Since the start of 2020, the unemployment rate has hit record levels, some industries are seeing furloughs turning into permanent layoffs. The August 2020 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 13.6 Million people out of work and the unemployment rate is still above 8%. The uncertainty of “if or when” people can return to prior positions weighs heavily.
What you Do
The identity of the work role you engage in can be very integral to self-esteem, self-identity, and anxiety level. When you are not currently employed this can really bore in to the dark places in your mental health. You are not what you do.
Good First Steps
If you unemployed now, or you see it coming soon become active rather than passive. First, deal with the strain on your ability to see yourself in a positive light. Seek counseling, many counselors are available on demand, online and on mobile apps. Tele-mental Health is now fully accessible and maybe asynchronous or available 24/7.
Use this time to highlight your job skills, work experience, and your success metrics with a Mental Health Counselor who will safely guide you through this process and can help you build a personal strategy for changing your income level and will help you look at all the options outside the box. Strong counseling can also help with anxiety reduction tools and resources.
Necessity as Innovation’s Mother
This maybe the perfect time to add a skill from an accredited online source or hone your marketing impact with new certification. There are many great value add programs out there that will improve your market value, many are quick courses with certification or licensing to enhance your chances of connecting to a new job. Work with your counselor to determine which jobs will serve your personal standards, values, and mission.
Start Up Your Entrepreneurial Drive
This may also be the time to pursue entrepreneurship. Is there something you have wanted to dive into? Hobbies that can become revenue streams, problem solving that can become new products, or passion areas that you have wanted to try? While the climate can be challenging for new businesses, there are many ways to start on a shoestring and build a business that can help supplement where you are.
People are using apps and business networks to make new connections and to lift each other up. There are groups focused in on hiring companies, support for industry professionals and sharing of resumes and leads.
Anxiety is often born from fear, from lack of control and from the feeling that this is happening “to” you rather than something you are driving. To reduce the anxiety, plan. Not planning, not doing, and not reacting will leave you feeling like a victim rather than captain of your destiny.
Routines and Structures
Keep a schedule, plan to find work, plan to network and plan to complete the paperwork and pre-application requirements. Research any company you apply for, the hiring requirements matter as there is a rich, full candidate pool.
Self-care and Centering
Plan time and take time to take care of you. This can include healthy eating, physical activity to clear your head, reading and researching your targeted industry and job. Clear your mind at least once a day, even if that is not in a full lotus position but clear the worry and reduce the fear. It may sound overly taxing in a time where you need to be job hunting during every waking hour, but the reality is overdoing it, not considering the pros & cons of the role and the company in light of your ethics and beliefs can increase anxiety and waste more time.
You are not what you do (or did), you are a fully crafted human being with great skills, experience, and opportunity to build a brand (yours or theirs). You need to plan, work the plan, check the environment for change and see how that may require your plan to be adjusted.