Much has been said and written recently about the unemployment rate since the Department of Labor released its recent report pointing to rising unemployment, especially among Black Americans. While the news was disappointing, it was not a surprise to most. All one has to do is follow the state of the economy to know that the weakened economy will undoubtedly impact job growth, and while the impact will affect all Americans, African-Americans will get hit the hardest.
If you are among the reported 13.6 unemployed African-Americans, you can either choose to continue to be discouraged by the lack of job opportunities or you can do something about it, but you can’t do both. Recently when I experienced sudden unemployment, I knew that I faced an uphill battle. Not only would I be seeking a job in a tight market, but I also would have to overcome personal barriers that would hinder my chances at employment. I also knew that the more I dwelled on my problems, the less productive I would be in solving them.
I used my sudden unemployment as an opportunity to launch my business. I had been planning to start a personal and business development consulting company, but could never seem to figure out the right time to quit the 9 to 5. Looming deadlines, project demands, and the comfort of a steady paycheck convinced me that it was never the right time, but when I lost my job, I no longer had an excuse.
The point I am making, is what I often state to my clients. Learn to look for the opportunity in the obstacles you may be facing. If your obstacle is unemployment, take action to do something about it. Use this down time to go back to school and take courses to make you more proficient in the career you hope to enter. You don’t have to be aiming for a degree, just more knowledge. Also, look into stackable credentials which are often programs in which you can enroll online or at a local community college to earn certificates in areas of interest and to build you up professionally.
Unemployment also gives you the time and opportunity to do your homework on the companies that you have been targeting so that when you are asked during the interview why you want to work for the company or what you have to contribute, you won’t be caught off guard. Also, look for volunteer opportunities that will give you relevant work experience if experience is a problem for you. What I am trying to say is commit to doing something — anything, that will set you apart from the competition.
Now may also be the time to explore entrepreneurial opportunities like I did. Within a month of my unemployment, I had launched a business and couldn’t be happier for it. I did not waste a moment in researching what I needed to do in order to get going. Until I opened my office, I kept my regular working schedule. I would wake up at the same time, and spent each day working on forming my business.
Being unemployed is not easy, but the same 24 hours will pass whether you have a job or not, so spend them preparing to emerge better not bitter. For more tips on maximizing your job fair experience or starting a business, please visit my success strategies blog at lswstrategies1.com.
5 Strategies for Living Through Unemployment
- Look at unemployment as an opportunity to develop yourself personally and professionally
- Seek out volunteer opportunities to build relevant work experience
- Research and learn about the companies you are targeting
- Practice your value statement ( what you have to offer and why you should be hired)
- Consider entrepreneurial opportunities. Make money at what you are good at or enjoy doing