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Friday, June 10, 2011

6 lessons from a year of unemployment

This week marks one year of unemployment. I have had the opportunity to have some great conversations this week about unemployment. In all honesty, I really can't believe that I have been unemployed for an entire year. But here I am and I have learned a few lessons I would like to share.

First, fatherhood is awesome. The last year has given me the freedom to stay home with my two kids. While I will admit that there are times where I felt like I wouldn't survive the day, most of the time is was one adventure after the next. I am given one opportunity to be a dad and I intend to make the best of the time I have.

Second, you never know what life will throw at you, so be prepared. Live within your means. If you are new to unemployment let me be the first to tell you--stop spending. Even if you only freeze spending for a couple months. The spending freeze will allow you the freedom to adjust.

Third, even good friends don't always know what to say in a crisis. This is true in any crisis--death of a loved one, break-up, illness or job loss.  If you know someone in the midst of a life transition, don't worry about what to say, just say something. If you are unemployed the important thing is to stay positive. Focus on you and taking care of yourself. Surround yourself with leaders and professionals and positive people.

Fourth, don't just network with the unemployed. Sure it is true that misery loves company, but someone without a job probably won't have a job for you. That said, it can be helpful to trade notes, connections and recruiter names.

Fifth, starting a blog won't get you a job. Part of the reason I started this blog eight years ago was because I never wanted to be in this position. Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be easier for me to find a job if I wasn't so visible? While starting my blog hasn't helped me get a job, starting a blog for my wife did end up landing her a gig.

Finally, don't give up. Unemployment is a season. If you are in PR continue to check this blog. I have posted nearly 250 jobs just this year. Be picky. Be intentional. Be patient. Good luck.

This has been a challenging and emotional season for me and my family, but I am grateful for the lessons I have learned. I am thankful for all of you who have offered me support during this difficult time. Looking forward to what the future holds.