Friday, September 5, 2008

Empower Yourself: Think employed while unemployed

I have experienced my fair share of unemployment. One period lasted a year and the last period lasted 5 months. Through my participation with the Triangle Networking Group, I have associated with many unemployed people in transition. I can understand their frustration and anxiety. They have lost their main source of income and possibly their sense of worth. I've been there. I've been a member of the Triangle Networking Group (TNG) since December 2003 and Executive Director since April 2005. I have associated with many unemployed professionals in transition and attempted to assist them. The main obstacle I see is mindset. For some reason, the unemployed people I've encountered think they have to spend all their time looking for a job. I understand this attitude for those that are new to the unemployment scene because they are optimistic that they will quickly find another job. There are also those folks that are in panic mode to replace the income source they lost. I have heard repeatedly that they didn't expect to be out of work this long. I have learned that you can't make the hiring authorities give you a job. There are many factors and hurdles involved, so why concentrate all your time in your job search.

If you can spend 40 hours a week just on your job search and keep your sanity, more power to you. Some folks would rather add value for someone else rather than increase their own value. In other words, they devalue themselves. Don't think like you are unemployed; think like you are employed as the head of your career. You can add value to yourself through education, establishing another source of income, and volunteer work. Now spend 20 hours a week on your job search and 20 hours a week, or a proportion that makes you comfortable, increasing your value.

I had a legal plan and identity theft plan from Pre-Paid Legal Services for months previous to the abrupt end of my last job. While unemployed, a friend and colleague on the TNG leadership team was looking for assistance educating people about identity theft. I needed to get my mind off of my job search, so I agreed to assist her. I because an independent associate for Pre-Paid Legal Services with my friend as my sponsor. This was one of my greatest decisions, because I learned so much more about my plans and the value they can provide to others. I learned how I can provide peace of mind to others, but I also gained some peace of mind as well. I was in a business I could control and this complemented my job search because I wasn't obsessing over the lack of jobs available or nonresponsive employers and recruiters. I could relieve the anxiety caused by something I couldn't control with the satisfaction of something I could control. I'm now back in a fulltime job. However, now I have an extra source of income. Furthermore, I have a contingency plan for future unemployment.

However, the mindset of the obsessed unemployed folks still prevails despite the opportunities I have devised and proposed. I can give people a business at no cost with varying degrees of commitment. I can put people into a business at no financial cost to them helping other people protect themselves and their family. They can pursue the business actively or use it as a referral vehicle where I am their partner (or employee depending on your point of view). I can also offer my services as a LinkedIn consultant as a benefit of purchasing legal or identity theft plans.

Basically, I offer to provide unemployed folks with a side income at no financial cost and little commitment with my continued assistance. I am amazed that folks decline my offer, yet they are still unemployed and complaining.

The opportunity I present unemployed people may not be attractive, but my message is to relieve your anxiety by doing something positive with your time that will add value financially or your career.

No comments: