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If You’re Unemployed, You’re Working for Yourself

May 2, 2011

If You’re Unemployed, You’re Working for Yourself

The official unemployment rate in the United States is hovering around 9 percent.  The unofficial rate is said to be about twice as high and includes those that have given up looking for a job or who are no longer eligible for unemployment benefits – therefore there is no way to officially count them.  I know several people who have lost their jobs due to the recession and I know how hard they are working to find new ones.  It is a very humbling and frustrating process.

People who are self-employed are sometimes described as “working for themselves.”  This is true enough, although most are also working to support their families.  They are simply their own boss.

People who are unemployed are also working for themselves, assuming they are actively seeking new employment.  They are not drawing a salary but they are working and they are their own boss until they land something.  They have the option to drive themselves aggressively and push themselves beyond their comfort zone to achieve their goal or to be more reactive.  They can wait to see what opportunities present themselves or they can try to create opportunities.  They can decide how active or passive they wish to be, just like any self-employed businessperson.

These thoughts came to mind when I heard about a professional who had been laid off and decided to truly “pound the pavement.”  Rather than simply responding to ads or job postings online, every day he put on a suit and tie and went door-to-door in office and business parks seeking a position, resume and cover letter in hand.  He was turned away repeatedly but he refused to get discouraged. He visited hundreds of businesses, simply cold calling, and most of the time never getting beyond the receptionist.  However, he also made impressions, eventually generated interest, and got interviews.  A few led to referrals and eventually job offers.  His actions demonstrated his tenacity, initiative, work ethic, and the type of employee he would be – one who would do whatever it took to be successful.  His actions were probably more powerful than the words he put on paper, and differentiated him from hordes of others seeking similar positions.

I mentioned this strategy to a few people I know who have been unemployed for several months and feel very frustrated.  It’s just one of many ways of making looking for a job a full time job.  I helped them brainstorm some creative methods based on their particular careers. The objective was to help distinguish them from the pack and increase the odds a hiring manager would actually be impressed by their efforts and read their materials.  Perhaps these unemployed individuals were only being polite during my conversation with them.  None of took action to truly work as long and hard each day seeking a job as they would work if they were employed. Although they are working for themselves, they continue to be mostly reactive.

Those who are unemployed have a lot riding on their success.  The question is, how much time and effort is truly being devoted to the process?  The answer to that question varies from person to person, and the answer for each is revealing.

The first person one must lead is oneself.  Do you know where and how?  How much energy and ingenuity are you truly putting into it?  Are you the kind of worker you would like to have working for you, based on the work you are doing today — whether you are employed or not?

Steve Weitzenkorn

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One Comment leave one →
  1. darwin1234 permalink
    May 13, 2011 9:28 am

    Thanks a lot, im a freelancer writer, this blog
    helps me a lot and give some vital information
    because i had a website

    Job Centre

    thanks again

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