Topic of the Week Broken Heart - Unemployment's Devastating Impact
Last week my cousin died of a heart attack. After working continuously for the first two-thirds of his career, recently he'd bounced from short term jobs to stretches of unemployment. This cycle is tough enough on someone just starting out a career, but for someone in their early 60's, it can literally be a heartbreaker. Which reminds me of Sisyphus, a character in Greek mythology. He forced to roll a huge boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back over him each night. He was sentenced to repeat this futile action forever.
Sound like your job? But remember, at least you have one. For people who are stuck in long term unemployment the burden of joblessness can be crushing. Especially at the end of your career when you thought things might get easier. Organizations need to realize the unemployed still have contributions to make. Here are the 4 "P's" for anyone who is running out of hope after a long stretch of being unemployed.
Perspective. Whenever I meet someone who has been laid off I always say the same thing. "It's not fair, it's not your fault, you're not alone and you're not done." Most people love to talk about their successes, it's rare when someone admits their failings. That's precisely why it's so difficult to be unemployed now, because you only hear about victories. I was fired and laid off, most of us have been there.
Pride. Recently I took on a challenge at a local radio station to find a listener a job in 60 days. Yes, Barb did get a job, and you'll hear her story soon. I not only met with Barb, but the other two finalists. All three shared one characteristic. They were all looking for a job exclusively via the want ads. No personal networking. Why? Pride. They didn't want to ask their friends for help. I know this is difficult, but pride needs to fall by the wayside when you're unemployed. The key to getting a job, letting your friends help you.
Pals. Have you ever met someone who you'd worked with twenty years earlier. They not only remembered you, but they had a story or two about working with you? You need to remember that when you're looking to get hired. You don't have to limit yourself to the past few years, you can often go back many years and find people who not only remember you, they're willing to help you. With Facebook and Linkedin, these people are much easier to find today.
Possibilities. All of the stats that I've seen recently show that employment is up. There are jobs out there. You've got to start seeing the glass as half full and start pursuing possibilities. Not necessarily for jobs that you've had in the past. You might have to go back to school to get your skills updated or to focus on a new area.
Sisyphus wasn't crushed by his burden and you don't have to be either. Keep fighting.
Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him firstname.lastname@example.org.