Yesterday I went to the gym. That, in and of itself, is almost apocalyptic in significance, as I never go to the gym. Nevertheless, I am forcing myself to go, at least for the remainder of my period of unemployment, because I need to feel like I am accomplishing something and because I really do not have any more excuses not to go. We have the membership and I have the time so excuses at this point will ring very hollow (at least until I start getting some interviews).
While I was at the gym, I watched Panic in the Year Zero, a cold war film starring Ray Milland and Frankie Avalon that I have always enjoyed. In the film, Milland and his family are on a fishing trip when most major American cities are subject to a nuclear attack. The family sets up a new home in a cave and, at their first meal, Ray Milland’s character tells the rest of the family that even though civilization has ended, they need to remain civilized, and they will continue to perform all of the indicia of civilization for as long as they can. For example, Ray and Frankie will continue to shave every day, not because they need to shave to survive, but because they need to shave to remember who they are.
For those of us who are still looking for jobs, there is wisdom in Ray’s advice. If you feel like your world is spinning out of control due to financial hardship, or merely financial fears, you need to try to preserve a sense of control by keeping up with your usual daily routines and by incorporating new job-hunting aspects into those routines. Here are a few routines that you should never forget.
Shave Every Day
I suppose not everyone needs to shave but whatever your daily hygiene habits would have been if you were going into a job, keep them up. Treat every day as the day that a job will find you. In order to do that, you have to be ready for opportunities and that usually means that you have to be well groomed. It may seem like you have nothing to lose by skipping a shower but it can become too easy and you will find that you are skipping more and more things. Keep a sense of pride about who you are and always present yourself at your best.
Accomplish Something New Every Day
You may be hitting dead ends with every resume or application that you submit to a prospective employer. Do not dwell on those negatives. Instead focus on the things that you can control. Find a way to put your talents to work or a way to further develop your potential. For example, I write and publish book reviews and I now go to the gym every day. Of course, I also look for as many writing assignments as I can obtain and I generally try to accomplish all of the chores that I need to accomplish at home. Staying busy will help you to feel better about yourself and it will focus you on the things that are within your control.
Don’t Withdraw from your Friends
It can be embarrassing to be out of work. Realize that there is no reason to be ashamed of having lost a job. Unemployment is high in the USA and around the world and our global economy remains in recession. Unemployment is not pleasant, but it is not unusual either. Lots of us are unemployed and you do not need to withdraw from your friends just because you are looking for a job. Talk to your friends – but do not burden them with your problems – just as you would have if you had been employed. If you had a job, we would call this networking. Now that you are unemployed, it is still networking and it is still just as important.
Take a Good Look at Your Wardrobe
You need to look sharp, or at least impressive, in order to land the job you want to land. If you can afford it, now is the time to invest in some clothes that you can wear to interviews. Whether you wear a suit or something else, go find the best outfit to make you stand out from the crowd. Although we are all unique, there are going to be a lot of people just as talented as you (and me) looking to land the same jobs that you want to land.
Treat Every Week Day as a Work Day
Finding a job is a job in and of itself. Make sure you spend seven or eight hours every week day in trying to find a job. Look at job listings. Call your entire address book to get the word out. Network, network, network!
Eat Well and Eat Healthy
Now is not the time to gain 20 pounds. Especially as the US seems to be leaning closer and closer to a health insurance program that does not offer as much care for “self-inflicted conditions” now is the time to be getting into shape. You have the time to eat healthily and to prepare healthy foods so that is what you should be doing. You will look better for it and that will help you to land a job.
What other routines do you think are important? What routines are we likely to lose when we drop out of the work force, regardless of the reason? What routines do you feel are most important in the process of landing a job?