I live in New York City and I am currently unemployed. In the last couple weeks since my arrival in the city, I have organized a small advisory board consisting of close friends and their contacts, recruiters, temp agencies, my wide array of stations on Pandora to keep me sane and oh so kind strangers I have met along the way. While I am able to sustain myself for the time being, mission #1 is to get ANY job so I do not fall victim to severe malnourishment and/or acute spaghetti poisoning. While on the hunt for temporary part-time employment as well as enjoying my daily people and squirrel watching, I incredibly had just enough time to come up with My Five Job Search Commandments During a Time of Perceived Armageddon (said with booming voice):
1. Eat generous servings of humble (pizza) pie – I recently read a story about a man who lost his job as a manager of a restaurant and in order to support his family he took a job delivering pizza for Dominoes. He fell into a brief period of depression at his current position in life, but eventually was offered a full-time job in which he was able to better provide for his family. I continually remind myself that no one can ever take away from me what I have already accomplished and many successful people have had to roll their sleeves up and bite the pride bullet. Pizza is also very tasty in New York and it’s fun to dance during consumption.
2. Believe in yourself or no one else will – Ok it sucks not having a job and it sucks even more when someone asks you what you do for a living. I used to hate answering this dreaded question, but you soon realize the importance of utilizing this moment to market thyself. If there was ever a time to show some confidence in your skill set, this is it. And shit, if anything you might get a number from a beautiful woman who salivates over bone-crunching, crack back hits during a football game or a striking man who knows how to spell commitment and has yet to remove The Notebook from his DVD player. Accept your temporary situation and put on your happy face because, in the end, it will be one less day you have to answer that question.
3. Laugh in the face of discouragement – Unemployment is nothing short of a swift kick in the nards. And yes, Wolfman’s got nards (obscure movie reference for kids of the ‘80s). Hopefully luck is on your side and you will find employment quickly, but if not there will surely be a day when you want to ram your head through the drywall in your apartment or toss your Macbook into the Hudson. Commercial jets float so why not your laptop right? Hold on tight to your sanity and seek solace in the old adages your Nanna and Pop Pop drummed into your brain as a pimple-faced adolescent. Oh wow they sure have some meaning now don’t they?
4. Tap the most unlikely sources outside of your network – There will certainly come a point where you have exhausted every contact in your personal network and in order to prevent friendship fallout from constant harassment via phone calls, texts, IMs, Facebook wall postings and popping out of bushes as they arrive home from work (I haven’t gotten to this level yet), you need to reach out to people of entirely different networks than your own. I recently went to a concert with a close friend of mine and her boyfriend. She works in interactive and digital media and knows of my interest in that industry, but I just happened to be speaking to her boyfriend (who is not in this industry) about my progress so far. It did not take long for him to produce a powerful contact for me to get in touch with and I was definitely surprised and appreciative.
5. Write down a daily regimen and stick to it – One of the most important things I have learned so far is to NOT sit in the apartment all day wrapped tight in my blanky furiously typing away. Yes, it is important to reach out to your contacts on a regular basis and beam your fancy shmancy resume to every corner of the Earth, but the reality is employers are on a completely different schedule than you and will look at your credentials when they have a minute to do so, which as you remember from your working days is not very often. So in the mean time, get a month free gym membership from your friend, go check out a museum or a new movie, read to keep the old brain sharp like a switchblade, avoid watching the stock ticker and, above all, remain calm.