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Unemployed? Now What?

| September 4, 2009 | 31 Comments

laid_off_0224What do Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt all have in common?  Aside from the obvious characteristics that all three are extremely successful and wealthy, they were also all born in 1955.  Around the time of the personal computer revolution, they were all young and deciding their long-term career paths.  It was the time in one’s life that involves big risks and major decisions.

In some cases, getting laid off, can put you on the path you actually want to be on, rather than the one you originally thought might have been best. Your 20s is a crucial time to determine your career and ultimate success, so think of this as the most critical time to put yourself on the track to reaching your highest potential.  Think of getting laid off as the opportunity to do something you are truly passionate about that you otherwise wouldn’t necessarily have had the chance to do.

Put Things into Perspective

Still young? Chances are you don’t have to worry about a pile of mortgage payments, child expenses, and credit card bills as you search through the mail for your first unemployment check.  Getting laid off might mean you have to move back in with the ‘rents, or maybe you have enough savings to last awhile on your own.  Either way, don’t be discouraged.  Remember, in most countries, it’s actually uncommon to leave your parent’s house until marriage.  Getting laid off is stressful and will cause anxiety, however you will most likely look back on the time period as a phase which ultimately strengthened your abilities to adapt to change and cope with stress

Reach out to Every Contact

This doesn’t mean scrolling through your LinkedIN account and trying to find someone who sounds important.  Email your former professors or employers and ask for advice. Give them an idea of both what you have done since you you saw them last and where you want to go.  You might be surprised how much valuable information they can provide to help steer you in the right direction.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Contact an experienced alumnus and ask to meet just for an informational interview. After all, most people love talking about themselves and what they do.  Plus, you never know when your old college classmate’s friend’s uncle’s ex-wife’s sister-in-law has an opening at that start-up for a position that is a perfect match for you or will give you that next big business idea.

Work as a Temp

You probably won’t dive into your next career path the day after you were laid off and why settle for something you hate?  Working as a temp can keep you busy, potentially lead to future opportunities, and bring in income in the interim while you figure out your next move.  From day assignments to several weeks, or even nine months, temp agencies are a great way to get exposure to all types of industries from major fortune 500 companies to small firms.

One secret to getting assignments is persistence, even if that means pestering the agencies. Once you submit your resume, call them the next day to ask if you can meet with someone from the agency for an interview and register with them.  Chances are, they will respect you for being proactive and have you come in and do a few basic computer skills tests.  Once you’re registered, you should call them once a day (yes, daily) to check-in and see if there are any assignments for which you would be a good fit.  The more your staffing agency hears from you, the higher chances you have of getting assignments.

Also, don’t be afraid to tell them the types of assignments that really interest you.  From their perspective, they’d much rather send you to a certain industry you’ve expressed interest in.  And if you’re going to be working, you might as well be somewhere you want to be.

Live the Dream!

Maybe you are realizing that your old job or industry wasn’t keeping you happy.  Figure out what you truly want to do and write down a step-by-step realistic plan of how you will get there.  If the opportunity you are seeking isn’t out there, it may mean going into business yourself and creating your own opportunity.  When looking for ideas remember the basic principle of every great business is one that satisfies a need.  What do you think you could use more or better of in your own life?  Even if entrepreneurship isn’t for you right now and you would rather find the perfect job, still write down your plan.  A goal not written down is merely a wish.

Uptin Saiidi graduated from The George Washington University in May, 2008, and was laid off in January 2009, after working as a consultant for a consulting firm in New York City.  He is currently working as an analyst at a TV Network.  He is also actively working on launching his various projects.  Email him at upstairs@gmail.com.

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Category: Personal Branding, Startup Advice

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  • markmontoya

    Just wanted to add that it is important to stay active; both online and offline. If you have not created a personal website that reflects all your skills, I recommend checking out a new site http://www.MyOnlineCareerSpace.com.

    Best!
    Mark Montoya
    @MarkMontoya

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Seth Godin recently did a great post on what to do if you are a college graduate and haven't found a job yet. There are a lot of experiences that you can go out and do that improve yourself as an overall person and prove to future employers that you are not just sitting on the couch. Volunteer, learn to code, or find some type of fun project you can talk about. These are precious years of our life, let's not waste them.

  • Elaine06

    I really like the emphasis of the positive attitude. I think that for young people, for a short period, it's easier to stay positive. If the economy continues like this, it is going to get a lot more difficult for young people like us to keep up this attitude and I wonder what advice we will get then.

  • Edward

    If it weren't for George Bush, we would have never been in a mess where an outrageous 10% of the country is unemployed, and Obama hasn't done anything to fix the mess either.

    Also, does anyone know about MLM Network marketing companies? I hear those are great to get into especially when the economy is the way it is. And what about character development. Wouldn't it be a good opportunity to spend our new 'free' time on character development, so when (or if) the economy rises from the dust we will have newer, sharper skills to slingshot us flying high?

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Elaine we want U30 to be the place for young people to come and get their inspiration. We want to highlight the people and stories of people out doing it! Remember, down economies are when the biggest fortunes are made

  • David

    Elaine, I think that this economy will inspire more people in their 20's to start their own business instead of trying to climb the corporate ladder. But yeah, I see what you mean it is very frustrating trying to be optimistic always when opportunities are limited.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hey David, I think it comes down to inspiring yourself every single day and realizing that if people before us have become successful during hard times, why can't we?

    Motivation is like a shower, you need it every day!

  • danellearchuleta

    Thank you for your advise! After reading your article I went out and got a temp job in a completely different field. They have now offeredto to me permenantly. If not for your article I would still be sitting around feeling sorry for myself.

    Thanks it worked!!!

  • sokogoose

    Unemployment is estimated at nearly 10% in US. What is the real figures that don't include self-employed? Answer @ http://whimsis.com/?av0tux1n

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    That what we like to hear! Success stories and hopefully more to come!

  • David

    Where can you read Seth Godin's post?

  • David

    I also heard that about MLM Networks. Does anyone know of any good ones to get involved with that can help generate income on the side?

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Check out Seth Godin's post here http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/06

  • uptin

    Glad you enjoyed it. Congratulations on the job!

  • Anonymous

    David, go to http://www.choosethefuze.biz and see the 7 min video. Then call me, 847 562 9104. He will hook you up w/ an awesome business opportunity via the most successful MLM I’ve ever heard of.

  • The swede

    Good writing Uptin, i really enjoyed it! And the best part is that you are completely right, you cant be lazy and hope that things will get better by it self!

    And besides all what you sad i would also like to say that if you cant find a(you will find if you really look) internship or a Temp job, try to offer your helo for free! Because no matter what, if you are good in what you do, you will be offered a job afterwards. And in desperate times, we have to make desperate moves, right?

  • John

    David.

    I totally agree with you when you say that this crisis will inspire people in the 20s to start their own business! Also i think that this crisis are putting people to the edge of thinking, i mean now people have to think how they are going to get food on the table if they don't work.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Awesome success story Danelle! I love it! Congratulations.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    I agree–working for free, getting some experience, making a name for yourself is way better than sitting around on the couch! Glad to see we have some motivated readers.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    John, you are certainly right. When people are in tough situations they have to use their survival instincts to make things happen. That is one of the biggest reasons huge businesses come out of recessions. Why do you think there are so many rags to riches stories!!

  • uptin

    Exactly, that's a great point. Employers will really be able to see your enthusiasm if you offer to somehow arrange to work for free. And if you are able to prove yourself, you'll be the first person they want working with them, once the budgets start to open up again.

  • John

    Correct!

    It is sad though that people have to come to the edge before they start thinking and working! You should do that type of thinking all the time to get something valuable out of life i think. But anyway, it is only for them selves they destroy possibilities so they have only them self to blame.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Better yet, be like Apple and “Think Different”. Look at all the most famous innovators out there, they've all thought different. Think of the hottest recent business authors–Kiyosaki, Godin, Ferriss–they are saying what isn't being said, they take a controversial stance on something and stick to it.

  • John

    Yes indeed! Innovation takes you and the business forward, always!

  • http://twitter.com/uptin Uptin Saiidi

    Edward I understand where your coming from, but placing blame unfortunately will not help the situation or even hold anyone or anything accountable. The best way to move forward is to figure out where you see yourself in 10 years and figure out how to get there.

  • http://twitter.com/uptin Uptin Saiidi

    That's a good line…and remember it has to come from within. No one or nothing can do it you everyday.

  • http://twitter.com/uptin Uptin Saiidi

    As the beginning of the article, a lot is determined when you are fresh out of college. And obviously a lot is dependent on the economic environment.

  • http://twitter.com/uptin Uptin Saiidi

    Edward I understand where your coming from, but placing blame unfortunately will not help the situation or even hold anyone or anything accountable. The best way to move forward is to figure out where you see yourself in 10 years and figure out how to get there.

  • http://twitter.com/uptin Uptin Saiidi

    That's a good line…and remember it has to come from within. No one or nothing can do it you everyday.

  • http://twitter.com/uptin Uptin Saiidi

    As the beginning of the article, a lot is determined when you are fresh out of college. And obviously a lot is dependent on the economic environment.