What to do When You Are Out of a Job

By Billy Arcement—The Candid Cajun

Copyright 2021


With the chaos that has occurred in the last year because of the Covid invasion, I thought it worthy to “recycle” an article I first wrote 17 years ago, update it a bit, and share it with my readers. These are hard times for the unemployed. Jobs have been eliminated and no other position is available. Perhaps these ideas will prove beneficial to someone now job hunting.

I recall receiving a call from the President of a firm with whom I worked for a teambuilding project. After many years in the upper levels of management, and at an age where employment is most difficult, his position was eliminated. He was perplexed as to what he might now do. He desired to continue being productive in the work place, but opportunities appeared to be limited if not impossible to find.

Unfortunately, this scene was repeated many times in the past year. Each day with men and women of ages much younger than my former client are finding their income and jobs terminated. The limited nature of business has produced a cynical workforce and an insecure future for many workers. It’s become a tough world!

What can a productive worker do when they find themselves out of a job? To help those looking for work, I offer the following questions for you to answer. Why not go through the exercise of answering each one to better improve career opportunities. The data generated just might make you see your true value or potential weaknesses that need shoring up and help you get out of the unemployment line!

  1. What strengths do I bring to prospective employers that would enhance their effectiveness?
  2. Do I want to go in business for myself or do I need to work for someone else? If so, what do I know and understand about self-employment and am I ready to venture in this new career territory?
  3. What do I enjoy doing and what fields offer me job opportunities where I would be doing what I genuinely enjoy? (This can be an entirely new direction)
  4. Examine every facet of your career. List every position you’ve held and what you did in those positions. Search through the list for the most viable skills used during each phase of your career. What industries, businesses, or fields do I qualify to work in? What positions might I hold?
  5. Develop a narrative stating why you would make the ideal employee because you possess those skills. If you wish to become self-employed, ask why would someone hire a person with your skills?
  6. Can I take my experience and skills to the competition? Are their non-compete agreements?
  7. How much do I need to work to survive financially? Forty hours per week? Twenty? What income do I need, want or aspire to?
  8. Do I have other business experiences, hobbies, skills that would be useful in an entirely new career? What fields would that be?
  9. Is there someone with whom I might partner in a business venture?
  10. Ask a trusted friend what they think you might do.
  11. Make a list of every person you know that might help you find employment. Start working the list.
  12. Do I have the tenacity to make things happen in my life? How is my attitude about myself and the possibilities of finding just the right job at my age?

As you go through these questions, think about some you can add. Dig deep for more information. The outcome is to create clarity free of doubt and filled with confidence you can do it. Desiring to be productive when options appear to be few can be discouraging. But rather than wallowing in your own pity, pick yourself up and check out your value. Commit to working whatever activity helps bring a career choice into reality. Today’s unemployment lines are quite long and filled with talented individuals. Use the questioning technique to build you confidence, courage, and commitment to succeed. Vow to never give up in spite of obstacles and barriers the world places in your path. Remember, it’s the tenacious that become the winners.

On a personal note: The pandemic cancelled all live speaking and consulting engagements—my income source. I’ve invested in learning virtual training as an alternative and I’m now offering both. So the pandemic has opened new options for me. Don’t give up. Remember, failure is never an option.