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Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009 06:38 am

Unemployment 101

What to do when you lose your job

At first you will want to cry. That was my experience each time I heard the “We have to let you go” bomb at 3 o’clock on Friday afternoon. Being laid off is always a shock. Your emotions will be running high as your mind tries to find a way out of this mess. There is none. The decision is made, a business decision, so do not blame yourself.

The signs were there. Now you know why you were asked to train the janitor how to use the copy machine and why people who ‘knew’ looked down when they passed you in the hall. You were going to be laid off and the decision was made long ago and as you fight back the tears, there is nothing you can do about it. This is not my first rodeo so let me give you some advice:

• Never burn your bridges. You will be mad as hell as you scrounge around finding boxes to put years’ worth of personal stuff into because you have been told you are no longer needed. Do not give them a reason now.

• Take time to mourn. Losing a job is like a death in the family and it will take time to adjust. I suggest giving it a week, talk to someone you trust and now you can cry. Hold nothing back. You have to let it out.

• Move on. You have to establish a new schedule and a reason to put your feet on the floor every morning. I like to get up early and ride my bike for about two hours, I would suggest some kind of exercise. I find myself thinking and talking to everyone including God during this time.

• Consider unemployment an opportunity. Here is a chance to reboot your life. You will learn that you are much more than the job you once had and you will be amazed at what you can do. In a way you will be more fortunate than all those people you see on their cell phones rushing to work at 7 a.m.

• Run a free “positions wanted” ad in Illinois Times [see instructions in Classifieds]. Here’s mine: “Professional civil engineer seeking full- or part-time position. Extremely versatile; excellent design and problem-solving skills within budget. Lifetime experience also includes soils lab manager and lawncare/garden/landscaping specialist with minor in janitorial services. Call Jerald Jacobs at 217/972-1080 or visit www.jacobseds.com.”

You have only lost a job, now you can find yourself.

When former IDOT bridge office employee Jerald Jacobs is not looking for work as a civil engineer, riding his bike, or writing letters to the editor, he runs his own company, Engineering Design Solutions, Inc.  
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