The cat's out of the bag since I posted in the forums last night; as of last Thursday, my status became "unemployed."
This week, I feel truly blessed as I observe the level of support that has appeared from my community. I also feel very grateful for the lessons that life has taught me over the past 5 years. I know that keeping a strong positive attitude amid uncertainty can be a challenge, but I've learned a trick or two that I thought I would quickly share here.
1. Get the dreaded stuff over with first.
Brian Tracy recommends this approach in his book, Eat That Frog. I know that I have a tendency to put off doing the things I need to do (like combing through endless job listings, updating my social profiles, and contacting people who might be able to hire me or connect me), but I know they've got to be done if I'm going to find paying work any time soon.
2. Take frequent SHORT breaks.
Sitting holed up in a room with a laptop is something that my back and my eyes can only take for so long at a stretch. I make a point of getting up and walking around at least once an hour. Every couple of hours, I'll do something else for 15 minutes or so. Today, for example, I vacuumed the stairs and reorganized some papers. Caveat: don't let a break become an all-afternoon sabbatical, and don't decide to call it a day at 2:00 P.M. Yes, tomorrow is another day, but you've got to get through today first.
3. Ask for help sooner rather than later.
I have reached out individually to a number of people in my network this week. The requests I made were not all the same; sometimes, I asked for feedback on ideas and approaches. Other times, I asked for connections. In the past, I often made the mistake of retreating into my shell during times like this, in the name of "buckling down," only reaching out for help as a last resort. That was a mistake, as there were a number of people who were willing and able to help. I made things a lot harder on myself by trying to figure it all out in a vacuum.
4. Step up your networking a bit (but not too much).
At some times in the past when I didn't have enough work coming in and money was tight, I reacted by pulling out of a number of community events. I thought I'd save gas this way. That was extremely short-sighted thinking. The most important thing to do is maintain your relationships. This week, I've added a couple of networking events to my calendar for the chance to reconnect with more folks and create visibility. I realize that the perfect opportunity may be waiting out there, and it's often just a matter of showing up. Caveat: don't go into a networking frenzy (e.g. attend 35 networking events per week). I just wrote up an article on Alice Osborn's blog that covers this subject. After a point, networking can become a form of escapism. Your network can only do so much for you; you've got to be willing to do your part also.
Keep a level head, keep taking one step at a time, and know that when the time is right, the next opportunity will present itself. You can't control when and where the opportunity will appear, but you can make sure that you're prepared when it does. If you go to bed each night knowing that you did everything in your power, you will sleep soundly and wake up with strong spirits the next morning.
If you are looking for employment or are in any kind of uncertain situation and could use help or support, shoot me an e-mail. I will do what I can to help.