How Long-Term Unemployment Could Help Your Career

By Sarah Li Cain

Google any news article and you'll find horror stories of people being unemployed for six months or more. You'll mostly likely read that they suffer from depression, have anxiety issues or are even suicidal.

Kind of bleak, isn't it? While long-term unemployment isn't something to be taken lightly, you can view it in a positive way. In fact, there are benefits to being unemployed!

Here's how long-term unemployment actually benefit you: 1. Take advantage of your free time. Remember when you wanted to take that road trip across Canada but couldn't take the time off? Well, now you can! You've always had something you've dreamed of doing, right? Go on, grab a pen and paper. Sit down for five minutes and write whatever comes to mind. It's not the time to drop all your other responsibilities or recklessly spend your money, but do what you can.
2. Learn to surrender. Some of us have been sending out resumes and going to job fairs for more than a few months. There's not much you can do except to try to build your skills and wait. Then wait some more. Being forced to wait teaches you that you aren't always going to be in control of your life. That's okay, because people with jobs aren't always in control of their lives, either.

3. Be empathic. Millions of Americans are unemployed. Many have to support their families, and they might be facing challenges that are even more difficult than what you've got on your plate. Now that you're unemployed, too, it should be easier to understand what they are going through.

4. Learn to identify yourself in different ways. Some people solely define themselves by what their profession is. What happens when you don't have that awesome job anymore? Being unemployed forces you to look deep inside yourself to figure out who you really are.

5. Find patience

It takes time to land another job or start your own business. Jobs don't just magically pop up overnight. Nobody is going to randomly come up to you on the street and ask you to work for them.
If you're like me, you handed out hundreds of resumes and went to numerous job interviews before landing a job. The last job interview I had involved three interviews across two months. If I hadn't been patient about the whole process, I probably would have given up.

6. Get creative. Some people find creative ways to earn an income or to get the attention of employers if they've been unemployed long-term. Many have taken the leap into freelance work or even decided to pursue the business ideas that they've tucked away for years. A friend of mine decided to make a DVD in which he gave advice to different companies on how they could improve their businesses. He was hired within a week.

7. Practice gratitude. No matter how dire your situation, there is always something to be thankful for. You've always got it better than someone else. Take the time to really think about the great things you have going on in your life. Do you have a wonderful and supportive spouse? Do you have a roof over your head and enough food to eat? Make a point to find something to be grateful for!

Even if you've been unemployed for more than a few months, don't lose hope. Sit back, relax and reflect on how you've grown personally through this experience. Just because you might not be getting ahead in your career doesn't mean you haven't grown in other parts of your life.

Sarah Li Cain is an international educator and freelance writer who blogs about reclaiming her fearlessness in life and wants to help others do the same. You can also follow her on Twitter @slicain. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals.

Should Uncle Sam Hire The Long-Term Unemployed?

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What a Load of nonsense-

#1 Take that trip you always planned on, which obviously you can afford given your current circumstances, that should be listed right after #3 "Learning Empathy", because if the author had enough empathy, the author might be aware that most folks can't afford to view long term unemployment as an "Extended Vacation", an extended vacation that involves international travel no less. Get Real!

And #2 - It is true that the degree of control we exhibit over our circumstances is never as firm as we try to make it, would like, or might mistake it to be. The fickle finger of fate can, at any moment, randomly choose to point in our direction, and strike with overwhelming force. But that said, the author would suggest surrendering what control you do have? At a difficult hour? That is Such Bad Advice. Our personal finances are not Disease or Act of God. We have some control, even if it is less than we would like. Cancer, Tornado, 14 Car Pile up... These are external forces that may catch you off guard. Finances are easy by comparison, hold on tight to the money you have left, and actively seek the next answer.

Long term Unemployed People reading this fluffy article are more likely to be depressed after reading it, than before reading it! As if they didn't feel a sense of powerlesness creeping toward them already.

Good advice would be and this is merely the very short version. I have limited characters on this message board-
1. wise cost cutting measures.
2. "The best things in Life are free" Take the time to de- stress. In the company of loved ones.
3. If Necessary utilize the local food Bank, volunteer there too, and by all means remember the food Bank next Christmas when your hard times have eased.
4. Point and link to the latest and best literature in resume writing, changing careers, Job Interview tips, ect...
5. Excersize. If you regularly did before, don't stop, if not, get started. Being active and feeling physically good wards off depression.
I could keep going. Articles like this piece of fluff are worse than nothing, it's utterly depressing in it's near uselessness. The attitude of Gratitude is the only true point made. The folks who love you will show themselves to be amongst your blessings.
I've been where the long term unemployed are, recently, for 10 Months. I truly empathize. I'd say this to my people struggling in this on going bad economy- It's always darkest before the dawn. Keep believing in yourself. Do what you have to do to keep your spirits up, for the most part that entails empowering yourself. You can't make a job materialize out of thin air without starting your own business, and that may not be an option. But the most important thing to do in that depressing situation is to know that you are doing all you can. The old prayer applies, " Give me the Strength to change the things that I can change, endure the things I can't change, and the wisdom to know the difference between the two."

November 03 2013 at 8:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Regulations on business is at a all time low so this argument is not valid. Cutting taxes again all time low. No what we have learned is that wall street is not ethical, wars need to be paid for, the middle class is starved for decent paying "real" jobs, austerity is not working, either here or in Europe and no one is talking about how to create jobs. Without full employment tax revenues drop, more people go on welfare and the deficit goes up. We live in a different age than 1920's so comparing today with then is incorrect.

April 30 2013 at 8:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to David's comment

Regulation is at an all time low????? What planet are ***YOU*** living on, Planet Ignorant?

January 31 2014 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Warren Harding

President Harding lowered unemployment from over 11% to under 3% in two years. He cut government spending in half and lowered taxes. May entrepreneurs get more and the tax man less. May the twenties roar again, it's just seven years until the 100th anniversary of the roaring twenties.

April 29 2013 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bullshit. Obviously written by someone who is still employed.

April 29 2013 at 12:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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