Surviving Unemployment – Part 2, by SwampFox

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.)

Searching for jobs can be done in multiple ways. If you’ve filed for state benefits, you’ve likely been enrolled in a state employer search database. Make use of this, as the employers linked to the state are likely to be hiring constantly and not too picky. If you just need some money coming in, you’ll be hired soon. If you want to wait for a higher quality job, begin searching online. Local listings on Craigslist, Indeed, Monster, and other search engines are a reasonable starting point. I’ve discovered, however, that the oldest technique is still the best:

Apply in person! I’ve had many immediate interviews this way, and it has led to most of the jobs I’ve had since I was in high school. In-person applications make you stand out from the rest. Dress for the job you want, shake hands, make eye contact, and appear honest and positive. Your first impression is the best one. Even if you don’t get the job, save the contact information in a file. If unemployment appears in your life in the future, you will have a file of leads that you can start with immediately. In-person contacts, even unsuccessful ones, are never wasted time! If an employer seems like they are interested, keep knocking on that door in person until it opens. Be polite but persistent both in person and on the phone. Show your interest and determination, and after a month an undecided employer may give you the job you’re looking for. Assume anything but a firm “No” is a “Yes” waiting on you to make it happen!

Consider making a career change. If your field of work isn’t taking you where you want to go, figure out how to update your credentials and shift to something else. I used unemployment benefits to pay my bills while I went back to school for a month to get my Commercial Driver’s License – something I’d wanted to do for a long time but never had time for. Not only did going to school enhance my credentials, attending an accredited program exempted me from certain work search requirements while I was unemployed. It gave me time to find the job I really wanted, rather than taking something immediately that was in my field but less desirable. If you are considering going back to school, avoid debt. Make sure that what you’re doing makes sense and will lead you to a better career than what you currently have. Check that jobs exist in your desired field. Make sure that any program you attend has a way of connecting you to potential employers. The last thing you want is to spend time attending a program, spend the money you’ve got, and still end up struggling to find work.

While you are unemployed, use whatever time you aren’t searching for work as time available to improve your life. Start with your finances. Since money is an issue, you will never be better motivated to make changes than at this time. Analyze your savings, your bills, and your investments. Cut waste! If you have property, materials, and tools, use time wisely to accomplish projects you’ve been putting off. One irony of life that I’ve noticed is that while employed, I constantly wish for vacation time and days off to accomplish projects at my house. When unemployment arrives, I constantly wish to go back to work. Instead of wishing for what you don’t have, take advantage of what you’ve been given. Make progress!

If you have tools and a means of production, you will have plenty of maintenance work and projects to do. I had opportunities to make money almost immediately by doing home repairs and fixing people’s vehicles. I could have easily paid my monthly bills that way. I also have a garden. By having a garden, wild resources, and animals, I have a food supply that is easily replenished. My first period of unemployment was during the summer, and I was able to eat mostly from the outdoors. I didn’t even dent my stored food, and I purchased nothing. My second period of unemployment was during the fall and winter, so I used some of what I had stored. Even then, I was able to avoid making purchases and avoid using my savings.

Unemployment is miserable and takes a while, so you’ve got to find a way to cope with how you are feeling. Even if you spend 50 hours a week searching for work and meeting contacts, you still have evenings and weekends to fill. Even if you spend time at home doing useful projects, your energy is limited and so are your resources. And remember, you have limited money to entertain yourself, so “retail therapy” won’t work. Getting fired or laid off is very demoralizing. You feel helpless, trapped, and if you live by yourself like I do, you feel lonely. If you’re growing a garden and working on projects, you’ll feel overworked in spite of not going to work. It wears you out! Some people end up needing therapy for mental issues while unemployed, or even resort to committing suicide. Be proactive, and take your mental state very seriously!

For me, my church gave me an answer to unemployment-related depression. During this time, I attended church more frequently. I spent time reading Scripture and praying. Through the church, I found other people who were going through similar struggles. Since I have a bunch of tools, I found ways to volunteer my time doing basic home and vehicle repairs for people who needed it. I could have sold my services, but since God blessed me with savings and government benefits, I volunteered those services instead. What I found was amazing – giving even in a time of need was incredibly uplifting. I got to spend time with good people, and get out of my house. Helping others gave me victory over those feelings of helplessness and loneliness. It gave me perspective.

My situation wasn’t pleasant, but I was still blessed in ways I had taken for granted. Even when the solution to your own problems isn’t immediately available, helping others solve their problems gives you back the power in your life. It shames Satan, and shows God your thankfulness and trust in Him. You may not end your unemployment process this way, but you’ll have “peace that passes all understanding” in the middle of it.

After Unemployment

Once you’ve gone back to work, don’t relax just yet. This job could disappear as easily as the last one. I found that out when the construction job I’d taken laid me off after only three months. It was surprising and discouraging to be unemployed twice in one year. While it may be tough to think about, prepare for the next round of unemployment as soon as you have a new job. Don’t get blindsided! Start by regaining lost savings as soon as possible. Even though you have money coming in, you’ll have to remain at your unemployment spending levels for a while. You may even have adopted a new permanent way of living life and managing money. If you have a family, you’ll have to explain your thought process to them. People expect that when a situation resolves, life will immediately return to “normal.” Normal may not return for a while. It may never return. Perhaps it shouldn’t! If you’ve learned something through unemployment, don’t discard it as soon as you get another job.

Even though you are focused on success at your new job, spend time preparing for the next job. Stay organized. Update your resume, again. Keep the list of contacts you made during your unemployment process, and save it in a file. Keep all the business cards that people gave you when you made in-person visits, and attach them to whatever notes you made about your appointments and interviews at that location. Those business cards contain valuable information such as phone numbers, e-mails and addresses. If you become unemployed again in the near future, you can revisit people who might remember you. Keeping their card is a physical way of demonstrating that you valued their time and the connection that you made. What was “No” last month could be “Yes” the next time around.

My Lessons

“No plan survives contact with the enemy.” Even if you’ve thoroughly prepared for unemployment and have resources, you will learn something through the experience. Stress will, by itself, cause your mind to function differently. While I learned a few things about preparedness and the employment process in the current era, I gained even more insight into myself.

First, I was reminded that life will kick you when you are down. I was unemployed twice in one year. I was relieved when the first period ended and I found a job, only to be laid off three months later. I hadn’t recovered, and the surprise was bitter. Frustration happens when you expect one thing and you receive something else. I had expected to recover my lost money and momentum, and instead received another setback. Expect trouble! A little paranoia is sometimes a healthy thing, so stay alert for the next problem.

Since I live alone, I tend to be self-sufficient. The stress of unemployment revealed the fragile nature of a single man’s connection to his family, friends, and the outside world. I discovered that the church was a lifeline. While I didn’t need economic support, increasing human interaction was necessary for mental health. Doing acts of service gave me a perspective on the lives of others, and opened my eyes to avenues of side income that I could rely on in the future. More than anything, going through unemployment increased my reliance on God. All good things are blessings that come from Him. When we keep our eyes focused on the One who gives the blessings rather than the blessings themselves, that relationship can sustain us when other things fail.

Finally, timing affects all sorts of aspects of the unemployment process. I’ve stressed the importance of preparing beforehand, and reacting appropriately to unemployment as soon as it happens. But some things come down to luck, and some things come down to somebody else’s timing. When you’re unemployed, you want an immediate resolution to a problem that will take weeks or months. Don’t let your hopes and expectations blind you to this timing. Expect that often, your deliverance from the situation will take place at the last minute.

One of the elders at my church gave me this bit of advice when I was stressed out about waiting: “God is always on time. Never late, and seldom early. The people of Israel had to see the Egyptian army closing in on them before God parted the Red Sea.” That advice gave me hope, and adjusted my perspective! Expect that the end will come, but also expect the greatest stress right before your victory. Your preparedness and God’s deliverance will bring results, but stay focused on the fact that you’re preparing for a process, rather than a single event.


  1. When describing your past jobs to potential employers, whether talking or writing, tell them what you have observably DONE in each previous job. I.e., “increased profits 12% by changes in delivery process,” “discovered additional parts suppliers to avoid production delays,” “sold 12 more units a month than other salesmen by carefully listening to customer’s needs,”stopped thefts by installing cameras.”

  2. I was offered a job, out of the blue, just hours before I was laid off. I started the unemployment process, but there was a glitch. I had money. I had a job in my pocket. I didn’t pursue the glitch. (I hate electronics). Long story short, it was 2 months before I got my first paycheck. If I hadn’t been forced to take my RMD from my IRA, I’d have been sunk.

    Another resource, friends. Let everyone know you are looking for work. I’ve gotten jobs from elevators, LinkedIn, text messages from strangers, but mostly former colleagues. It pays to keep in touch.

  3. No plan survives first contact! Amen,

    When I first became disabled, I believed it would be temporary, however, medical bills from the many surgeries racked up and before I knew it my somewhat extensive savings had dwindled to nothing.

    All I can say is, the best preps and thoughts without testing will fail. This article is awesome! Thank you!

  4. When next the wolf knocks on the National door, we will discover these differences between the Great Depression and the Greater Depression to come:

    The morality of the people has changed, and not for the better;

    The Federal level safety net will make the bottom not so deep;

    If one could not make it in the 1930’s, most people could go back to the farm. Not this time;

    The overall indebtedness of government at all levels;

    If a household had a wage earner in the 1930’s, there was still fear of job loss but things were still stable. If inflation wipes out the middle class, then who is safe?

  5. ▪︎Through “thick & thin” in life, I’ve learned much from both situations, but by far most-est from the “thin” times. And I agree, stress (of “thin”, especially “abrupt thin”) is harsh! At those times, it “pays” to have: Emergency Savings, Friends (God the most), and a rational mindset that allows you to “think clear in the storm”! As was told to me once, “When Storms hit, first thing to do is Slow Down! Don’t just jump all about. Sit (especially mentally) & ‘Wait for a Pattern to Emerge!’ See that Pattern, and then Proceed Forward with Clarity & with Caution!” I would add wise Counsel to this, as well.
    [1 Timothy 6:7 KJV: “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”]

    ▪︎Preparing for (big) potholes is a lifestyle; a mindset actually, far from today’s USSA mainstream. To do this now, one will place themselves right outside the door of mainstream America, steady derisions to self, included. Good thing, actually. It’s always time to Learn to Think for Oneself – on this God-given Solo Journey called Life!
    [Luke 12:15 “Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”]

    ▪︎Living out of debt is, to me, the core of this type of lifestyle; a lifestyle of truth & basic rational, stable, common sense…something most don’t understand nor want to sacrifice their pursuit of “stuff” long enough to learn, in these weird last days.
    [Romans 13:8 “Be indebted to no one, except to one another in love, for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”]

    ▪︎Bible Study Pearl of Truth. Find online & on OATV in your area. Old very wise Cow Farmer from his ranch out in Oklahoma, taped 30″ Bible Study TV presentations, 1990-2009 (or there abouts), that reveal a clarity to just “what’s in the Book” like no Others we’ve ever seen in our many many years of “church”. Ours comes in over ION TV channel, M-F. Super find for Bible Truth study, we now feel, without the wrong add-ons. Great show to get non-believers to see to finally possibly “get it”! A lot to ponder, once start watching. Great find. See what you think. No pretense. No fund-raising pitches or pushes. Just straight Bible Truths, presented by a honest, learned “Old Cow Farmer”!
    [Romans 10:15 “And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'”]

  6. Wow, this article created a lot of anxiety even though the last time I was job hunting was 16 years ago. The only other time was four months after I had bought my first house and I had a wife and kids to support, hence the anxiety even after 30+ years.

    I don’t have anything to add other than to the younger folks, and the parents/grandparents of younger folks, be sure there are jobs for whatever it is you may be studying in college or trade school, which will survive the 2020’s. One piece of advice I have that many people disagree with is to follow your aptitudes, not your passions. Sometimes they overlap but often they don’t. Spend the money to take a professional aptitude test, not some hokey online one, and find out what your brain is best wired for. I followed my passions and learned too late in life that my passions should have been my hobbies, not my life’s work.

    I’d love to give the talk to incoming freshman at college. The title would be “Show Me the Want Ads!” Whatever educational pursuits you have, whether it be a trade or a degree, make sure you search the want ads ahead of time before you ever start down that educational path. Be sure there are lots of opportunities in your field before you spend all that money to find out there aren’t. Your professors will lie to you so tell them, “Show me the want ads!”

    1. The opportunities may be gone, the time you´re out of college or university because the market may be oversaturated at this time so the want ad´s may be as old as the news from last year then.

    2. St. Funogas, you’re right about following aptitudes instead of passions. I was a political science major, but that didn’t work out, so now I’m in IT. I don’t love it, but I’m doing better than ever before, even in this government-created depression. Still, if I didn’t have to work, I’d be a writer.

  7. This was a great pair of articles, very well written with good advice. And that’s coming from someone (me) who spent the last 20 years writing articles about employment law for a target audience of Human Resources professionals and Safety Managers! Great comments from so many readers as well.

    I also worked for a few years as a manager, and hired a number of people during that time. One thing I looked for was Potential. Even if the candidate did not have the exact experience (or others seemed to have more), if the applicant across the table showed potential to learn, develop, and grow in the job, then I was more likely to make an offer.

    At one point, I rejected a very experienced applicant (who another manager then hired); I instead hired a recent college graduate with no experience but a lot of potential. My hire is still in the job (and was since promoted) while the experienced guy didn’t work out an left the company. If you can show that you’re willing to learn and adapt, I think most employers will see you as more valuable.

      1. The experienced guy left voluntarily, but was getting performance evaluations that pretty clearly showed he’d be terminated soon (a termination should not be a surprise, if the company has been communicating expectations, explaining where the employee is not meeting them, and explaining the consequences). He was experienced in similar fields, but was not adapting to the new company’s style and expectations, nor was he learning new material very well.

        1. Fair and reasonable expectations?
          I knew people who quit because their employers/superiors had unacceptable expectations, who didn´t fit the contract they both agreed to or in one case after the company closed the outlying department quit en masse because they didn´t want to work in the company headquarters because they´d no desire to work in that rule zero climate

          1. To the employer those expectations were probably reasonable, off an employee finds them “unreasonable” they certainly are free to find a job better suited for themselves. For some, “unreasonable” expectations would just be a challenge.

    1. “One thing I looked for was Potential. Even if the candidate did not have the exact experience (or others seemed to have more), if the applicant across the table showed potential to learn, develop, and grow in the job, then I was more likely to make an offer.

      At one point, I rejected a very experienced applicant (who another manager then hired); I instead hired a recent college graduate with no experience but a lot of potential.”

      Absolutely! For my data-crunching team back in the cubicle farm days, I always looked for people who were willing to learn, above just about any other trait. I’ll never forget an applicant we spoke with. The resume was quite impressive so we called them in first. SO self-important – clearly thought they were all that and a bag of chips, obviously a shoe-in for the job because they had once worked on a NASA contract, acted like we were beneath them and didn’t even completely listen to the questions asked… after they left we just stared at each other in amazement. Wound up hiring the application whose previous experience was as a church admin. That one worked out great because they were detail oriented and willing to learn!

  8. Great article! People should read it twice as there are some solid tips provided.

    During the Great Recession after the 2008/2009 financial crisis I delivered seminars on finding employment at a large church in Central Florida. There were so many people unemployed – window installers, real estate agents, bank employees, sales, construction, the list was essentially endless. People were losing homes and cars, selling off possessions and doing whatever they could to make ends meet. I was unemployed too, and I remember well how stressed I was about paying bills and just surviving.

    We really focused on the social media aspect of marketing yourself. A strong LinkedIn profile was really key to getting recruiters to notice you. We encouraged expanding these profiles to be an almost complete resume including a minimum of 15-20 key words that recruiters typically search for, then rapidly building your bank of connections. Didn’t have to be with people in your same industry. Everyone reading this probably has 100 people they could connect with today on LinkedIn. Believe me when I say this works. All of my job offers since 2008 have been sourced via LinkedIn. This includes contract work and full time middle management and executive positions.

    My son graduated from a tech school and posted his newly created LinkedIn profile. Within 72 hours a recruiter contacted him about a solid job opportunity that was NOT in his field of study; two weeks later he interviewed and accepted an offer. His new job is based here in our little town where very few jobs are posted.

    Don’t stop expanding your network once you are employed again. Spending an hour every month or so connecting with new colleagues, etc. is simply banking the time that would be involved in a future job search. Maybe you can link up one of your unemployed contacts to a job opening in your company – thats the way most jobs are filled, and they will remember that gesture for the rest of their lives.

    Always have an emergency fund ready (reduces stress tremendously). I like the idea of six months but do what you can to get started. We all know what’s coming. If I could save enough to cover 12-18 months, believe me, I would! It also gives you some instant capital to deploy should you decide to go after a good opportunity to turn a profit, etc.

    If your job is at risk due to market conditions across your industry, you should begin searching for employment in an industry that is more stable – the best time to do that is while you still have a job.

    Keep growing your skills – if you have time to take classes now, do it. You may qualify for up to $2000 in continuing education tax credits. Do your research!

    If you are laid off, there are unpublished programs that will literally pay for retraining (including college tuition, books and fees), food, rent and unemployment if you were engaged in certain kinds of work. Again do your research. A good unemployment specialist that cares about their job can really help in this area. We found out about programs for our sons through our pastor’s wife, who was an administrator at a local community college. I’m not talking truck driving school opportunities here either (not knocking truck drivers here) – high cost specialized training programs may be available.

    Most of all, pray. I’ve been unemployed in the past and God absolutely listens to the prayers of those in need. I have a personally experienced and heard stories about finding employment that are proof positive of God’s miraculous intervention and favor. It is way beyond anything the could be considered circumstance. Praying should be your first job search activity.

    And as the author notes – storing supplies in advance helps. Reducing living expenses by digging into stored food can seriously reduce your expenses. My wife and I sincerely thank Mr Rawles and his influence in this area.

    Hope this helps. Again, great article by the author and thanks for posting it!

  9. Great set of articles with lots of concrete application! A couple of additional thoughts:

    1) Credentials: Credentials, be they certificates or certification programs, in many ways are the new “back to school” and can literally cost thousands less than a formal education. Especially if you are staying in your current field, it can help you move ahead while looking for a new position.

    2) Keep a list: When I was unemployed 11 years ago, I kept a list to make sure I was doing all I could to apply for new jobs. I had a list of sites I went to. Every day I would keep track and make sure I was doing it. And after that, I would not let myself worry further because I had taken action for that day.

  10. If you work/want to work in a clerical setting, do not apply for a job in person.

    I’m a fairly typical corporate middle manager who has had hiring responsibility at three different organizations over the past five years, including in my current position. If you are seeking work in a clerical environment, either at the staff level or supervisory level, *do not* apply for a job in person. I speak as someone with recent experience.

    The method is outdated and makes a candidate appear as though they haven’t kept up with the changing social norms. And it’s easy to go from “can’t keep up with changing social expectations” to “can’t learn new technology” to “can’t do this job.”

    The in-person approach might still work in physical/manufacturing positions where computer literacy isn’t assumed. I wouldn’t know. But in an office/clerical setting, I can assure you it sends a terrible message. You will probably creep out the people you are trying to impress, and you definitely won’t get hired.

    A word from the green eyeshade world.

  11. When I was head of HR and doing the hiring, I had a rule on resumes. I rejected any applicant for HR work who had more than three typos on their resume. My subordinates thought I was too harsh.

    My response was that above all else, people doing HR work to support others must take the time to be accurate in communications, and either proofread their own work correctly, or follow thru with someone who would proofread for them.

    It’s about providing customer quality more than a feelgood exercise to hire someone just looking for a paycheck.

    Any interview who showed sincere enthusiasm was pretty much a good candidate, in my book. They were uncommon to find.

    1. Ok, working with migraine brain here, but will make a stab at it.
      1- thru
      2-feelgood (feel-good?)
      3-last paragraph– interview should be interviewee, although that doesn’t really look right, either.
      Ok- I give up- what are they?

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