Monday, December 1, 2008

Invest in yourself while unemployed

In a past post, I advised people to invest in themselves while unemployed. This advice is even more pertinent now given the current recession that I heard officially announced on the news tonight. I've seen many layoffs in the triangle area of North Carolina over the past several months, and it will get worse over the next several months. The job market will be an employer's market because it will be saturated with unemployed job seekers. I experienced this state when I was unemployed back in 2003 to 2004.

I am building the Triangle Networking Group to assist businesses and professional during this time and have been recruiting volunteers. One unemployed professional I am recruiting stated to me today that she was just so busy trying to find employment 24/7 that she hadn't had a spare moment. I imagine people will go crazy if they spend 24/7 looking for a job because there are only so many stones to turn over, and open positions will be bombarded with a multitude of candidates. Therefore, you should create leverage for yourself that allows you to turn over stones while adding other value. Like in billiards, why not pocket two balls with one shot or make shots that align for the next shot. Spend some time to increase your value like learning, volunteering, or developing an alternative stream of income.

I mentioned in a past post that I have an alternative stream of income and offer the opportunity to others with no financial commitment on their part. I believe investing your time in this option is worth it. The period of unemployment will probably be more than expected. I was unemployed for a year during 2003 to 2004 and applied to about 600 job posts. A little extra income would help during this period and you may even make up your lost income. Furthermore, building an alternative stream of income that will deliver income without your direct effort increases your leverage. When employment is finally offered, the salary will probably be lower than expected. After all, it will be an employer's market. A stream of income that doesn't require direct effort while employed at the new job will supplement the lower salary. Furthermore, a safety net will exist for future unemployment. As I mentioned in a past post, North Carolina is an "at will" state with skewed legislation. Employers can fire employees within 90 days without reason.

However you invest in yourself, just do it. Don't focus all your efforts in increasing a potential employer's value. Your value should count, so don't devalue yourself.


Sheyenne Kreamer said...

You are so right on Todd. We are already seeing a repeat of both 2001-2002 and 2003-2004. People get so caught up in "massive action" in activities that are producing no results that they don't take time to see that they might need to redirect their efforts.

The results - more foreclosures, more bankruptcies, and a huge waste of talent that could be used in other ways.

Investing in yourself has become a mandatory activity. If you don't take the time to invest in yourself, it's a pretty safe bet these days that no one else will either.

Mike Ficalora said...


I too was out of work, on and off through 2003 - 2004, and I also feel that investing in yourself is the way to go.

Being a Software Programmer, I hustled up some side work as well as created an online product and sold it for a while. I started an employment support group through my church and attended other existing networking associations where I hustled my skills and my product to all that would listen. Over a nine month period I was without solid income for only about two months.

Other suggestions include getting re-trained or seeking that certification in your skill set you have been putting off.

Finally, don't set your sights so high that you turn down reasonable job offers. Remember, you can still look for a job while you have one and even if the "temporary" one doesn't pay what your old job did, it is sure better than $0!!