One of the most common and stressful situations we can find ourselves in is quitting a job or being laid off, and then finding that it takes 3 months or longer before a suitable position comes up.
When my family first arrived in Australia, it took nearly 6 months before my husband was fortunate enough to be offered a position that fit his skill sets and experience. With a four-year-old and a baby due, our savings dwindled quickly with rent, a second-hand car, and relocation expenses as we established our new lives.
Here are three tips to help you get through the waiting period with minimal stress until your next pay cheque arrives.
Tip 1. Take control of your finances.
Like anything of a character-building nature, financial discipline is hard, but it is achievable if you’re highly motivated. And the best thing about it is: when living on less becomes a habit, it means that when your circumstances improve, you now have more disposable income to put towards your dreams and causes.
- Start putting money away before you need it. If you aren’t already doing so, consider a direct deduction arrangement straight from your salary to a savings account that you cannot make withdrawals from. This takes care of the temptation to dip into your savings. You won’t miss what you’ve never had.
- Be ruthless and cut out anything that is not absolutely essential. You’ll be surprised how well you can manage on less, and how good you will feel knowing that you can focus on your job search without the spectre of debt looming over you.
- Start thinking creatively of how you can expand your income. What side jobs can you take on? Can you start a small business from home? What are you good at that you can help others with? Find positive-minded people whom you trust, and brainstorm ideas together. When two or more minds come together for a common purpose, it’s astonishing how easily and quickly the ideas come, and how perfect some of them may turn out to be for your situation.
- Ask family members to help out. If you have children aged 15 and over who are living at home, encourage them to take on a part-time job to help out with their own expenses. This is a good way to teach them valuable life skills, and help them appreciate the importance of being financially self-sustaining, and of being part of a family that helps each other.
Tip 2. Treat your transition period as an opportunity to plug any gaps and improve your position.
There is so much more to the process of getting a job than sending out job applications. The waiting period is the perfect time to get help for those personal or professional gaps that may be holding you back, and to increase your mastery of specific aspects of your life and career. You could take an online course, attend networking Meetups to meet people from similar industries or professions, or speak with a career coach to gain a better understanding of your behavioural profile, and use this information to equip yourself for your next role. The rewards are increased confidence that comes from knowing your true worth, and being clear about what you are seeking in your next job or career. Once you’re working full-time, it may be a long time before you get to do this vital inner work.
Tip 3. Say yes to opportunities that come your way.
As you let friends and associates know about your career situation, they may connect you with
their contacts who work in your industry of choice. Even if the position turns out to be not quite
what you wanted, you still gain valuable experience interviewing for it, clarifying what you really want in a job or career, and speaking with people who are already working in the industry.
If it looks like the next job is not forthcoming, adjust your expectations and say ‘yes’ to whatever comes along. Don’t reject an opportunity just because it looks like hard work, or is not what you are accustomed to doing. Say yes first, then work out how. Take care of today’s needs so that you can continue your quest for the right job or career tomorrow. My husband’s first job in Australia was to stack inventory in a store alongside students on summer holidays. He was 41. Not exactly his dream job, but it paid the bills and gave him something productive to do while he continued sending out job applications. He did this for 5 months until his first successful interview.
Whatever your current situation, do everything you can to improve your situation and to stay positive and engaged. Things can and do look up, and this time of waiting too shall pass.
CAREER COACHWWW.CAREER-CHANGE-CONFIDENCE.COM WWW.SERENALOW.COM.AU
Serena Low left the legal profession and migrated from her home country of Singapore to Australia to answer the call of the eternal question: “If not now, then when?” She finds her greatest fulfilment in helping dissatisfied career changers make the leap from what they are qualified to do, to what they really want to do. Serena is the author of the upcoming book The Hero Within: Reinvent Your Life, One New Chapter at a Time. She can be reached at www.Career-Change-Confidence.com and www.SerenaLow.com.au.