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Survival Guide

So, you’ve found yourself jobless. Perhaps you’ve just lost your position, or you’ve been without one for a very long time. It’s a very common position to be in recently, and it affects men and women of all ages, educational levels, and from all job sectors-- from the trades right through to the corporate CEO level.

I know many people who became unemployed in the so- called recession of the last couple of years or are having a heck of a time finding work now. And the surprise is that they’re not necessarily the kind of people you would expect to be jobless. They’re not lazy, unskilled, or have a bad employment record. They’re not practicing addicts, intentional criminals or scamming social assistance.

They’re people who are working as hard at trying to find a new job or create alternate forms of support for themselves as when they were employed. In spite of sending out hundreds of resumes and being turned down for position after position, they never get discouraged and keep their spirits up.

My first surprise example is an acquaintance in his early 50s, a man with three trade tickets who we’ll call Ned. Straight-edge, single, humorous and healthy, he had an okay job crushing rocks for a diamond company for $15 an hour. Ned could live on that: he was frugal, even if it was paycheck to paycheck. Then suddenly, boom,it was gone, due to recession lay-offs.

After a year on unemployment insurance (imagine how small that check is), Ned still couldn’t find a job, in spite of having qualifications and an earnest, day-to-day search. He sent me an e-mail when the last check showed up in the mail, asking if I knew of any open positions.

Another example is a 28-year-old relative I know who we’ll call Timothy. Intelligent, affable, well-groomed, with the so-called strong work ethic. He recently completed his university education in another city where he had no problems finding work. Timothy recently moved to Kelowna in hopes of taking more university courses and finding a position befitting his training and experience.

The result? He’s been here for eight months and after literally papering the city with resumes, still has had no job offers except two “no experience required” commission

for the Unemployed

sales offers. He tried these-- learning the pitches, going out on job shadows with other representatives, only to find the companies vanishing before they could give him a position.

And finally, we’ll talk about Mike, another good friend in his early 40s, with a college degree in communications and years of owning his own construction company--an interesting combination. Confident, well-spoken, creative, and strong in the physical and creative departments. He moved to a B.C. city from the U.S. when his marriage broke up with grand plans of switching his career from swinging a hammer to writing for a living. He had some savings from the sale of his family home. Let’s just say that after seven years, the money ran out, and he’s had no real gain in the look-for-a-job department. He is so broke he has to declare bankruptcy.

These kinds of personal reports sound grim, but they are certainly not uncommon. Happily, there are solutions, some less serious than others. Here are some of the suggestions from my unemployed friends:

Unemployment 15 Tips to Surviving

l. Realize it’s not all your fault. Recessionary periods and your choice of location to reside do affect your ability to find a job, sometimes, no matter how qualified you are.

2. Lighten up. You’ll make it through. If you have a negative attitude, it won’t help your search for employment. See this as a new opportunity.

3. Don’t be proud. If you need extra financial help, get that unemployment insurance, or if necessary, social assistance.

4. Monitor that wallet and your habits. Now’s not the time to make yourself feel better with a new plasma TV or going out gambling.

5. Move in with your parents or a mate. If that is not available, couch surf. Hey, if this is the first time, your loved ones will understand. Otherwise, you can convince your friends or relatives this is a temporary situation. Just make sure you don’t steal their bank cards and contribute as much as possible to the daily household chores.

6. Join a job-finding program or club. You’ll get

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