With unemployment at a record high, many are finding themselves jobless, and they are wondering what to do with this unexpected gift of time. Here are some suggestions for using this time wisely:
Assess your marketability. Have your skills fallen behind? Are you on the cutting edge as far as your profession is concerned? If you find that you are not as marketable as you would like to be, this period of joblessness can be put to good use to sharpen your skills so that you are attractive to a potential employer. Attending professional association meetings can bring you up to speed with what's new and what's hot in your field. If you do not know the latest software packages, now is a good time to take a short course.
Use the time that you are unemployed to explore a new field or industry. Having worked in outplacement for a number of years, I know that often people who would have never considered doing anything different feel a certain sense of freedom to pursue other options once they lose their jobs. In many cases people find something that is much more fulfilling than they were doing before. For those job seekers who are fortunate enough to have severance packages that will tide them over for several months, this is an opportune time to do some exploration.
Expand your network. Most people find themselves too busy with work and family to devote much time to networking. But unemployed job seekers have time on their hands, and it is up to them to use it wisely. I suggest to my clients that they join professional associations and get involved on LinkedIn to expand their network beyond the people they knew on the job.
Enjoy your family. Use this gift of time to participate in activities with your family that you did not have time to do when you were working. It's a worthwhile investment.