Don’t Panic #2 – Prioritize your Needs

How soon after accepting that you’re unemployed do you go out and do something about it? The best answer, in my opinion, is “a couple days later.” Why? Because you need to decompress. You need to let off some steam, and take a mini-vacation before making your job search a full time activity. I find this important because we need to approach our job search with a fresh perspective, prepared and better informed than ever before.

Don’t Panic – A Working-Class Guide to Employment

#2 – Prioritize your Needs

When I got laid off in December of 2010, I cleaned my slate quickly. It was easy; I was not satisfied where I was, and the environment was nothing short of toxic. I washed my hands of it the day they let me go. No matter what sort of paperwork or responsibilities would come my way in the days ahead, they were not on my mind for the better half of a week. Not everyone may share my view, but it enabled me to take a new look at what truly matters to me. I have needs, as do we all.

Take a new look at what truly matters.

With that, I’d like to briefly visit Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, one of the most fundamental theories in developmental psychology. As per this theory, human needs are placed conveniently in five separate categories. Given we all have a basic understanding of it (from the link provided above), we should confidently place ourselves at the bottom of this diagram. We satisfy this first (physiological) need by waking up each day, feeding ourselves and simply living. But without a job, or a “career” in our midst, we are not truly satisfying any other needs.

Don’t panic. You will satisfy these needs, one after the other, but first things first. We have to strategize our lives around what we have (our health), and what we don’t have (a steady source of income). If you’re collecting on unemployment, you must use your money wisely. Shop smart, if at all. Go online for ways to reduce your living expenses. A good mentality for this will help you conserve even after you find a new job.

Strategize around what you have and what you don’t have.

Create a system that organizes our professional life. You will refer to it, and add to it, as time goes on. Prepare yourself for much more than just a simple online application process. In today’s economy, you’re more likely to find a job through a networking contact than through a public job listing. Consider that as you begin taking the next step. With all this new time on your hands, use a bit of it to redefine what you’re looking for in career.