Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What Not to Do When You're Out of Work

The one thing you don't want to do when you are out of work is to act like you're out of work.

This means that you do not want to eat too much, drink too much, shoplift too much, smoke too much, and sleep too little. You do not want to indulge all of your tendencies toward insouciance and terminal coolness.

As more and more of the out-of-work develop some very bad habits, the phenomenon is beginning to attract attention. Link here.

I said as much in other posts (sample here), but apparently people have not been getting the message. Given that this is the most dire employment situation in memory, the worst thing you can do is to let yourself go.

Difficult situations require moral toughness. People feel demoralized and dispirited; they feel unappreciated and unfairly judged. Many have worked very hard, only to find themselves lining up for unemployment and food stamps.

It is all too tempting, under the circumstances, to give up. It is better to see your job search as a new job, to be approached with the same seriousness, the same concentration that you would put into a job that you had.

Yet, once you develop bad habits you cannot just discard them like an old suit.

Some of those who are lounging around the house all day in their pajamas sipping Chardonnay are telling themselves that once a job prospect appears on the horizon they will rouse themselves, clean up, don that nice suit, and march forth to meet the challenge.

Sad to say, it rarely works that way. If you spend all your time indulging your bad habits you will not feel comfortable, you will not feel like yourself, when you dress up for the job interview.

As I like to put it, you will not be wearing your suit; your suit will be wearing you.

A good interviewer, one who has many candidates to choose among, will sense it very quickly and send you back to your bad habits.

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