Summer conjures memories of catching up with friends and soaking up the sun. But what is one to do when available work takes a downturn just as our social calendar begins to swell? Winter seasonal workers and independent contractors frequently experience this trend firsthand. Whether all of the sudden or seasonal, summertime unemployment can be a real bummer.
Use these tips to beat the summer blues and make this your summer of #Funemployment:
1) Find out whether or not you qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. In some instances, misinformation and confusion regarding eligibility and the application process can result in lost payments. To their surprise, seasonal and contract workers often qualify for these payments, which can help tide you over and prevent you from depleting your financial reserves. The most accurate and up-to-date information can be found on the Maryland Department of Labor website, where you can access free career counseling resources as well.
2) Shore up your savings and request a line of credit from your financial institution. With certain kinds of work, periods of underemployment occur on a yearly or quarterly basis (think of campaign workers and ski instructors). Try to put away extra money during months of plenty to get you through the lean times. Also, consider increasing your credit limit or opening new lines of credit when you have a steady income in preparation for impending shortfalls. Finally, take this opportunity seek out free consumer credit counseling.
3) Avoid skills atrophy through continuing education and skills development. As the saying goes, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Volunteering is one way to fill gaps on a resume and brush up customer service skills, and conferences always need volunteers. Continuing education and learning new skills is also an option worth considering. With the abundance of online resources, like Khan Academy and Coursera, and course offerings at local community colleges, ongoing professional development is a strategy to keep yourself focused and engaged.
4) Keep your spirits high through networking and reconnecting with old mentors and colleagues. When people internalise their circumstances, feelings of shame and embarrassment set in and they shy away from social interactions. Avoid the urge to hide away. Instead, expand your network through Off-The-Beaten-Path Meetups and industry events. Look to rekindle relationships with old mentors and colleagues, many of whom might have advice on where to look or contacts to share. At the least, they will keep your spirits high and remind you that you are more than what you do for a living.
5) Make the best use of your free time to rejuvenate and rediscover what’s important. People work best when they are healthy and centered. When unemployed, the tendency is to party too much and wake up too late, but that only leads to lack of productivity and dips in your mood and energy levels. Instead, do the opposite by resting up and rediscovering what’s important, like health and wellness, old hobbies, and your long-term future.
Whether by choice or force, professional transitions are natural and even necessary on occasion. They are life’s way of pushing us beyond our comfort zone and preparing us for the next chapter, or a different volume entirely. How many times have you wished for more free time to reconnect with old friends, dust the cobwebs off that guitar in the attic, or attain a new skill? Take our advice and use this time to work on yourself, continue to grow and learn, and thoughtfully plan for your future to make your next move your best one yet. Above all, remember to have fun! After all, this is your summer of #Funemployment.
We all go through it. Why not make the most of it?