The following is a guest post that I wrote for Joanna over at The Online Beat, a great internet resource for jobseekers. I hope that you'll check it out. In the meantime, I owe a huge shoutout to Joanna for the chance to guest post. Here it is:
THE SECRET TO SURVIVING A JOB LOSS
How's that for a teaser? So what is the secret to surviving a job loss? A killer résumé? The hours that you spend looking at online job listings? The number of face-to-face contacts that you make networking?
This is not a post about any of those things, although I do think that networking is an important component of any job search. Instead, this post is about something more meaningful. What I am talking about is community.
My husband lost his job in the spring of 2007. He had been with the company most of his adult life, and through a series of cell phone calls, his entire department was eliminated in one fell swoop. It really hurt. More than we could have imagined.
After six months of pounding the pavement, my husband found his next job. I’m so proud of him and how he threw himself into his job search, but we both recognize that we could not have gotten through this difficult time without our community.
By community, I’m talking about the family, friends and co-workers who rallied around us. While we were caught off guard by my husband’s job loss, we never could have imagined how generously people offered their support.
I mean it truly was amazing. There was our friend Pete, who called almost daily to check in, and who gave us endless help with résumés and cover letters. There was our friend Gary, who made sure that my husband got out of the house for some R&R at least once a week. There were friends and co-workers who beat the bushes for job leads. And there were friends and family members who surprised us daily with touching acts of kindness.
We count ourselves as truly blessed to be members of such a rich community. And I believe that anyone who is suffering through a job loss needs the support of a community to get by. But what do you do if you are not feeling the same sense of community that we did?
First, you have to let people know what is going on. It is so natural to be uncomfortable about telling people that you’ve lost your job, but no one can offer you support if they don’t know that you need it. You’ve got to open up.
Second, don’t lose sight of the fact that you have much to offer. Even at your most vulnerable, you have many gifts. What can you do to create value for others?
Third, don’t forget to take a break from your job search to socialize. Invite someone to grab a cup of coffee. Meet some friends to play basketball. Organize a potluck dinner.
Finally, work at creating new communities. Start a networking group. Organize fellow job seekers to share job search tips, critique each others’ résumés and rehearse for job interviews.
You can get through this, with the help of others. In the words of Cicero, "We were born to unite with our fellow men, and to join in community with the human race."