One Career-Less Contessa Shares Her 5 Survival Tips
Career Growth

One Career-Less Contessa Shares Her 5 Survival Tips

by Ryan Burch
Photos Joanne Pio | September 30, 2014


Although many people are unhappy in their current careers, quitting without having a job lined up can be considered a risky move. Although I agree that it’s best to have an exit strategy (which ideally would include putting money aside while you still have a job), there are plenty of ways to stay happy and afloat in any “in-between” periods!

Since recently quitting my full-time job, I’ve developed 5 survival tips that I believe will help any Contessa who might be experiencing a rough patch or gap in her career.


Searching for jobs can be both overwhelming and especially tough on your ego if opportunities don’t pan out. That’s why it’s crucial to make time for yourself and create routines that will leave you feeling powerful, focused and in control!

If you’re worried about an upcoming interview or presentation, plan for quality “me time” the morning of. Think about what makes you look and feel like your best, most sassy self and do 3 to 4 of those things before leaving the house. Could it be catching an early yoga session and then pit-stopping for a pumpkin latte? For me, it’s getting up early to lift heavy weights, preparing a protein-packed meal and picking out a bold outfit (always with the color RED).

By channeling your inner diva and creating a routine that makes you feel strong, you will radiate confidence that is sure to impress in any career setting.


I’m a huge advocate for in-person informational interviews. In fact, all of my current freelance work has come as a result of reaching out to people in industries I was curious about and requesting in-person meetings.

I would frame these requests by saying, “I’m currently exploring potential new career paths and would love to pick your brain about your experiences working in X industry. You’ve had such an amazing career and I’m sure you have great advice!”

By setting it up in a way that shows you’re eager to learn from them and not just get something from them, the meeting becomes a casual, comfortable conversation. They get to answer questions about themselves and you have the opportunity to discuss your skills and ambitions without any pressure. Once they are able to see how well you interact and express yourself in person, it’s likely that they will want to help you find a job or will refer you to someone who can!


If you’re currently unemployed or experiencing a rut in your career, there’s nothing like a little soul-searching to rev you up! Although it’s normal to get caught up in the daily grind and forget about the things you used to love doing, making time for your passions and seeking out new hobbies can be enlightening and may even lead to a new career.

Since quitting my job I’ve been training for a half marathon, singing, blogging, experimenting with new recipes and even signed up to be a tutor for homeless children. It has been invigorating to be creative again and I feel happier, healthier and more confident. I already have new freelance opportunities on the table because of connections I’ve made in the process.


There are a lot of ways to make money during an interim period as long as you’re open-minded and willing to try new things! Here are my top picks for making short-term cash:

Elance: Set up a profile and search for freelance work in any field.

TaskRabbit: Make money by helping people with everyday tasks.

Work as a brand ambassador: Search “staffing agency” in your city to find companies hiring brand ambassadors. This is an easy way to make $250 to $400 in a day, and usually just involves handing out promo items for a well-known brand.

Event catering: There are catering companies in every major city often looking for capable people to work catering events. This is an easy way to make $25+ an hour.

Rover: This website will match you with a pet owner who needs a pet-sitter for a portion of time. It’s a fun and rewarding way to make a bit of cash!

Lyft: I’ve caught rides with several female drivers who love driving for Lyft and Uber. I would, however, advise ladies to stick to driving earlier in the day when people are commuting to work (rather than the late night crowd).

Trade or sell recycled clothing: Go through your closet and PURGE! Sell your stuff on Ebay, take your clothes to Crossroads or Buffalo Exchange or look up consignment stores in your area.


The hardest thing about being unemployed is the uncertainty of what lies ahead. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, self-doubt and even depression. Whenever you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk, make sure to change the channel! Don’t allow negativity and anxiety to dominate the conversations in your mind. Combat each negative thought by thinking about something you’re proud of or focusing on someone that inspires you to be great.

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Being career-less isn’t easy, but neither is having a full-time career! You can waste time feeling overwhelmed and afraid by the uncertainties of unemployment, or you can get savvy and resourceful and create your own adventure!

“Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility.”– Oprah