Lesson 1: Have six months salary in the bank at all times
This is lesson is easy to remember and easy to forget. You’ve all been told for years now to keep plenty of money in the bank for emergencies and unemployment is the reason why. I didn’t keep nearly this much and I’m paying a heavy price.
Lesson 2: Always maintain your social network.
For technology people, maintaining a local network of people both professionally and social is hard work. Most folks like me would rather spend their off hours studying technology or working on tech gear, but working the room at a chamber of commerce mixer is worth it’s weight in gold when you’re out of a job. Also, as people get older, the too easily dismiss modern methods of social networking. For example, I have a [Twitter](http://twitter.com/houseofwarwick) account but most people my age wouldn’t likely know what it was, let alone how to use it effectively. Worse, it would be dismissed as a ‘waste of time’. That’s exactly the wrong attitude to have. I spent 2 hours updating mutual contacts in [LinkedIn](http://linkedin.com/in/stevekirks/) and found three people in this area that have good job leads for me.
Lesson 3: Structure your time.
Each day without a job should be treated like a regular work day. Get up on time and get to the gym like always. Be sure to leave the house and head for a library, Barnes and Noble, Starbuck or something to keep you in the public and “be seen”. Set appointments with friends to explain your situation and ask for ideas. Keeping a schedule means you get to feel like you’ve accomplished something at the end of the day and that’s important because without a job, most people feel a loss of self worth.
Lesson 4: Be upfront about your job loss.
I spent a couple of days being ashamed that I lost a job. I wondered about blame (mine? theirs? who’s?) and even tried to reconstruct events to figure out where I went wrong. In my case, the situation was more clear than others, so it was easy to move past the “blame game” and move on to getting the word out. Call everyone you can and let them know. The more people that know about your job loss means better chances at finding a new job. It also means more people to look at your resumé that can give good feedback, helping your chances with recruiters and HR staff.
That’s all for now. I’ve got more to write, but I’ve got work to do here at the house and (hopefully) an appointment later today.