re appreciated for your service and what you do and don’t want to do in future jobs. The idea that at 20 years old you should have the next 43 years all laid out clearly before you is a myth. You’ll change jobs and careers in your lifetime – perhaps 7 or 8 times or more and this is normal.

For some – and you may not like this truth – it is a question of not trying hard enough. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not painting everyone with the same brush, and I’m not saying some people who are out of work don’t put in huge amounts of energy and time. However, if you’ve gone at your job search seriously with no success for a long time, its high time you partnered up with someone and get the guidance and support you obviously need to increase the odds of success. This is precisely the action many don’t want to take and that’s a puzzlement.

The crux of the thing is it’s essential that you’re honest with yourself when it comes to why you’re not working. What you tell others who ask may not be the real reason; what you know to be at the heart of why you aren’t working is the truth. So what is it?

Good questions might be:

  • Why aren’t I working?
  • Am I genuinely happy not working?
  • What’s stopping me? (Is it really me?)
  • Where could I get help and support to find work?
  • What would make me more employable?
  • Who might help me discover my strengths and interests?
  • How do I get help with childcare, transportation, the issue of my age?
  • Would volunteering somewhere be the best way to start?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue; whether it’s you or someone you know out of work.

Advertisements

“Apply For A Job I Don’t Truly Want?”


There are the jobs we’d love to do; the one’s that get us really excited at the prospect of being offered the opportunity as the preferred candidate. Then there are the jobs which we are qualified to do, but don’t really turn us on to the same degree; they might be a little to far away for our liking, not quite pay what we want, or perhaps aren’t in the size of the organization we’d like. So should we apply for both kinds of job with the same commitment?

From an employer’s point of view, the answer is probably a big, “No!” After all, it hardly seems fair to them if some of the job applicants applying for the job opening aren’t truly invested in the application. If they ended up being offered the job only to then turn it down, that would be a lot of time, energy and yes money invested in the hiring process only to have to go back to other applicants.

From your point of view as a job seeker, the answer is less obvious. On the one hand, we all only have so much time and energy. Your time is no less valuable than an employer’s, and so you could argue that your focus should be clearly and only on jobs you really want; jobs you’d happily take if offered.

However, there are compelling reasons to apply for jobs that you’re not on fire for. Suppose for example you’ve got a criminal record. It’s from 8 or 9 years ago – maybe even further back in your past – but it’s still sitting there should a criminal reference check be done. In such a situation, you probably dread the inevitable question in an interview that could scuttle your chances at getting hired. In fact, you’ve probably already lost out on jobs for this very reason, so you’ve got good cause to feel anxious; for no matter how qualified or well you present yourself, that conviction always seems to get you in the end.

To help yourself, you’ve sought out help from someone at a local employment centre and you’ve had a mock interview or two to practice your answer. Your dilemma is wondering if the first time you try out your new response to the question should be at your dream job. After all, if practice makes perfect, a mock interview palls in comparison to a real interview with a real employer where a real job is on the line.

In such a situation, yes, you might be wise to consider applying for a job which you’re qualified to do, but doesn’t hit all the required boxes to qualify as your dream job. If as you’d hoped, the response you give is well received and results in a favourable outcome, this will bolster your confidence in future interviews, because you have proof that you can get past this previously impossible barrier. The same would apply if you’ve been terminated, you have no employment history whatsoever, you’ve got a large gap in your résumé, you’re feeling old etc. There are all kinds of situations where you might feel vulnerable, easily exposed and as a result, don’t present well in an interview. For these situations and more, going through a live interview to practice and testing out new approaches could be excellent advice.

The interesting part is that sometimes you might get offered a job and as much as you don’t believe it’s possible now, you do actually accept the job. After all, hey, it’s a job! Taking this position will be something current on your résumé, you’ll get new references should you do well, your past criminal record might diminish in importance if you prove you can work as expected. Put in enough time to repay the employer for their confidence in hiring you and you then apply for your dream jobs, knowing you’ve got some income at present and your sights can rise on a better fit.

Of course you could turn down the job if offered to you just as well. Hey, it happens. I don’t suggest you apply and interview for 76 jobs you have zero interest in which is an extreme waste of your time; you only need perhaps one interview with an employer to try an answer to get past your dreaded question. There’s no substitute for the real thing.

Experience in all its many forms is a good thing. Be they good or bad, every experience is a learning opportunity. Some people will tell you that jobs they took out of necessity and came to dislike or even dread were in some ways good for them. They may have learned to avoid certain kinds of work or work environments, to steer clear of certain kinds of supervisors, or to restrict their job search to a certain distance. The experience of going to interviews is no different as you learn what answers work for you and which don’t.

Now lest you be alarmed I’m recommending job seekers everywhere to flood employers with applications for jobs they have no interest in at all, I’m not saying this. What I am saying is that in certain situations, and on an individual basis, there are  times when it’s sound advice to hone your interview skills in a real interview; not for your dream job where you’ll feel the extra pressure, but first perhaps in a job with less on the line, so you can prepare yourself for that job of jobs!

Retooling And Realigning For Success


Change; it seems to be the word of the year where I work. In 2017 we were told as employees by management that change was coming. Not just change for the sake of change as so often happens in some workplaces, but real change to meet the needs of those we serve at present and those we will position ourselves to serve moving forward.

Now as you know, not everybody deals with change in the same way. This should come as no surprise for we all experience and react to any number of things in our own way. In fact, there is no, ‘right way’ to react to change. Yes, it’s true all employees have to eventually get on board with new procedures, processes and/or policies, but how a person experiences the adjustment between what they’ve done and what they’ll do moving forward is uniquely lived by that single person. Some get on board and find change easy while others take more time. Be too resistant to change or pull with all your might in an openly opposite direction and you could find yourself on the outside looking in.

In my work setting, we’ve recently had a change in Manager, we’ve two new Supervisors, we’ve had some people with two decades and more experience retire, and we’ve added new employees to fill the voids. We’ve also had our teams realigned, meaning some staff moved from one team to another; from one job to another. Our Administrative team is also going about doing their jobs differently too; sharing workloads more. There are staff changing physical offices, others stay where they are but their desks have been reconfigured for reasons of safety and service.  Oh but it doesn’t stop there. Our Resource Centre is getting a new flooring surface this year, and there’ll be a new staff desk better situated for service and safety as well. That’s a lot of change!

Now most important of all is a change in how we interact with those we serve. We are moving to a more holistic model of service; one where the recipients of service will be better served. Many years ago there was a time when the mantra of the day was to get people off social assistance as quick as possible. Whatever the shortest route to a job happened to be, that was the plan. It sounded good to the general tax base and politicians touted this as their way of reducing money paid out to those in receipt; saving tax payers dollars in the process.

It didn’t work; well, not well. Sure people got jobs and got off assistance in some cases. The problem? Without addressing other key issues and only focusing on their unemployment, people lost those jobs quickly and returned to receive social assistance, sometimes regressing significantly, making it far more difficult for them to get past the feelings of not being ready to work.

A return to looking at a person from a holistic point of view requires us to look at more than just their unemployed status. When you bring in daily living skills, problem-solving, job maintenance, mental health services, relationship-strengthening, networking, social and interpersonal skills and – well a longer list than I’ve got space for here – a person becomes better empowered and equipped to deal with many more of the issues which they will need to deal with moving forward.

And moving forward is what it’s all about. The real question becomes, “What is moving forward” with respect to this single person you’re working with? From their point of view, what’s going on and what goals if any, do they have for what they consider to be a better life? Sure for a lot of people the end goal is to get a job and become financially independent. Yeah, we’re all for that. However, for many people, there are a lot of things that need to be addressed before a job is actively sought out.

By way of example, two large barriers many people are presenting with these days are increasing mental health issues and one’s decision-making skills. Not surprisingly, the two are connected. The state of mental health a person experiences often determines their ability to make good decisions. Poor decisions that don’t result in the positive outcomes a person had hoped for reinforce feelings of failure, weakness and lead to hopelessness and further dependence. Good decisions on the other hand reinforce forward movement in a desired direction, spurring self-confidence and self-worth.

There’s infused energy in our workplace. People are setting up their offices, getting used to where others are now sitting, learning the way things are actually done in the new jobs they have. We’ve only just begun to glimpse what our collective futures will look like when it comes to who we serve and how. We will work more in partnerships with others; including our fellow employees and those outside our organization. Communication lines will be expanded and service more coordinated.

This is good news for those people we serve. Sure we were doing a good job before, and while many of us are on the move, I like to think we’re being better positioned as people to use the strengths we have, making us a collective body better positioned to serve our community at large.

Change; it’s a good thing and there’s more of it yet to come.

 

Rejected? Passed Over? Wondering Why?


One of the most frustrating things about looking for work is being turned down for a job where you believe you really wanted. Let’s face it, most of us apply for a mixture of jobs we really want and some we’ll take if offered, but don’t really excite us. So when we think we’re perfect for some job and we don’t get it, it may be a serious let down. Why didn’t we get chosen?

To answer this question, imagine yourself out shopping for furniture; you’re on the hunt for a chair to complete the look in your living room. If you’re like most people, it’s probable you’ll look at several options before deciding on one. Some you’ll reject at first glance.  You may have an idea what you’re looking for – you want a contemporary look, it has to recline and you want something with a dash of colour but it has to be tasteful too.

In the furniture store, Sales staff will likely ask you what you’re looking for, getting some information so they can steer you to chairs most likely to meet your needs. As you narrow things down, they might even tell you that a certain chair you’ve expressed interest in can be upholstered to your liking, and they’ll show you swatches of fabric from which to choose. It can all be so overwhelming with so many choices. You might even visit multiple stores, repeating the process until you land on that one best fit. No doubt you’ve considered style, function, cost, availability, durability, visual appeal, pattern and comfort. You’ve also thought about how it will fit with the existing furniture you own.

Having completed your transaction, you soon have your chair at home. Now you see for the first time how it really fits, whether it goes as well as you pictured it in the store. You hang on to the receipt because if need be, you’ve got 30 days to return it for a refund should something cause you to return it.

Ah, the job search? Remember that? What’s this chair shopping have to do with being rejected or passed over for the job you really wanted? Okay, let’s get to that.

In the analogy of buying a chair, you’re the employer and the Sales staff are like Recruiters. All those various chairs you looked at are the job applicants. Some chairs were so wrong you knew at first glance. You ruled out over-sized leather ones, hard-backed rockers, swivels,  non-recliners, etc. These are like the resumes received from people who don’t even come close to having the qualifications the employer is looking for.

The Sales staff are indeed like Recruiters, Temporary Agencies etc. as they ask questions to find what you’re looking for. They want to be the one to deliver the right chair just as the Recruiter or Temporary Agency wants to the be the source you choose for hiring that perfect employee.

You as the employer doing the hiring? You’re picky aren’t you? Oh yes! You could have chosen any number of chairs that met your basic need of functioning as a chair, but you wanted more. You needed something to add to the room, to match the colour-scheme you were going for, or to be that one piece that popped. So too will employers take their time to make sure that the chemistry of the teams they have at the time of hiring won’t be disturbed, or perhaps yes, they do want someone to come in and shake things up a bit.

When you’re rejected or passed over, it’s vitally important that you pause and think about WHY. Too many people don’t do this; they move on to other jobs they are applying to and miss learning from the experience. Now it could be that you can’t learn of the team chemistry where you’d like to work, but you can try. Researching, reaching out to company contacts – even asking flat-out in a job interview. You want to find out as best you can if the fit will be a good one for both them and you. I bet you’ve taken jobs where you or someone else clearly didn’t fit in. Did it go well? Did it last? Could be an employer does both themselves AND YOU a favour by not hiring you!

Now while a chair can be upholstered with different colours to fit varying tastes, people don’t always have the same ability to adapt. While in the short-term you might pull off being something you aren’t at heart, eventually your true nature shines through, and so you might not make it past some probation period; like the chair that gets returned after 20 days because it just didn’t fit after the home test.

So this is why you didn’t get that job where you were sure you met all their qualifications. Perhaps on paper you were a possible, but other candidates ended up being a better fit. They did a better job matching up with the employer’s needs either on their resumes or in the interview process. It doesn’t mean you’re not the right chair for someone else – right candidate for someone else (sorry). Could you do the job? Perhaps. Were you the best fit? This time around, no. Don’t take it personally if you’re not selected. That’s like a chair doubting it’s ability to work as a chair.

 

Collaborating For Success


Being the Lone Wolf is quite the romantic notion; standing aloof from the pack, going it on your own, forging your own path. Why you can almost hear the whispers from one pack member to pup as they look up at you standing there on the rugged horizon, only to turn for one last furtive glance and then slip off into the wilderness.

It does have its appeal doesn’t it? There are all kinds of famous quotes as well, encouraging you to make your own way, take the road less traveled, etc. While this can have huge rewards, there’s a lot of tough going choosing to do everything for yourself and not taking advantage of what others who have gone ahead of you have learned.

To be sure, there are many times in life when learning to do things for yourself in isolation from others is a good thing. The gains you can make from trial and error, even outright failure can be valuable lessons for life-long success to come. Equally true however, is that learning from others and taking advantage of their knowledge and expertise can save you a lot of time, effort, frustration and ultimately help you get what you want or where you want to be quicker.

The wisest of us I suppose can differentiate the times and issues in our lives where going it alone or seeking support and advice from others would be in our best interests. I don’t imagine there’s a single person who does absolutely everything entirely for themselves anymore in modern society. I mean you might do your own shopping, but you just buy the groceries; you don’t grow the vegetables and fruit or can the produce contained within. You might learn how to change your own tires and fix your own brakes, but you might turn to someone else to build your home, make your furniture or fly you to your vacation destination. We all rely on others in many respects.

When it comes to figuring out what to do employment/career-wise, I’d certainly agree that this is largely a personal thing. Sure others can give you insights into the jobs they’ve held in the past or present; the benefits and challenges of each. In the end however, each of us often decides for ourselves what we do; choosing to do things which make use of our skills and abilities while bringing us some level of satisfaction or happiness. When we don’t enjoy things anymore, we often move on and find something else that suits us better for a time.

As children, we often do what we’re told when we’re very young and the elders we listen to keep us safe, ease our way with their advice and guidance. We sometimes ignore that advice thinking we know better, and pay for it too with skinned knees, wet feet, hurt feelings etc. Still, as we grow we test our limits, we challenge what we’re told we shouldn’t do, we keep pushing boundaries to learn what we’re capable of doing on our own. If we do a really good job as parents, we give our children the skills and confidence to embark on their life journey with confidence; letting them lead their own lives and the cycle continues.

So where does the collaborating for success come into play?

As I said earlier, there are times when it’s wise to seek the advice and support of others; it’s in our own best interests. When we reach out to others with the intent of benefitting from their skills and experience, we either choose to have things done for us, or we can choose to be taught so we can do these things on our own down the road. Getting our brakes fixed is something some of us will pay someone else to do every few years, or we might learn to do these ourselves. It depends on what we perceive as the benefit in acquiring that knowledge.

This is no different from considering working with someone to help us decide on a career path, create a résumé and/or apply for work. We can make our own resume as best we can, and we might just be successful. If not, we might enlist the help of someone with that skill and ability, choosing to either have them do it for us, or collaborate with us in its creation, and in the process, learn so that we can in the future do this for ourselves.

Really this choice is ours to make alone. A lot of the time, we might try first on our own to get hired. If we are successful, we feel good about our ability to have done so, and we add another skill to our inventory. If however success doesn’t materialize and we grow frustrated, we have the option of seeking out others to aid us with their ability; just like the Brake Specialist.

The only situation that would seem to not make a lot of sense is when we try unsuccessfully and continue indefinitely; knowing help is available to get what we want. It’s like trying to create a lightbulb from scratch when we could buy one easily. Why would you do that?

Frustrated with your job search? Tired of being the lone wolf? Collaboration might be exactly what you need to get unstuck and move forward towards your goals.

Refinancing Student Debt: Good Idea?


To increase your competitiveness in today’s job market; and the job market of the future, you might be considering some time at University or College. This upgrading of your education is for most people viewed as an excellent use of time. The stumbling block for many is the financial cost of doing so; the real or imagined debt load upon graduation, with no certainty of employment and the possibility of some crippling debt for years to come.

Well, first, allow me to suggest you look at the cost of your education from a different perspective. Rather than debt, view this as an investment in yourself; a life-long investment which will pay returns for you many times over down the road. It’s true you know. Yes, you’ll find your education a benefit when applying for jobs where your degree or diploma are the difference between being qualified or not. Then too, you’ll find that promotions and advancing become possible more often when you’ve got some higher learning to qualify you in the view of the employers you seek to advance with. Let me also say the very real and best advantage of a higher education in my mind is the change in the way you think and go about interacting with people post graduation.

Now you might say reframing debt as an investment in yourself is all well and good, but debt is debt in the end.  Okay, it’s true that debt of any kind for many is a source of stress; and the degree to stress you feel often comes down to the size of the debt itself and your personal experience carrying loans. I know when my wife and I bought our very first house, that $75,000 purchase price was scary for both of us. Fast forward to the present and we don’t feel the same level of anxiety as we consider homes in the $600,000 range! We’ve had more experience carrying and repaying loans, and we’re obviously in a different point in life to do so too.

Instead of fearing the imagined, the first good thing to do is do some research and find out exactly how much the education you’re considering will really cost. Factors such as the length of the program, where you live, your personal living situation, current sources of income, and more will affect how much you pay. Financial Officers and Guidance Departments are good people and good places to start. Online estimating calculators can also give you some idea of what it might cost you after you enter in the required information. Don’t rely on someone else’s experiences – good or bad. Get the goods from the source.

Now suppose you’ve already done all this, and you’ve already gone to school, received the education and are feeling saddled with the debt. You want to get out from under this mountain, (be it big or small) and cut your stress and anxiety; axe the phone calls to repay your loans etc. Good! Wouldn’t it be nice to stop those calls and when the phone rings think it might be a potential employer instead of someone looking to collect?

Refinancing your loans might be an option if you want to reduce the monthly amount you owe, or you’ve got the desire to reduce the overall cost of the borrowing. Here’s an infographic which you might find helpful:

https://www.credible.com/blog/should-i-refinance-student-loans/

This came to my attention from Patrick who works at Credible.com Let me assure you I don’t endorse from personal experience, nor am I receiving any payment from this group in sharing the infographic. This organization comes out of San Francisco in the United States, and you can certainly look them up, investigate for yourself if their services are for you, and you can go on to look for other local options wherever you live on the planet.

Refinancing education loans does make sense in many situations. You can pay loans off faster in some cases or pay them out over a longer period but at a much more manageable rate each month if that’s your choice. Yes you would in that case pay more overall, but you’d be able to sleep better every night – and with no harassing repayment calls whatsoever.

Here in Ontario, our provincial government has made tuition costs significantly reduced starting in 2018. You could go for 2 years and have $4,000 to repay upon graduation, as is a specific case I recently heard of. With bursaries and grants, you might eliminate that cost in part or completely too; many students also request some forgiveness of their debts upon graduation which is also a big help. It really does depend on your personal circumstances.

At the risk of sounding cavalier about debt, because it is yours not mine of which we speak and I understand and appreciate that, my general advice would be to not let debt upon graduation stop you from getting a higher education. Learning sticks with you your whole life, much more than the debt of financing a car, a house or a trip somewhere exotic.

There is nothing in this world you can invest in that will provide a better return on your money than yourself.

What’s been your own experience with refinancing student loans? Patrick mentioned in an email that if only 1 person benefitted from this infographic it would be worth it. I tend to agree. I wonder if you might be that person?

How Long To Wait To Job Search?


Okay, so you’ve found yourself out of work. After your previous job, you figure a break is in order; you know, that transition from what you were doing to what you’ll do in the next job. So how much time exactly is right before getting on with looking for a job?

Attitude is everything here; yes attitude will decide what you do and how long you give yourself to get into the job hunting mode. You may be the kind of person who figures that the best thing to do is get right back in the hunt immediately. You know yourself better than anyone, and you can’t afford to lie about and rest because the stress of being out of work will gnaw at you constantly, making your ‘break’ time an ongoing worry. You won’t treat yourself to rest and relaxation, won’t spend money on entertainment, a trip or personal indulgences because you’re concerned about exhausting your resources. It would be different of course if you knew definitively that your unemployment will last a specific time period, but you don’t have this information.

Then too, you could be the type that figures life is short and therefore taking a break from work is what life is really all about. So you’ll indulge guilt-free; after all, Life owes you. Jobs will be there for the taking when you decide to get one, but in the meantime, it’s ‘me’ time; guilt-free and bring it on baby!

Or, has your experience been that the job you’ve most recently had ended so terribly that you need some down time to recover your dignity, self-worth; self-esteem? Maybe it ended with your termination, a shouting match, allegations made against you, you had a bad boss or a toxic work environment. Your break is really a mental health recovery period.

You see there are all kinds of different ways we justify the short, moderate or long periods of time that elapse between our former jobs and looking for the next one.

There are some things you need to be aware of however. Whether these things change your decision to get back immediately or further put off looking for work is entirely up to you – of course – but make sure you are at least aware of these factors:

  1. Your competition increases. New graduates emerge from Universities and Colleges with up-to-date practices and education, and they’re hungry. Your experience is your edge, so conventional wisdom says the longer you let your experience lag, the less your experience works in your favour.
  2. Employers prefer consistent work history. Gaps on a résumé raise questions for employers. If you’ve got gaps, expect to be asked why they exist and what you’ve done with your time. If you’ve improved yourself via courses and upgrading education that’s one thing; but if you’ve played video games and sat around staring at your belly button, that’s another.
  3. Mental Health healing. If you did have a really bad break from your last job, maybe – just maybe – getting a job outside your career would be best for your mental recovery. Seriously, work will keep you connected to people, your poor experiences of the past will be replaced by your present activity; you’ll fill in a gap on the résumé and you’ll get new references. When you do apply for work back in your field, “Why are you leaving your present job” will refer to the job you have in the short-term, not the job prior to that you’re fretting over now.
  4. Time erodes things. Your references, experience and accomplishments fade with time. That shiny letter of reference that’s two weeks old means a lot now but it won’t mean as much 7 months from now if you wait that long to get back in the job search mode. “What have you done lately?”
  5. Less baggage; fewer problems. While being out of work is a problem, you haven’t yet the stress and anxiety of having a prolonged job search, rejection from employers, depression etc. These negatives can and often do take seed in the lives of people who find it harder to get work than they previously imagined. Sometimes getting back at it can ward off social isolation, increasing fears associated with financial problems that come with no incoming resources.

Now, lest you think I’m really recommending you jump right back into the job search as a blanket statement for everyone, let me assure you I’m not. No, a period of time to process what’s happened to you is a good thing. You may need time to decompress if the job you left was one fraught with pressure and negativity.  How much time is the issue. What’s right for you might be different from what I’d do myself.

Even if you don’t actually apply, keeping up on the market and job openings is healthy and a good idea. You’d hate to learn that seldom-advertised opening came and went while you were almost ready but just taking a few more days to clean the garage.

Finally, it’s a good idea to stay connected to others. Call it networking okay, but really it’s about the interpersonal skills, the connectivity to others. Lately I’ve heard of many self-described ‘normal’ people who develop social anxieties, leading to serious isolation issues and a fear of even going out their door.

Take time…but not forever.