Unemployment – opportunity or limitation?

Many people have told me that a layoff presents a great opportunity to find just the right job. It’s a chance to explore various career opportunities and discover the one that matches my skills and temperament. (Dare I say it, maybe there’s one out there that I’ll enjoy.)

I agree and disagree. Being jobless opens up my schedule; I no longer have to spend 40-50 hours each week at work and another 8-10 on the subway. I have free time to explore what’s out there, experiment even. Being jobless is also a major blow to my bank account, even with the unemployment insurance. So while I won’t be sleeping on a park bench anytime soon, I do need to find something before the money runs out. In other words, I’m on the clock, and it’s ticking. And in case you haven’t noticed, the job market kind of sucks at the moment.

I suppose a layoff is both an opportunity and a limitation. In the early days of a layoff, it seems more like an opportunity – so much so that many don’t even bother looking for work. There’s all the time in the world to see what’s out there – to read career development books, to take informational meetings, to be selective in your search. But for the unemployed, money is a little more finite than time. As the days drift by, the opportunities afforded by the layoff give way to limitations. You’re a little more willing to work for less money than you previously earned. You’re a little more willing to work outside of your chosen field. Eventually you’ll take anything just to get a little money coming in.

Let’s hope none of us reach the point of desperation, though I fear some of us will. Take advantage of the unemployment’s opportunities but be aware of its limitations. Somewhere between the two extremes there’s a nice balance.

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One Comment

  1. Melissa Morrell wrote:

    unemployed.

    Monday, May 18, 2009 at 11:21 am | Permalink