Managing joblessness...wait, did I say "joblessness?" I mean to say unemployment-induced helplessness. As many contemplate the end of their service in public schools as librarians, teachers, and instructional technologists due to Texas Budget Cuts, I've found taking the following actions helpful.
- Talk to everyone you know and ask for letters of recommendation. In a short time, those people you get letters of recommendation from may be unemployed or in different positions. Ask them now for letters that are undated and address various aspects of your expertise. Sure, you may be a technology expert, but if you're also certified in writing workshops or bilingual education--or pick your poison--then ask them to write about you from THAT perspective. That way, you have multiple letters reflecting the diverse talents you might exhibit when employed.
- Start a GoogleDoc list--I use the Spreadsheet--to keep track of all the jobs you've applied for, their status and resolution, etc. I've found this to be particularly gratifying, a concrete way to show that I'm not just sitting around waiting for someone to call me and say, "Hey, buddy, need a job?"
- Apply for jobs outside education. In this crisis, it's not enough to apply for jobs within education since there are hiring freezes in effect. Apply for jobs OUTSIDE education.
- Share the news with colleagues. Although job cuts are ubiquitous as a result of Texas State Legislature's proposed, unprecedented budget cuts, reach out to your professional learning network (PLN) and let people know what you're going through. You never know who might be reading that can provide insights.
- Update your resume, and build an ePortfolio site. When a colleague found out teammates would be losing their jobs, she offered to create ePortfolio sites for them at no cost. Of course, you can always build your ePortfolio site yourself using a wiki, such as GoogleSites (free), Wikispaces, or others and buy a domain name so that you can easily share that with others. Fortunately, I have always had a desire to keep my resume and eportfolio site up to date. You can find mine online at http://mguhlin.net
- Become familiar with how to collect unemployment and handle health insurance. Be sure to ask your current employer what benefits are available to you. Don't forget to ask about vacation days, sick days, etc. and what happens next with those. In regards to health insurance, COBRA is health care you'll probably have to pay for and is mandated by law to be provided to you. This can be expensive, especially if you have children on your plan (as I do).
Finally, as a blogger/writer, I have to process my experiences by writing about them. Some how, sharing what I'm going through with others enables me to better endure what is happening to me. This improves my morale and impacts my attitude in profoundly positive ways.
What works for you? Any advice you have to share?
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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure