It’s 10 a.m. and you’re still in bed because you don’t have a job. To some of us that would be paradise, and to others it’s torture because you’re used to a set work schedule (and the bills are still coming in).
There was a period of time when I didn’t work and had a hard time figuring out what to do in the meantime besides apply to jobs and stalk Indeed, LinkedIn, and my email. Now that I am working again, I realized I wasted a lot of valuable time! There are plenty of small projects I should’ve done instead of clicking past the “are you still watching?” screen on Netflix.
Here’s my list of (productive) things to do when you find yourself in-between jobs:
1. Start a business or blog relating to the industry you would like to be in.
Blogs are a popular way to get your work published and noticed! There are blogs and websites related to every industry and those who write and maintain one are sometimes considered more knowledgeable on the subject!*
Someone out there is looking to read about engineering and someone else is more interested in the long-term benefits of yoga. Whatever your industry or niche, become a part of it while you have the time to contribute!
*Establishing “expert status” on a topic or in an industry requires maintaining a consistent blog and online presence for at least 18-24 months.
2. Write an e-book or other materials for your online business.
It’s easier than ever to self publish and to find resources on the efficient way to write an e-book! If you write an e-book or online course in your industry, it shows that you have expertise to pass on. E-books are a great way to draw in an audience who will potentially become customers and supporters waiting on your next big project (or services to buy).
3. Make professional connections online through social media.
Twitter has been an amazing outlet to connect professionally, and now there are more companies and brands participating in Twitter Chats and joining in trending topics! Follow professionals (and hashtags) in the field you want to be in and follow who they follow to get inspiration, tips and possibly even a job offer!
I once tweeted an online magazine that I enjoyed reading and ended up emailing the editor to begin writing for them. It all started with a tweet that showed my interest. Use social media as a way to get an inside look at the industry and the conversations you can engage in to get noticed.
4. Wake up early!
Whether you have a nine-to five or not, it’s important not to waste the day away. If you’re out of work for six months and wake up at noon everyday, think about how many hours and days you missed out on because you decided to lay in bed!
Waking up early gets your productivity churning and important tasks out of the way earlier so you won’t feel so guilty spending a few hours in front of the T.V. Another pro to waking up early is that when you do begin working again, waking up before dawn won’t be as dreadful.
5. Connect with other people in the same situation.
Your mom who has worked at the same job for 15 years probably won’t understand the unemployment life like your friend who hasn’t worked in a month. It’s hard for people to identify and give solid advice for situations they’ve never been in.
Link up with people who you can depend on for job advice and also vent to when you get another rejection letter who’s answer won’t be, “But you went to such a great school” or “That’s why you should’ve gone to medical school.” No one wants to hear those annoying conversations when things get tough!
6. Become more organized.
It’s easy for one thing in your life to become unsteady and then the rest of your life turns into a mixed up jigsaw puzzle. When you do start working, you’ll be more productive and organized on the job and at home!
A good way to start is by organizing your email into folders of who you need to stay in close communication with so you don’t email them the same thing a week later. Get a planner (or a app) and start mapping out your days and make goals!
Don’t let the uncertainty of your career confuse you and take your focus! You will lose valuable time you will never be able to replace if you sit at home the entire time watching reruns of Friends.
The secret to not getting discouraged during your time off is staying busy! If your productivity lessens, you may start sulking about your situation and it could lead to long days of depression instead of happiness. Appreciate the phases of your life and make the most of them!