Looking for work is never easy. And the longer you find yourself looking, the more disheartening it can all become. Transitional periods between contracts or permanent roles can be tough for many people – even for very experienced hands.
There are few things worse than feeling like you are not contributing in any way – it is almost as if our natural state is to want to be of assistance in some way and been seen as useful. When that desire to be contributing to a team is not fulfilled, it is natural to experience negative feelings which can have a negative impact on your job search.
Overcoming the doldrums
There is, however, one simple way to overcome this sort of funk – try work that you’ve never tried before!
It may be difficult to accept, but when the chips are down, you may have to do work that you would never have pictured yourself doing! It may be time to try new things and find employment that may be below your skill level; Stock shelves in a supermarket, wait tables in a coffee shop, work on a building site, wash cars…
Whatever it is, if there is work on offer – take it. Why? Because keeping occupied is the best medicine. It’s not even about money (though of course the money helps). It’s about how work creates its own rewards.
Any entrepreneur worth their salt has lost everything at least once. What they all understand is that, in the absence of opportunity, the onus is on you to create your own opportunities.
Above all, it’s about the self-worth that comes from engaging in gainful activity. Think about it. Activity breeds activity, which leads to interacting with people, which leads to networking.
From networking comes new possibilities. You may even learn a few things about yourself in the process.
Where to begin?
There really is a world of opportunity out there. Sure, it can take a big effort to get yourself motivated at first, but the sooner you are able to get out there and take control, the less time you’ll spend spinning your wheels.
Here are a couple of options as starting points:
Volunteer – There are countless not-for-profit or community groups who could possibly benefit from your skills. At the very least they’ll be glad to have an extra helping hand. Volunteer work has also become very desirable on CVs, as it reveals a lot about a candidate’s values.
Uber – A great many budding entrepreneurs have taken to Uber to support their dream venture or startup. If the thought of driving others hasn’t stopped them, why should it stop you? Perhaps it’s time to find your drive again.
Marketing Focus Groups – Why not throw your hat in the ring for some market research from the consumer end? Not only do such groups generally pay you for your time, they also give you fantastic end-to-end insights into how many things come to market.
University paid studies – Similarly, research studies are a vital means of information gathering that help formulate best practice approaches across a wide range of fields that also compensate you for your time. Check in with Universities in your area to explore your options.
Develop your skills – Periods of unemployment also provide the perfect opportunity for you upskill, learn new technologies or gain a certification. It will keep you busy and can only benefit your official job hunt.
At the end of the day, work is work. You do it not just to earn money and live day to day; you work to be part of a community, to develop friendships and networks, and to learn new lessons and skills.
So if you’re between jobs and are having a tough time finding the work that you feel is worthwhile to you, try broadening your search and be prepared to dip your toes in different waters.
You may just be surprised at the uplift it gives you, and the new opportunities it may bring!