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Unemployed? How About a Life with That Job?

Most idioms (old sayings) become idioms because they're true. A dime a dozen still describes cheap, commonplace items, even though nothing is really that cheap anymore. The greatest thing since sliced bread still evokes an image of something new and convenient, even though no one can remember when bread didn't come pre-sliced. And here's another oldie but goodie: Job hunting is a full-time job. Well, no, actually it's not. In fact, being between jobs puts you in the unique position of having enough free time to focus on the aspects of your life you were neglecting while you were working. Bringing your life into better balance will help you cope with a job hunt that might last months, and remind you that your job is not your whole life.

My dad likes to tell the story of when he was a young job seeker in the 1950s. He decided he would skip lunch every day until he found a job. Aside from the practical cost-saving benefits, Dad's no-lunch strategy stemmed from a sense that he should deprive himself of all but the bare essentials until he found a job. In his mind, an unemployed person should be pounding the pavement full-time, with only minimal time out for eating or sleeping. (When he retired, we teased him that — by his own rules — he should never eat lunch again.)

Fortunately, most of us don't feel the need to be quite that hard on ourselves, and pounding the pavement has gone from a literal term to a quaint idiom. We still use it, though, because pounding the keyboard doesn't have the same ring to it.

So an active job hunt no longer takes all-day-every-day. But finding the right balance of job hunting and non-job-hunting pursuits is still elusive. We tend to do too much of certain things, and not enough of others. So how do you find your ideal balance?

Here are a couple resources you might try (and no, we're not affiliated with them in any way):

  • This article from WebMD (5 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance) can help you figure out what YOU need to do to keep yourself sane and balanced while you look for work.
  • If you're more of a do-er than a thinker, check out the web site Start Making Choices. It's a set of online tools to help you balance your nutrition, activity, and well-being. You type in your goals in those areas, and it gives you a daily to-do list of options to help you achieve them (kind of like what Pongo Resume does for resume-writing — makes it easy and customizes it to your unique situation).

You don't need to skip lunch and dedicate every waking moment to your job hunt. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right? It's no good for Jill, either.

Conversely, you can't just avoid reality by playing Grand Theft Auto IV non-stop or looking at the kitties on I Can Has Cheezburger all day.

Having a life. Finding a job. If you're going to extremes on either end of the spectrum, UR doin it wrong.

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