Surviving Unemployment

If you find yourself out of work for the first time in a long while, you may be ‎surprised to discover that you can actually turn this period into a productive ‎one. Since no one can tell you how long your job search will last, it is a good ‎idea to take control over this stage of life and make it a useful one. One thing ‎is for certain: the outlook is that we are going to experience an increase in ‎unemployment in Israel in the months ahead.‎

First, it helps to know that the new paradigm in career development includes ‎periods of productive, gainful employment including interruptions or breaks ‎every few years. This is due to a rise in factors such as employers' ‎downsizing, organizational restructuring, company mergers or buyouts, and ‎other often unpredictable changes in response to a range of high impact ‎market factors. ‎

So, if you are a typical job seeker, you find yourself looking for a new job while ‎sitting at your computer for hours at a time. Meanwhile, you are no doubt wondering how long you will be out of work and how to cope with the ‎uncertainty involved in a job search during a period of increasing ‎unemployment. Not to mention the obvious concerns about your dwindling ‎bank account.‎

Here are some tips to keep in mind during the period ahead:‎

‎1.‎ Visualize - It helps to "depersonalize" the process you recently ‎underwent. You cannot afford to allow yourself to feel like a victim or to ‎internalize the feelings of rejection that naturally arise when retrenched. ‎I recommend you consider changing the script: instead of replaying in ‎your mind the scenes which most represent the humiliation you may ‎have endured when being let go, try to use guided visualization to ‎focus on what you want to see happen in your next career move. ‎Research demonstrates that those with a clear vision of the job they ‎seek have greater success in their job search. Now is the time to ‎determine your next career step and to envision yourself in that role - ‎even though it may not happen "tomorrow morning." Use that vision as ‎a guide and stimulus to action.‎

‎2.‎ Get pro-active. Utilize your social network and that of your friends and ‎contacts to get your CV directed to decision makers in organizations ‎where you see yourself having a contribution to make. Your CV must ‎speak their language, so you may need several versions, each directed ‎to the kind of position and organization you would like to contribute to. ‎Do not hesitate to ask friends and relatives to help you by forwarding ‎your CV to their superiors or to their other contacts who would benefit ‎from you as an employee. Use social networking sites and identify the ‎hidden job market- it is out there and accounts for over 70% of jobs!‎

‎3.‎ Yes, see yourself as a resource center with the ability to contribute ‎skills and knowledge to your potential employer. Focus on these ‎strengths when writing your CV and when speaking about your abilities ‎and goals, especially in interviews.‎

‎4.‎ Think outside of the box. Stretch your mind to reach out to new ‎markets, consider positions that you might have ruled out in the past, ‎identify market niches where hiring is still taking place (and indeed it ‎is!), look into starting your own business (Contact your local MATI at ‎  which is an excellent resource to evaluate ‎your business idea). Consider temporarily relocating geographically if ‎needed, commuting, or volunteering in an NGO while upgrading your ‎skills, making a contribution, expanding your network and keeping ‎occupied for now. ‎

‎5.‎ Now is the time to learn. This is a chance for you to upgrade your ‎knowledge in a subject that is in high demand, such as language or ‎computer skills. This may be an opportunity for you to take that course ‎which will help you to excel in your next position, or to learn the ‎material on-line. Try: Nirshamim or Coursim.  If you are in need of and eligible for retraining, ‎speak to a counselor at Sherut Hataasuka Note their job search tips offered ‎under the heading of "yeutz taasukati."‎

‎6.‎ Get physical. Since the refrigerator beckons to those who are home-‎based, I urge you to follow the UN's recommendations for staying ‎healthy and in shape. You will look and feel better, and that counts for ‎a lot in job interviews. Aim for 30 minutes at least 4 days a week. You ‎can do this without spending money: even a fast-paced walk in your ‎locality will do. This is your chance to implement those "healthy ‎behaviors" you never had time for before.  ‎

‎7.‎ Act as if you are still employed. Maintain your habits of waking up ‎early, self-care and grooming, keeping in touch with colleagues and ‎former co-workers. You can't afford to let yourself sleep in, lounge ‎around all day, stay up all night or take a sustained time-out from life. ‎Neighbors who see you looking unkempt or acquaintances who find ‎that you appear poorly maintained will be reluctant to help you find ‎employment and may be less willing to offer you support. If you have ‎children, they need the reassurance that you are still there for them ‎during this time of personal instability. ‎

‎8.‎ Get back to nature. Mother Nature has a healing effect. Israel ‎abounds with free beaches, parks, forests, trails and vistas. For more ‎info visit the KKL website.

‎9.‎ Get out. Find a reason to get out of your home each day: send letters ‎via the post office, sit in a coffee shop to read the Friday newspaper ‎want ads, make a coffee date with a friend each week , and run ‎errands just to get out of the house. For instance, on Fridays all the ‎newspaper wants ads can be found in Café Aroma. ‎

‎10.‎ Find a supportive friend who can be a listening board, mentor, ‎advisor or coach to you as you go through the ups and downs of a job ‎search, including possible rejection and disappointments. Most ‎spouses are too invested to be objective and a source of support. Try ‎to find a friend who has been through a career change and who knows ‎how to be empathetic and a patient listener. Alternately, join an online ‎chat group or support group for job seekers. If preferred, you can hire a ‎coach or turn to a career or other counselor for their services. ‎

‎11.‎ Reduce your expenses. This is an opportunity to reexamine your ‎finances, including reducing your outlay for non-essentials, including ‎newspaper subscriptions, numerous phone lines, recreational and ‎costly food items, unnecessary purchases, etc. If you still need to make ‎one-time purchases during this period, you may want to join a bartering ‎club such as Bank Hazman obtain free ‎items via useful web sites such as Freecycle or buy them second-hand at ‎bargain prices on-line. I have bought everything from cars to furniture ‎to children's clothes second-hand and have saved thousands in the ‎process. ‎

‎12.‎ ‎Make a difference. Offer to volunteer while you are conducting your ‎job search. Benefits you can obtain include: staying active, feeling that ‎you have much to offer others, discovering dormant abilities, filling your ‎time in a meaningful way, and developing new relationships that can ‎help you in your job search. Ami volunteered on Fridays in a shelter in ‎Ashdod for teenagers until his position ended after 26 years of service. ‎The shelter immediately offered him a position that was vacated rather ‎than offer it to someone unknown to the organization. See options at: ‎Shatil

‎13.‎ Stay balanced. Do something for your spirit, activities that challenge ‎your brain as well as your body. These could include: yoga, meditation,‎prayer, listening to uplifting or spiritual music, Chi Gun (see Youtube for excellent examples), free online courses or ‎lectures on positive thinking and the science of happiness, Suduko, ‎puzzles, brain games, or any other activity that gets your mind or soul ‎fired up and can get you "flowing". These help keep the blues away ‎and can help you thinking in a positive way which has proven itself to ‎be instrumental in helpful job seekers maintain an optimistic approach. ‎This is a necessary step in the self-marketing process, especially after ‎a layoff. Take the time to invest in yourself: you will ultimately find it to ‎be the best investment you can make!‎

© Copyright by Judy Feierstein, CEO of Transitions and Resources, is a career ‎counselor with expertise in selecting a new career or college major. She can be reached at

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