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How to Survive a Spell of Unemployment

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Though the economy is on the up and up, it’s still common to hear people complain about being out of work. Especially in a city as transient as DC, there are many people who are searching for jobs or waiting to start a new position. If you live in an urban area, it can feel disheartening to watch well-dressed crowds head off to the office every morning when you don’t have a place to go.

But don’t get yourself down. If you’re between jobs right now, there are plenty of “survival” techniques to get you through the days and set you up for your next position.

Exercise
Lululemon founder and business guru Chip Wilson has been known to say “sweat once a day to regenerate your skin”. He believes in the power of exercise to balance the mind and body. Working out and raising your heart rate is a great way to boost endorphins and improve your outlook. Many unemployed individuals feel lost or aimless without a job. This mental state can become overwhelming after a while, so a surge of exercise-induced “feel good” chemicals in the brain does a body good.

Embrace Your Hobbies
What do you love to do most? Build model airplanes? Tinker with old computers? Read fashion magazines? Now is the time to throw yourself fully into these hobbies. Not only will you enjoy each day and have a reason to get up in the morning, you will hone important skills and have something interesting to talk to friends and future employers about. And, you never know, maybe you’ll land your dream job, which will mean you're getting paid to do what you love.

Reconnect with Friends
Studies show that 27% of new hires were referred by someone and referrals are the #1 source of external hires. This means that every one of your friends can potentially recommend you at their place of work. When you’re unemployed, you’re more flexible that many of your working friends. Take time to meet with them for lunches, coffee, after-work happy hours – whatever it takes. Professional networking can sometimes feel forced or awkward, but if you simply strengthen your bond with friends, it’s easier to ask for a recommendation or reference down the line.

You may not land a new job right away, but try to take advantage of any time off to improve upon yourself. As corny as it sounds, fitness, fun, and friends can go a long way towards helping you secure your next job and make the most of your time out of work.

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