Gateway to something greater

June’s Challenge: Managing Your Unemployment Part 2

I’ve actually started using my home office instead of sitting on my couch. This means that there is a puppy who can’t stop exploring the room he’s only been in once before. In those short 20 minutes, he chewed through a computer cable so he hasn’t been invited back until now. We’re giving it another try today since he hasn’t chewed anything lately except the sticks in the front yard he keeps trying to sneak into the house.

Next to me is the stack of books about careers, business, lifetime plans that I’ve been slowly making my way through. Somehow I’m reading them all simultaneously. However, there is a definite theme of the books, as I am using this time to do my research and make sure I’m making the right choices going forward.

Suddenly finding yourself unemployed can leave a lot of time alone, it’s easy to become depressed, especially as you start your job search and begin the rejection process. Focusing on the positive, of your strengths, your accomplishments can go a long way.

Before you start your job search, do your homework on yourself. There is a tremendous value in taking the time to step back and review your career goals, determine the type of position and company where you want to work at next, or maybe you want to do your own thing. Either way, use this time to take stock of what you want out of life. Being prepared and understanding exactly why you want to do what you do will come through in your interviews and help impress those doing the hiring.

Determine Your Direction

One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to view this time as an opportunity for self-reflection. Ask yourself:

  • Did you enjoy your job, or was it just something you did?
  • What about it did you love?
  • What did you hate?
  • What are you really good at? What comes “naturally” to you?
  • What do you have to offer to employers?
  • Why should they hire you?
  • What kind of industry/company do you want to work in?
  • What kind of company culture do you want?
  • Do I want to work for a small/medium/large organization?
  • Is the nonprofit, or government world for you?
  • What are the things you can’t live without when it comes to a job?
  • Where do you see yourself?  What does that environment, company, people, responsibilities look like?
  • What do you want to accomplish next?
  • What do you want your life to be like?

As you ask yourself those questions and more, find resources to get you thinking, find new industries or positions you didn’t know existed, and then determine what that position, job, company, industry is that you’re looking for, understand how it aligns with your strengths and accomplishments, and make a plan to go for it.

Resources I’m Currently Using

Below are some of the books I’ve been reading to help me look at things differently and be open to new possibilities. I’m also scheduling interviews with friends who have found or created interesting jobs for themselves.

The books I’ve been collecting for the past year and am finally cracking open to read include:

Strengths Finder 2.0, by Tom Rath

My sister recently recommended this book when I found myself looking what I want to do next. The best part of this book is that it comes with a secret code you can use to take an online quiz to help you identify your strengths. I had hoped for a secret strength I didn’t know I had that would cause the clouds to part and give me all the answers for what I’m meant to do in life. Instead it gave me a list of strengths and ideas of how to apply these strengths. Helpful, but there were no surprises for me. If you’re curious, my strengths according to the quiz are: Strategic, Arranger, Significance, Ideation, and Communication.

The Art of Work, by Jeff Goins

It’s about finding your calling, and how to apply it, with a focus on writers/writing. I’ve had this book for a year and only read the first chapter, I spend far too much time reading about writing versus the time I spend actually doing it. The week my work ended, I saw an announcement on Facebook that Jeff was going to do an eight-week session to go through his book and the accompanying workbook. Incredibly smart of him. Each week he does a FB live video to discuss a chapter in his book. I’m enjoying the series and the book quite a bit.

Born for This, by Chris Guillebeau

I’ve read Chris’s blog, The Art of Non-Conformity for a few years now. As someone who traveled to every country in the world, and created a life for himself around the things he enjoys doing, I appreciate reading what he has to say. His new book just arrived from Amazon, and I’m 59 pages into it. The basis of Born For This is to “help you find the work you were meant to do.” So far, so good.

Choose Yourself, by James Altucher

I read the first half of this book on the flight back after a client meeting that didn’t go as well as I had hoped it would. The book, “Choose Yourself illuminates your personal path to building a bright, new world out of the wreckage of the old.” I skimmed through the doom and gloom predictions of the future and managed to pull out a few nuggets of information that I found helpful as I went through it.

Start With Why, Simon Sinek

I just purchased this and am about 25 pages in. It expands on the author’s Ted Talk, which was fantastic and inspiring. His book is described as, “it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired – and it all starts with why.”


When I look at these books in one long list, it’s apparent that I’m double-checking my strengths, looking at how to ensure I find a job, or create a job based on my strengths.These are just the books I’ve been looking at. In the past I used The Pathfinder, by Nicholas Lore, and people have been relying on What Color is Your Parachute, by Richard Bolles for approximately a million years. Each person is going to be different in the information they need, the questions they ask themselves, and what they want to explore.

There are a lot of blogs, books, and resources you can use to step back and assess your next job, your overall career, your life, the meaning of your existence. Please share the resources you have found helpful for your career in the comments below!

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