Surviving Unemployment, Part 1

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I have really enjoyed reading the different perspectives about unemployment from the Nexxt writers. I like hearing tips other people have or hearing advice, but as I sat with a friend yesterday discussing the topic (both of us are currently unemployed); it reminded me that having someone to talk to is the most important thing, in my opinion, when facing unemployment.


The face of unemployment is diverse. Many people I know have advanced degrees and little to no experience because their desired field is not hiring. Many have been in positions for a long duration of time, only to face an unexpected layoff. A new job might mean additional training or courses and most people don’t have extra funds to afford such things. So what do you do when faced with unemployment? Each person has a different reaction and I often note there are ‘stages’ to unemployment, depending on how long you have been looking for a job. If you are newly unemployed or you believe your unemployment to be temporary, you are most likely anxious. If you have been unemployed for a while, I’m sure you feel defeated, hopeless, and bored. Those are just some emotions you may feel during this process. This article offers more insight.  


I hope you understand that it’s going to get better for you, even if it takes a while. If you are tired of hearing people give you those encouraging words, you are not alone. I roll my eyes when folks say that to me. However, if you don’t want to come across as a bitter pessimist, find someone else you can talk to about your feelings. If you don’t have other unemployed friends, I suggest a community center that offers free or inexpensive classes (the higher the unemployment rate is in your town, the more likely you are to find these options).  If you have internet access, an online support community can be truly helpful – other posters know what you are going through and can offer comfort and advice.


What has helped you survive unemployment? Next week, I will focus on out-of-the-box networking ideas.


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  • Amy Muldoon
    Amy Muldoon
    That's true, Vanessa. I focused mainly on the unemployment aspect of the economy right now. For the underemployed like yourself, it seems that you're now 'overqualified' for work that you've been doing for a while. I think there are many others in your position.
  • Vanessa
    This, of course, also does not speak at all to the  underemployment  situation in which many of those formerly-fully employed now find themselves. Typically (and this has been true, until 2009, for roughly 25 years at least), I would be working full-time, on average, at least 9   10 months of each year, with periodic one- or two-month intervals of unemployment as I complete a long-term contract job and have to spend time finding another similar contract position. During the last 2-1/2 years, though, I have been averaging only about 6   8 months working per calendar year, as the intervals between contracts have greatly lengthened.In addition, rates of pay for contract work have been going down, generally, for almost 4 years now   my current contract only pays about what I was getting per hour roughly 10   12 years ago, even though both my skills and work experience levels have both gone up. That is about a 20 to 25 percent cut in rates   and, based upon what recruiters have been telling me, that is quite typical   and, of course, with no allowance being made for over a decade of inflation. Effectively, I am making about 50 to 60 percent (in real, spendable terms) per year what I was earning about 10 years ago, and my marginal tax rates have not decreased from where they were 5 or 6 years ago.I have to believe that this is pretty typical, and not just in my own field of contract engineering work. Therefore, even a lot of the  employed  aren't making enough to even maintain life-style   they're slowly sliding closer and closer to that  working poor/poverty  line.I'm better off than most, since I have enough qualifications and experience to be well above-average in rate of pay even now   but the number of younger, less-experienced workers, coupled with those who have had to change over to doing something else altogether, must, I think, be a pretty sizable part of those who are slowly sliding backwards like that.

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