Archive for the 'Taking Care of Yourself' Category

Get Help If You Need It

Greg had been in town for six months. Long enough to buy a house and move his family half-way across the country. He had accepted his new position with mixed feelings, because of having to leave close friends and the security of a mediocre job. But soon after he started his new job, he was glad he had made the move. He had more opportunities for advancement and enjoyed his work more than he had in years. His family fell in love with the city quickly and made many new friends. Greg was on top of the world. Then, quite unexpectedly, the company announced a massive lay off and, just like that, he was out of work.

Greg’s reaction was fear and sadness. He blamed himself for the job loss and letting his family down. He couldn’t think about finding a new job because he was so full of negative feelings. When he finally voiced his frustration out loud in front his friends and heard their reaction, he was able to see that what had happened was not his fault. They gave him just the help he needed.

If your job search is bogged down because of how you feel, perhaps you need help, too. Talk to a counselor if you don’t feel comfortable discussing your feelings with a friend or family member. You may feel counseling is a luxury you can’t afford when you’re not sure when the next paycheck will come in. However, the encouragement you get from a professional counselor may be just what is needed to get you on track. The cost may not be as much as you think. Many counseling services base fees on the ability to pay.

Often, people turn to their church or other organizations for help at no cost. Many churches now provide one-on-one counseling through a program called Stephen Ministry and a part of their training is how to support people who have lost their jobs. Another approach is to join a twelve-step job loss recovery group. You’ll learn how job loss affects others and realize your feelings are not unique. Whether you talk or just listen, attending meetings helps restore self-confidence and pride.

If you have strong feelings which interfere with your ability to get a job, seek professional advice and attend recovery group meetings. In addition, you can improve how you feel through acceptance, exercise, and support.

Acceptance weakens negative feelings. Tell someone how you feel. If you’re angry, say so. Sad? Talk about it. Feelings are neither right nor wrong so don’t judge yourself. You have a good reason to feel the way you do.

Another way to decrease anger and depression is to get a good workout. Even a walk around the block can make you feel better.

Don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself. You’ll only feel worse. Be with friends. Laugh. Do something fun. Ask for a hug when you need one.

Feelings such as anger, fear and sadness, which often accompany the loss of a job, can block you from finding a new one. Don’t let your feelings interfere with your job search. You can find a way to get help.

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Out of Work? Time to Cut Unnecessary Spending

When I lost my job my first concern was how to pay the bills and feed my family. For days I searched for ways to cut expenses and was surprised to learn how much could be eliminated. Of course some things had to be given up, but we survived.

If you’re out of work, or fear you may be soon, review your financial situation. There are many ways to reduce spending without changing your lifestyle as drastically as you might think. Take care of these details first and you will feel more like looking for a job.

Go through your check book and credit card statements. Make a list of fixed expenses–those that are about the same each month such as rent or mortgage payments, installment purchase payments, insurance, transportation, child care and food. Next, write down what you spend for clothing, charge accounts, medical, dental, subscriptions, cleaning, contributions, gifts, entertainment, recreation and savings. Add other expenses that vary from month to month.

When totaling your expenses, include the cost of medical insurance that was provided by your employer. Medical insurance cost is high, so look for alternatives. For example, you may be eligible for a less expensive group plan because of your association with a professional or social organization.

Now look for ways to cut. Skip items which are clearly essential. Look for optional spending and those expenses that can be lowered. For example, reduce spending for entertainment. Cancel cable if you must. Take leave from the health club, but exercise in other ways. Eat at home more and cut out the expensive convenience foods. For more ideas, search the Internet for frugal and see what all pops ups.

Next, check your assets. Look at your cash on hand, checking accounts, savings, stocks, bonds, cash-value insurance, and other assets that can be converted to cash if needed. Count money due from your previous employer such as pay for unused vacation. Include your spouse’s income and income from a second job. If you’re eligible for unemployment compensation, find out how much it will be and when it will begin and end.

Compare expenses and assets. Will your assets and projected income be enough to pay your estimated expenses? How many months can you survive financially? If you need more money, what can you do?

If you think you might have problems paying debts on time, talk to lenders. Some may extend time to pay loans or lower the payments. You may also want to consolidate loans to reduce monthly payments. Search online for free consumer credit counseling if needed.

A realistic accounting of expenses and assets will help reduce anxiety about being out of work. This will clear the mind to focus on a practical plan to move forward.

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A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. —- Herm Albright


Sidney W. Frost, B.A., M.S.

The author's job-search advice has appeared in more than forty newspapers and other publications around the country. He has worked as a corporate recruiter in information technology and, as an IT supervisor has reviewed many applications and held many interviews over the years in both the private and public sector. His knowledge of the emotional impact of a job loss comes from his own experience as well as training received to help people who have lost jobs and faced other losses.

Mr. Frost is also the author of the Job Seekers' Attitude Adjustment Guide which is available in paperback and Kindle editions as well as two inspirational novels. See http://sidneywfrost.com/ for information. His other blog, The Christian Bookmobile/ talks about reading and writing.

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