If you’ve ever had the experience of losing your job, you know that sinking feeling – followed by the realization that you have nothing to do the rest of the day. Next comes the question of “what do I do NOW?” and wondering what your next step will be. Well, I had that exact same scenario recently – because I just lost my job!
In the beginning of DIY Dollars, I wrote about entreprenuerial topics such as how to make money for your self, how to generate income without a job, how to start a business, and how to profit from online marketing. I always had a genuine interest in those topics, but eventually the perfect job came along: it paid well, it allowed me to work remotely, and it focused on my main interest which was SEO. So I took the job (and as you can see from this site’s post history) effectively abandoned blogging. Well, now I’m back.
The last week is what I jokingly refer to as my “week off”: I was freshly unemployed, and a not-so-proud member of this nation’s biggest-ever crowd of jobless. But this is a new week, and I have some big plans. Like the kid in Home Alone, I slapped my cheeks with aftershave, and screamed “NOW what should I do?”. And here’s the answer.
This is step one. I know – unemployment doesn’t amount to much money. One week of unemployment payments equals about what I used to make in a day. But every bit of income will help, so I’ll take what I can get while I need it.
Losing one’s job is nothing to be ashamed of, unless you did something stupid and got yourself fired. But these days, many people are losing their job due to reasons such as company downsizing, outsourcing, or cuts due to low profits. It happens, and like Omar used to say (in The Wire) “it’s all in the game.” So don’t be bashful; let everyone know. If they know, they can tell you if they hear about work you might be interested in.
Get busy, immediately, applying for jobs. You have to do this in order to get unemployment benefits anyway – but you need to find work. No matter what the economy is doing, there are jobs out there – you just need to find them. People still need other people to provide services. So get on Craigslist, Monster, CareerBuilder, look in your local paper, and respond to ads. It will not only possibly get you a new job but it will make you feel like you’re doing something worthwhile with your time.
If you’re of the same mind as me, you’ve had an LLC long before you ever lost your job. (I’ve had one for a few years that I’ve rarely used for any sort of business.) Having an LLC will allow you to get contract work with some of the larger companies, but if you don’t have an official “business” you can still find freelance gigs working as an individual. There are local companies, individuals, and organizations that need someone to do short-term work, and if you have the right skills you can respond and at least do one project. That, in turn, can earn you money and possibly get you a job. Plus, you need to stay busy.
Right now I’m working on a book, which I plan on publishing for the Kindle. Maybe you are an artist. Or maybe you bake. Whatever it is you can do – create something. If you don’t know where your creative powers lie, then make a website and write a blog. Please, just create something. Don’t leave this work having contributed nothing other than some labor in exchange for a paycheck. Make something during the time you otherwise would be working for someone else.
These simple actions might not seem like much, but to me they’re my framework until I figure out my “real” plan. These things will keep me doing something useful, and will allow me to not waste my days, now that I’m unemployed. I look at life right now as full of opportunity – who knows what will happen? Probably something awesome. (At least, that’s what I like to think.)
I hope things are awesome for you, too. And for those of you who are in the same situation as me, I hope these simple words will help you during this time.