Economists believe we are currently in the worst global economic times of the past 70 years. World growth rates are low or negative and unemployment has increased significantly. Some sectors have been hit harder than most with massive job losses in the finance and manufacturing sectors. The once-revered USA car makers have been fighting for their lives and some financial institutions have failed.

This has resulted in a large population of displaced workers, including many professionals. Most of these people have enjoyed uninterrupted employment until now. It is a new, frightening experience for some people especially if they have mortgages and other debts to service.

The longer someone is unemployed the more depressed and helpless they may feel about their circumstances. They may begin to doubt their abilities and their general demeanour may be affected. This may become obvious to potential employers and make it even more difficult for them to find work.

Anybody in this situation should have a set of coping strategies to deal with this period of their lives. No doubt this time will pass. However, the better planned and structured the person is the more they will take away from this experience. Here are some suggested coping strategies to turn this time into a positive adventure:

  • Associate with positive people who are making forward progress with their careers and lives. While it may be more comfortable to hang around with other displaced workers this may not actually help you move forward.
  • Get fit by establishing a regular fitness regime. Exercise is great source of positive stress. Not only will you look and feel better but you’ll also be able to think more clearly.
  • Build your profile. Use this time to raise your profile to that of an expert by writing a book, article(s) or blog. This will repay itself many times over.
  • Volunteer. Rather than sitting at home volunteer for a non-profit organisation and get involved in some part of their business. These organisations are crying out for help and by contributing it will raise your self-esteem.
  • Family Time. Allocate more time with your family to do fun things. Treat this time as a gift, not as a burden. This time is priceless.
  • Set a work plan. Each week write down what you want to achieve for that week – i.e. 2 job interviews, write an article, network with 5 people etc. Hold yourself accountable for achieving this plan.
  • Contemplate your navel. Figure out what excites and interests you. Investigate a career or lifestyle change, if that’s what turns you on.
  • Look for inspiration and motivation everywhere. Read motivational books; watch motivational movies; attend motivational events etc. Anything that will help to move you forward is a good thing.

There is no point in sitting around waiting for things to happen. They won’t. Get out there and make it happen. Have a plan and work it hard. Create and build your own momentum. There are lots of opportunities out there even in challenging times. You just have to hunt them down.