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How To Make The Most Of Being Unemployed

How To Make The Most Of Being Unemployed

If you are like me, in her 30’s and has had her fair share of being in and out of the workforce, you would know that being unemployed – aside from not earning the money that will pay your bills, is not that bad at all. That is, if you use this fleeting space in your life wisely.

Think of it as your own personal space. When else are you able to accomplish things without a deadline, or where nobody is evaluating your performance or expecting that you do a task a certain time? In this time of job uncertainty, make the most of your time out of the workforce. Now is your time to make yourself a better you.

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Find out what you really want.

Why did you leave your last job? Was it what you really wanted to do and what you were passionate about? Use this blank space in your career to evaluate yourself – passions, opportunities, strengths, and weaknesses. Now is your time to reflect. Use what you find out about yourself in choosing your next job opportunities.

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    Slack, but do work.

    Yes, this is the right time to slack off. No need to be at work by 8:00 am. No boss to please and no more fitting in runs to the vet for your pet’s appointment in between meetings. Awesome. But this probably isn’t what you want your life to be like forever. What you should do is get up from bed and scan the job market. Research about the company that you have always wanted to work for. Send out resumes.

    Do something you have always wanted to do.

    Dye your hair purple. Take on that hike that you never got to do because your back was always aching (thanks to your office chair). This is the perfect time to make the story of your life more colorful.

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    Learn something new.

    Attend a writing class. Get a canvas and start painting. Register for free online Excel classes. Learn to cook new dishes. Find a hobby that you can enjoy now, and that you can continue doing when you find your next job. All of these will contribute to an improved you.

    Spend time with loved ones.

    Go visit grandma and grandpa on their farm. Call your sister and ask if you can babysit her kids while she is out. Go to your parents’ house and watch a movie. Or ask them to come over. This jobless period in your life is fleeting, and so is life. So spend time with people closest to your heart.

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    Start being healthy.

    Go use that rusting bike in the garage and make it a habit to bike at least three times a week. Or start using the old treadmill in the attic and start walking or jogging around your neighborhood. Then keep on the habit.

    Be where you always wanted to be.

    Go visit another town. Or state that you have always been fascinated about. This doesn’t only make you a well-travelled person but exposes you to a different environment where your next opportunity might be waiting.

    Meet new people.

    Remember those weekends when you were stuck running errands that you couldn’t do on weekends? They are gone for now. Use your new weekends to make time to have conversations with people that you cross paths with. Make a connection. Whether it is your next-door-neighbor that is mowing their lawn and you’ve never spoken to before, or a person in the grocery aisle looking at the same product as you.

    Prepare yourself for a new you. Inhale. Brace yourself for a new you. Your next job could be standing really close to you. Be a better person for it. Savor the time where you don’t have to report to anyone but yourself. Let this time in your life turn you into a stronger and deeper person, and not the other way around. Chances like these don’t come around a lot, and when they do, make sure that you come out of it the most brilliant, well-rounded person than you have ever been before.

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    Sarah Bonander

    Writer, Human Resources Professional

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    Last Updated on March 29, 2021

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

    What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

    The Dream Type Of Manager

    My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

    I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

    My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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    “Okay…”

    That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

    I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

    The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

    The Bully

    My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

    However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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    The Invisible Boss

    This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

    It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

    The Micro Manager

    The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

    Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

    The Over Promoted Boss

    The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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    You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

    The Credit Stealer

    The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

    Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

    3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

    Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

    1. Keep evidence

    Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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    Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

    Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

    2. Hold regular meetings

    Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

    3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

    Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

    However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

    Good luck!

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