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Posts Tagged ‘keeping motivated after job loss’

Happy New Year!

Lovely Galley readers, I missed you while I was away, but I can’t deny that I enjoyed not being plugged in constantly. I needed a break from searching and reading and though I feel guilty about it, I’m trying not to.

Many folks say they don’t make New Year’s resolutions because they don’t keep them. Well, I’m making some that I can keep. Don’t make resolutions so outlandish you could never reach them, but at the same time, there is nothing wrong with shooting for the moon. As the poster in my sixth grade classroom said, “even if you miss, you will land among the stars.”

New Year’s Resolutions for those looking for a job and freelancers (I’m doing these too!):

1) Be happy and stop feeling guilty. Be yourself, even if you were laid off. Smile, watch your favorite shows, make your favorite dinner; don’t think every waking moment needs to be devoted to your job search. All work and no play is no good, even if your work is not bringing a paycheck home every two weeks. Do not feel guilty about enjoying yourself, this will not only make you miserable, but it can hinder your job search as you become more and more resentful of your situation.

2) Stay motivated. The position you applied for has been cut, and three of your clients can’t afford you right now. It’s rough and it’s not pleasant, but you can’t let it keep you down. Wallowing and pitying yourself will get you no where. Fall and get back up as many times as it takes. Talk to those around you, visit message boards and vent in your journal when you need to get all that disappointment out. It is normal to be upset, but you still can’t let it get the best of you.

3) Do more for your search. Sending out a pitch letter every two weeks and occasionally leaving your house to go to a networking event is only putting in 50% effort. If you want to see real results, you need to get out there. Tweet 10 times a day on Twitter, attend every free webinar in your field, go to networking events and events that could be networking events (like a reading from a book that was just published about your field—the author and the participants are all potential connections).

4) Use social networks to their fullest. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can bring you new fans and friends, but they can also land you new assignments and score you full-time gigs. Take the time to learn what makes these platforms tick. Get started here:

8 Ways Twitter Can Build Your Freelance Business

10 Traits of Highly Effective Twitter Users

10 Ways to Use LinkedIn

This wont be the last time we talk about these resolutions. I’m going to keep you posted on how I am doing with them every few months, or if something comes up (like me falling off the wagon or reaching a new audience, whatever comes first). I want you to do the same. You don’t have to broadcast it to the world, but every month, revisit your resolutions and give yourself your own progress report.

Here’s to a fabulous 2009! (It can’t be worse than 2008, right??)

Till tomorrow,
C

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junk_food_junkieYou are sending out resumes, making contacts and taking on new freelance work, but what about your health? Often we find it hard to put all our concentration towards one thing and be successful at something else at the same time. The same is true of eating right and exercising during a transition period like losing your job.

Here’s a list of what I do to keep myself in check. None of these are amazing revelations, yet we still don’t do any of them and they all can help tremendously.

1- Write it down.
I spend my day writing—cover letters, blog posts, articles—so I write down what I eat, too. Did you have a bagel for breakfast? Don’t have a sandwich for lunch; try soup instead. If you had pizza last night for dinner, have some eggs and turkey bacon for breakfast instead of a toaster strudel. Being able to see what you’ve been eating (don’t forget to include the little things too—like that Hershey’s kiss every time you pass the candy jar), will help prevent you from binging or treating yourself a little too often.

2- Close your laptop and get your butt off that chair. Take 30 minutes to an hour at noon or so for a physical break. I understand that the computer has power over you and you can’t bare to tear yourself away from it, but you must. I have a treadmill and elliptical machine in my basement, so I utilize those during my physical break. But you don’t need that kind of equipment. And just because its somewhat cold out, doesn’t mean your legs can’t move. Take a brisk 20 minute walk around your neighborhood and maybe pick up your laundry while you’re at it—double the efficiency.

3- Sleep at least 7 hours. I’ve talked about this before, but keeping yourself on a good sleep schedule is super critical to successfully taking care of yourself. You can’t pass out to infomercials every night and wake up after 11 a.m. everyday, and expect yourself to get a bunch of productive work done. Try to get up at 8:30 (or 9 at  the latest) and hit the sack by midnight. You will have more energy, get more work done and be doing your body a big service, all at the same time.

Till tomorrow,
C

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chart-downEveryday we here of more layoffs, but the last couple of days I’ve been hearing of them pretty close to home. I want to jump through the phone and console the crazy and unpredictable emotions on the other end of the line, but I know no matter what I say, everyone has to go through their own mourning time. You do actually mourn—you mourn the loss of your job and to some, your identity.

If someone you know is worried about getting laid off or does lose their job, don’t attack them with how you’re handling it. They came to you because they know you are going through it too, but instead of giving into the temptation to advise, I would just let them know you are there for them. It sounds corny, but just knowing you are not alone is a key part to managing the situation. You can hear about 30,000 jobs being cut or 100,000 here and there, but you still feel as if you are the only one going through it.

Helping your pals out the right way may not exactly land you in the corner office next week, but it will make you feel better—especially if you’ve been even the slightest bit discouraged lately.

I found this article on helping out a friend who lost their job: http://www.kensavage.com/ It touches on some good points, too.

Till tomorrow,
C

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lightbulbWhat I think separates this blog from others about jobs and freelancing is that I am learning with you. I can’t claim to be an expert, but I can talk about my experience and what works for me (oh what wonderful things the web is doing to journalism?).

As you know, I’m taking an online freelance writing class through Ed2010.com. During tonight’s lecture, several students asked the instructor where to look for ideas, and he anecdotally answered with tales of walking into places and having story ideas almost hit him on the head. While that’s great for him, I understood where these students were coming from.  Though I’ve come into a setting and seen story after story walk by, when I sit down and say “OK, I’m going to develop some freelance pitches now,” I clam up and my mind goes blank.

Although the simple answer to “Where do you get story ideas from?” is everywhere, what works for me is focusing on when the ideas come.

5 Tips for Finding Stories

1- Write ideas down when they come to you.
I don’t know if you carry a notebook, put everything in your Blackberry or keep an insane system of organized post-its—but whatever you do, document your ideas when you get them. A twenty minute subway ride and two smelly passengers later, and that idea is long gone.
2- Document the ones that don’t make sense. When an idea hits you, its not always in its finished form. As a matter of fact, it hardly ever is (for me at least). You won’t see the whole picture right away, so jot down these ideas and come back to them later to flesh them out during a brainstorm session. These are valuable and can often lead to my best ideas—don’t toss them in your brain trash!
3- Please read the news. I can’t tell you how many students in my college media classes wouldn’t be remotely knowledgeable on major news stories. What’s in the news is what people want to know about! Now Ex-NY Giant Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg. The more interesting angle? The possibility he was carrying a gun because these diesel football players are scared they could get robbed in the bars and streets of New York City. Everyone wanted to know about Burress, so the story was covered from all angles. From reading the news you won’t just learn the trends of what is being covered, but you’ll see what isn’t. You’ll learn to distinguish what is actually lacking coverage and what people just don’t give a damn about—all vital information when you are trying to come up with ideas to pitch to an editor.
4- Open your eyes and ears. Make sure you aren’t just going about your day without noticing everything that goes on around you. If you overhear people ordering at Applebees and discussing how the calories listed on the menu deter them from ordering salads, that’s a story not to be ignored. Jot it down and flesh it out later.
5- Learn from ALL your experiences. Things happen to you all the time that are potential story ideas. A few months ago, I was going to my best friend’s sister’s wedding. I wasn’t in the bridal party, didn’t want to wear a little black dress and was so confused as to what to wear as a result. During last week’s freelancing class, a student pitched a story on what to wear to a friend’s wedding if you’re not part of the bridal party— everything from clothes to shoes to hair and jewelry, and to all different types of weddings (beach, church, etc). That’s a killer idea and it was right in front of me just a few months ago.

Till tomorrow,
C

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roller coasterSince I was a little too upset to blog directly after the lay off, I didn’t get to document the emotional roller coaster I was on. Sometimes (even six weeks after) that crazy bunch of emotions lets me on the ride again, free of charge. Today, I took a few rides.

Most of the time I feel energized, fueled with passion and ready to get my hands dirty in a whole bunch of tasks at once—learning the ins and outs of SEO, participating in a webinar on personal branding and compiling a list of indoor activities for kids, all in one day. And I’m totally cool with that and look forward to it, but sometimes I lose a little motivation, usually after some job news. Today’s news was only half bad, but still left me feeling discouraged.

I understand I’m not the only one feeling this way, so I wanted to share where I turn for a little career pick-me-up.

1- Your first job acceptance package. Mine is still in my inbox and though it makes me a bit sad, it reminds me that if I did it once, I can do it again.
2- Cards from co-workers. Almost everyplace I’ve worked or interned has given me a card at some point. A birthday, my last day, get well soon, etc. I keep all the cards along with others from friends and family in a pretty memory box, and read their positive messages: “You have such a can-do attitude,” “We are going to miss your smile” and “You are so intelligent and willing, it keeps us all motivated.” Those are nice statements to revisit when you’re down in the dumps about your career.
3- Read about how others are dealing with the economy. So many people are frustrated and struggling right now and many are willing to share—their stories are helpful in getting you through days like this. Don’t just think standard inspirational stories; I found this one today about living in a world of abundance and it really resonated with me.
4- Step away from your computer. Sometimes you just need to clear your head, stop reading articles (I know this contradicts yesterday’s post) and get some fresh air. Look for a job and work on your freelance assignments later, and take an hour walk to relax. Simply getting away from your home office can be very liberating and effective.
5-After your break, jump right back into it. Don’t take too much time away from your work either. You don’t want to lose your motivation or get tangled in your own disappointment. Nothing is going to fall in your lap (except maybe a winning lotto ticket. Hey, you never know.), so you still have to make things happen. I find that after I clear my head, the best way to get geared up again is to dive right back in.

Till tomorrow,
C

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This is my first post using mobile WordPress! Today was a bit hectic (hence the mobile post from the ferry on my SECOND trip into Manhattan), so I can’t stay long, but must stick to the vow.

My pal Raia (first name Nicole) gave me a ride into the city this morning for my early meeting and to pick up her otoscope case (she’s a crazy ear doctorate student and that’s the tool docs use to check out your ear). I was supposed to ready at 6:30, but instead, that is when I woke up to vibrations from several text messages. She even threw pennies at my window to try to wake me up! I got dressed in 15 minutes after I read the “today is gridlock alert!!!” message.

Not too much traffic on the way in, had a great meeting, Raia couldn’t score her ear tool case though, so it was kind of an early waste of time for her. We went food shopping for some last minute Thanksgiving necessities and surprisingly it wasn’t a zoo.

When I got home, I went over health insurance with Dad—it’s a bit of a headache and an administrative nightmare when you are unemployed. I’m going to post about that this week and explain all your options, especially if you are in NY.

Now we are on our way back into Manhattan (via public transportation this time) to meet my boyfriend Andrew and see the Macy’s Parade Balloon Inflation. Promise to post some photos.

The moral of today’s story is: I really need to get on a bit of a better schedule. Getting up 6:30, which should have been 5:45, was a bit too painful.

Oh, more freelance opportunities came in today! And go out and party kids, it’s Thanksgiving eve.

Till tomorrow (yup, I’m posting even though it’s a holiday),
C

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