Laid Off? Here's How To Make The Most Of Your Time Between Jobs

Laid Off? Here's How To Make The Most Of Your Time Between Jobs
by Lauren McGoodwin
Photos Joe Kathrina | October 10, 2014

“I was recently laid off and I’m looking for a new job. What’s the best way to spend my time while I’m between jobs?”

- Kelly, Charlotte, NC


I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with transitions, and I usually lean toward hate when that transition is forced upon me. However, I’ve come to recognize that it’s often best to embrace transitions and the large amount of unscheduled free time that come with them.

In order to make the most of this time of transition, I recommend the following:

ACCEPT IT

In times of transition or uncertainty, it’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions. Take a moment to accept the discomfort, and then let it go. Holding on is not productive, but creating a list of your career goals is.To start, create a list of deal-breakers (such as a long commute or inflexible hours) and must-haves (working within a creative department) along with a list of ten companies you would want to work for. Research and make notes about why each company appeals to you, and find the patterns in those reasons. By identifying common traits of companies that appeal to you, you’ll be able to conduct a more targeted job search tailored to your industry, environment and lifestyle specifications.

MANAGE YOUR FINANCES

One of the best ways to manage your stress is to manage your wallet. Understand exactly where your money is going each month, how far your savings will get you and where you can start to cut back. You’d be surprised how much the little things add up, and it’s better to know upfront what your timeline is for needing a new job. If you have eight months, you can be a bit more picky, whereas if you only have a few weeks of savings, you’ll have to compromise a bit more. Mint and Learnvest are great money management tools!

BE OPEN

Whether you volunteer, freelance, intern or just hustle to have an informational interview each week, be open to meeting new people and trying new things! If you’ve always had an interest in fitness and like to write, submit a guest blog post to a fitness site. If you have an obsession with stationary, take a letterpress class. If you’re intrigued by the fashion industry, ask a stylist to meet for coffee.Have fun with your flexible schedule and use your free time to explore as many interests as possible!

BECOME EVERYONE'S PLUS ONE 

This might seem silly, but one of the best things you can do during a period of transition is stay busy and attend events! Let all of your friends know that you’re available to be a buddy for any networking event, conference, etc. You never know who you will meet at these kinds of events, and it’s definitely a better use of your time than watching another episode of the Real Housewives.

Bottom line: transitions are temporary, and you will find another job! Stay calm, be patient and embrace this new adventure. Heck, you might even miss this new schedule you’ve created!