I wrote the following while I was in a period of searching--for full-time employment; fullfilling, meaningful work and ministry; for my sense of self. Being underemployed took it's toll on me physically, spiritually and mentally.
I plan to write and publish an article on self-care for those looking for work or changing directions. (So please do not steal these lists or send them to your friends in an email--I trust you!)
I invite your feedback, especially if you have had similar experiences looking for work or searching for self. Please share your stories. And let me know if I can quote you in the article!
50 Things to do while you are looking for work
By Arlene M Franks
All Rights Reservced
1) Pray, meditate or do something that will help you take care of your spirit. When we are struggling, we can feel insignificant and small. We must remind ourselves that we are supported by something larger than ourselves.
2) Find or develop a community—church, support group, book group, bible study. It’s important not to isolate yourself.
3) Write to friends/family—especially those you’ve been out of touch with for awhile. (But pay close attention to step 4!)
4) Surround yourself with people who support you—avoid negative people.
5) Visit museums and galleries for inspiration.
6) Go to the library—pick a subject and explore new territory for your mind.
7) Volunteer at local agencies. Your main job is getting a job, but you need some time to focus on something else, and volunteering is a great way to refocus and rejuvenate.
8) Meet friends for coffee—it’s cheaper than a meal, and they may even pay!
9) Write letters to the editor about local issues that are important to you. Again, it helps to refocus sometimes.
10) Write letters to your representatives about an important state or national issue.
11) Rearrange your home—move the furniture around, put the TV in a different spot, use the linens in the back of the closet and change the color scheme in the bedroom and bath.,
12) Organize your stuff—throw and/or give things away that you don’t need anymore. You might find some things you forgot you had.
13) Make art projects out of scraps at home.
14) Look for short-term projects that pay. Your local government, schools, library, place of worship, a local business, may be looking for someone to do a task that will help them complete an important project, but that regular staff don’t have time to do. Ask around, these positions are usually filled by word of mouth.
15) Learn to barter—baby-sit for help on your resume; type a thesis for babysitting services, etc.
16) Attend free concerts and lectures—stimulate your mind and spirit!
17) Use public transportation—not only do you meet a lot of interesting people, but you can feel a sense of accomplishment in navigating the system.
18) Read—check out all those books you’ve purchased over the years but never read.
19) Take care of your physical needs. Your being sick doesn’t serve anyone, and besides, you can’t afford it!
25) Breathe—we forget the small stuff when we are concentrating on the big tasks.
26) Drink water—it’s brain fuel.
27) Stay connected—did I mention, you shouldn’t isolate yourself? Keep up your involvement in community, neighborhood, church, and family activities as much as possible.
28) Journal or blog about your experiences, your life, your expectations and goals. It’s a great way to release a lot of the anxieties, frustrations and confusion about what is happening in your life.
29) Tell your story to others—most people are willing to listen and many will be able to help in some way.
30) Listen to other people’s stories—you will be amazed at how many others are going through similar difficulties.
31) Ask for help—there is no shame in it, and most folks want to do something but don’t know how best to help.
32) Help someone else—it takes your mind off your own troubles, at least for a moment.
33) Maintain as ‘normal’ a schedule as possible. It will help keep up your resolve and your energy.
34) Utilize the Internet—if you don’t have access at home, most libraries have computers available to the public.
35) Listen to music, for obvious reasons.
36) Watch a sad movie—it can be cathartic
37) Watch a happy movie, even a silly one—it can lift your spirits.
38) Increase your vocabulary or learn words in another language. Another thing to do while you are at the library.
39) Make up bumper sticker slogans—it’s distracting and there are companies that will actually pay you for slogans they can use.
40) Write greeting cards—same as above. Check out the Writer’s Digest, either from the library or online for lists of companies that accept submissions.
41) Learn a new skill—increase your keyboarding skills or teach yourself to crochet.
42) Take your ‘work’ outside your home—the presence of other people, sounds, smells, sights, can be stimulating and help you keep from isolating.
43) Count your blessings—we tend to forget the good things in our lives when we are in a slump.
44) Take one moment at a time. Planning and goal-setting are good, but when plans go awry, we need to keep moving toward the goal.
45) List your accomplishments—we tend to forget them when we are not doing our life’s work.
46) List your strengths—you can draw on them to keep moving forward.
47) List your weaknesses—only because we tend to dwell on them when we have a setback like unemployment. List them and then either put them away and out of mind or take the next step listed…
48) Find ways to change your weaknesses into strengths. So you think you seem too eager when you interview? Change that to enthusiasm and make it a part of the interview, as in, “I am so excited to have this opportunity!”
49) Do your most important work when your energy level is highest. If you’re not a morning person, for instance, don’t force yourself to get up early to fill out applications and set up interviews. It is counterproductive to present yourself to the hiring world when you are not at your best.
50) Keep moving—don’t give up.
12 Things friends can do to help
By Arlene M Franks
All Rights Reservced
1) Pray for me.
2) Pray with me.
3) Share your stories of struggle—you may be an inspiration.
4) Check in on me by phone and email—I may not always reach out when I need help.
5) Tell me how I can help you—I need to feel useful and connected.
6) Invite me to lunch or coffee—and let me pay my half if I offer.
7) Invite me to go places that are free of charge—I need to get out of the house.
8) Make me laugh.
9) Allow me to cry.
10) Help me acknowledge and use my gifts—I need to believe I am strong, capable and competent.
11) Remind me of my accomplishments—I tend to forget about them.
12) Help me stay involved in the things that are important to me. I need to see that I can still have a positive impact on my community, neighborhood, church, and family.