“It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours.”
— Harry S. Truman
Official unemployment numbers during July and early August are daunting: The nationwide rate is double-digit, with more than 1 million people filing for new unemployment benefits each week.
My name was recently added to those lists.
It’s tough being a communications professional whenever the economy falls off a ledge and plunges into the unknown. Even when your company’s core markets dry up and facilities close, getting that call from HR is a gut-punch. And yes, Harry Truman, it’s depressing.
We can sit around and sulk, or we can take steps to change our situation. Here’s what I’m doing:
- Improving myself. Even if we’re great at our job, it’s always good to challenge one’s assumptions and find ways to enhance our presentation to prospective employers. Multiple resources are available, and I’ve been learning a lot. In particular, check out these great virtual events and webinars – many of them free – from IABC colleagues around the world.
- Brooding over the economy. OK, the Commerce Department reported in July that the GDP had its worst-ever quarterly decline , so it’s tough on the street. That said, I’ve moved on. Companies still have work to do during a recession. I’m finding that postings for regular jobs are rare, but that doesn’t mean freelance or contractual opportunities are unavailable. Read on…
- Reaching into my network. I have several pending business opportunities – including an onsite short-term contracting gig in August – thanks to networking with my IABC colleagues as well as former supervisors, subordinates and friends. In fact, I just did something old-fashioned by picking up the phone – but not to send a text. I called a friend who’d just forwarded a referral for possible freelance work. That short conversation led to a second possibility. Believe me – people really do like to help, and my friends tell me that even if none of these opportunities pan out, something eventually will.
Press releases must still be written, and businesses large and small want to keep their intranets and social media platforms populated with fresh content. That’s why there’s a place for this unemployed communications professional, and I’m going to find it and continue my career-long passion to be the best that I can be.
For those among us who are still employed: Please reach out to fellow IABC members when you learn they have lost their job. Take a colleague to lunch, or go virtual via Zoom or some other platform. Share a few best practices or a lead.
I’m more than happy to engage with any members who are recently jobless due to the pandemic and scratching their heads – even if you just need an ear to commiserate. Send me an email, and we can talk. (Please note that I’ll be returning from the aforementioned business trip on Aug. 22, so my apologies if I don’t respond before then.)
Finally: The irony in this posting is that I’m responsible for IABC Detroit’s job board. We’ll be making some changes to this resource in the coming weeks and adjusting it to current economic realities. Stay tuned.
IABC Board Member
1 thought on “It’s Time to Get Busy – Even when You’re Laid Off”
Michael, great advice! It also underscores the importance of building your professional network through groups like IABC before you think you might need it. Best of luck in your search! You are an outstanding writer and friend.
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