Thursday, September 11, 2014

Young, Fabulous and Unemployed: Strategies for Survival


This appeared in a recent posting on the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA) site. Susan Mach, PhD, is a communication coach, trainer, and strategist. She teaches management communication part time at major NYC-area business schools, and investment research report writing at NYSSA.

Early-autumn weather is bracing. Millions of students eagerly gear up for a new school year.  Business leaders fine-tune their strategy for the fourth-quarter push.  It’s a time of optimism, renewed energy, and forward-looking thinking. 

But these times are painful for people who are unemployed. So, if you’re a recent college grad, it’s understandable that you miss the structure, rhythms, and deadlines of the semester. 

Bottom line: Take a job—any job.  As long as it won’t harm our health or violate you ethics, any job is better than no job.  If you hate it, leave it.  But it’s worth a try. 
Here’s why:

  • Structure:  Having a job means having a schedule. Regardless of what kind of job it is, you have to manage time, balance family and work responsibilities, and plan your days. Plus, as you continue to search for the job of your dreams, you have to stay focused, in shape, and highly presentable. So you might as well earn some money.
  • Revenue: Even if it’s a low-paying job, at least you have a revenue trickle, if not a stream. It will enhance your emotional intelligence: Imagine the challenges people face when they have no education, no skills, no credentials, no network.
  • Network: Video games, Facebook, and texting can be fun, but they are also time vampires. And having no job can lead to loneliness and isolation—which have deadly effects on your morale. Most jobs require you to interact with others. You never know where your big break—an idea, a contact, a job lead--will come from. 
  • Skills: Today’s job market is a skills game. Every job is an opportunity to add to our personal skills arsenal. If you can wait on a table of six demanding customers ordering breakfast with a total of 18 unique configurations of coffee, omelets, and toast, you know how to stay calm under pressure. If you can stock shelves in a grocery store, you learn a lot about inventory management, customer preferences, and global trends in the food retail industry. If you’re working as an assistant day-care worker, you observe a wide variety of learning styles and you sharpen your ability to communicate clearly and concisely.
  • Forward movement: Taking any job demonstrates your work ethic. It’s not giving in to paralysis. It’s not standing still—and that’s what matters most these days.


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