What To Do If You’re In-Between Jobs

Find out the different ways you can make the most of all the free time on your hand when you find yourself in-between jobs.

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Many of our clients report feeling overwhelmed by all the free time on their hands when they find themselves laid off from their jobs. Understandably, it's very difficult for a person who was used to spending a minimum of 8-12 hours outside their homes in a highly structured and productive environment, to adjust to the relatively unstructured schedule of home life. 

Here are some of the things we recommend them to include in their daily schedule to milk the most out of the time they have in-between jobs: 

  • Write in a journal

If you don't already have a habit of writing in a journal daily, it's a good time to start. One of the practices I follow is to write three things I'm grateful for after I wake up. It helps me set a positive and optimistic tone to my day ahead. 

When you're in-between jobs, writing in a journal will help you to maintain a positive outlook towards your life. Often, many clients share that the practice of writing 3 things daily in their gratitude journal made them discover the silver lining (e.g. spending more time with their elderly parents, experiencing the joys of being at home when kids come back from school, having lunch / dinner with the whole family, etc.) in their seemingly hopeless situation. 

  • Consider a fresh start

Often, our careers take control of our lives instead of the other way around. I know my fair share of clients who took up the first job they were offered and let that determine the rest of their careers up until when they found themselves jobless. Now that they have all this free time to think, they start wondering if they made a wrong career choice and if they should pursue their other interests.

This is something they bring up in their coaching calls and ask for our inputs on. The gist of what we say to them is usually this - do your research, speak to industry insiders, and get the support of your loved ones. 

  • Plan Your Day

One of the reasons people are more productive at work is because they have to stick to a schedule - there's a time by which they're expected to show up at work, a general time for taking food / coffee breaks, etc. However, at home, there is a freedom to do as one pleases. This can cause one to derail from his / her 'things to do' and wile away the free time. 

Make a list of 'things to do'. These can be long overdue things that you didn't have time for because of your work hours or even the things you have to do to get your job search on track (e.g. finding leads for informational interviews). Make a schedule and fit these items onto your schedule into various time blocks. This will allow you to strike a healthy balance between productive activities and some much-needed rest. 

  • Quality, Not Quantity

Don't fall into the numbers trap. You're chances are much better when you send an optimized resume to 1 or 2 organizations rather than a sub-optimal resume to hundreds of organizations. Neither should you make the mistake of applying to organizations or roles that aren't aligned with your values, interests, etc. 

A good place to start is by drafting a list of the top 10 companies that you would like to work for. Reach out to people in your network whom are associated with these organizations. Start from there and work your way down. 

  • Network

Don't feel embarrassed about your current job situation. The more people in your network you reach out to, the more likely your chances of getting a lead for a job opportunity. Start with the people who are associated with your top 10 organizations and slowly expand your search from there. 

If you don't have an engaged network that you can tap into, you can use social media, job boards and industry events to start and build your network. Spend a few hours daily to grow and expand your network. 

  • Do the Things you Love but never had Time for

Juggling being a full-time employee with other familial commitments, might have resulted in you not having time for the things you love. Use this free time to schedule some time to rediscovering your passion for your non-work hobbies and interests. 

This will allow you to remain occupied and mentally agile when you are not working. Who knows? You might even discover that these interests could provide a new career direction or entrepreneurial opportunity. 

  • Up-Skill Yourself

Some people have lost jobs because their skills were irrelevant and not up-to-date with the need of the hour. Others because of organizational restructuring, staffing budgets, economic conditions, automation, etc. Whatever the reason is, it won't hurt your cause if you invest some time in picking up new skills that can help you perform your job better. Use the free time to do courses and certifications - both online and offline. While online courses have the benefit of setting your own pace, offline courses allow you to meet people with similar career interests and background as yours which is great for your network. 

There is no proven method to effectively deal with the stress, guilt, anger, anxiety and fears that accompany the loss of a job. However, introspection, a positive attitude, and constructive activities, are just some of the ways that help to handle oneself better and emerge stronger from these difficult times. 

Questions for Reflection

What are the different things you recommend others to do when in-between jobs?

How long would you wait before engaging professional help (e.g. a coach, or a executive job placement service provider) for your job search?

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Chaitra K
 

With a background in Literature and Psychology, and an MBA in Human Resources Management, Chaitra is responsible for the design and production of NKoach’s courses, workshops and corporate training programs. Her mission is to help people discover their passion and become better versions of themselves.

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