How to deal with (F)unemployment

After leaving my job in December and moving on to pursue greater things for my career, I wanted to use this time to build my brand to effectively switch industries from advertising to technology. Now I could dedicate my mental energy and undivided attention to looking for the next opportunity at a company where I can see myself grow. I have been asked by acquaintances, friend and prospective employers, “What have you been up to during this time?” While the acquaintances simply ask this to understand what a person does with their day because they can’t imagine themselves in a similar position, the employer is really trying to find out whether you have been using this time off productively.

During this time, I have been networking, meeting a lot of amazing individuals in the Toronto tech scene, learning about new skills like product management using online courses, books and articles, and going through a lot of interview and the complicated hiring processes. I have been trying to use this time to reflect and be true to myself, my values and my goals. I am trying to maintain a big picture mindset and not settle for the first thing that comes. Every single day, I try to remind myself that this is an opportunity to focus on passion projects.

Unemployment isn’t always (f)unemployment, it truly depends on an individual. I am extremely hard on myself so during this time of “funemployment,” here is what I have accomplished:

· Attended at least 10 networking events

· Built my website

· Completed multiple case studies for prospect employers

· Countless phone and in person interviews

· Reading “The Lean Startup”

· Working with an early stage startup to launch their product and consult on their business plan

· Took an online course in Agile Product Ownership

So, without further ado, here is my two cents:

For the (f)unemployed:

· Use this time to clearly carve out where you see yourself in the next year and 5 years

· Reflect on responsibilities and tasks you enjoyed in your last job

· Find your Why and make it part of your plan

· Document — whether it’s a spreadsheet of active job apps or writing to calm your nerves and mind

· Talk to your loved ones, your family and friends

· Lastly, work your butt off on things you always wanted to do, whether it is getting a smoking hot bod, building your website, an app you wanted to build and finding your next opportunity.

For those who know someone who is funemployed:

· Don’t use the word (f)unemployed

· Ask questions rather than passing judgment

· Show interest in their journey but not as much interest as their mother (i.e. texting them every week about the status and leads)