For Working Girls in-between jobs, even the slightest gap in employment can jilt our carefully-planned-out lives. If you're like me, structure is invigorating, and knowing where you're going to be and what you'll be doing from 9 to 5 each day is a blessing. However, if you're currently in-between jobs, unemployed or simply taking a creative break by choice, here are a few tips for making sure that you stay on track and make the most of this open season in your worklife:
• Don't sleep in – Really, don't. Alright, maybe allow yourself to hit snooze for the first few days in, but maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is paramount to making the most of your days. Waking up at 8 a.m. or earlier will allow you to take care of housekeeping items like answering emails, running errands and working out, so you can focus on the real meat of your day, whether it's throwing your energy into your blog, jumpstarting your job search, launching your own business, or a mix of all three.
• Actively seek opportunities to network – This is a big one. During your newfound free time, ensure that your professional development is in check by seeking out happy hours, conferences and meet-ups in your area that will connect you to like-minded individuals in your industry. A great place to start is Creative Mornings – see if there is a gathering scheduled for your city soon!
• Don't apply to jobs – ...all day long, that is. Holding yourself to a standard of sitting for 8 hours a day applying to jobs will only set yourself up for failure. Not only will you eventually go crazy, but you'll be wasting time that could be better spent networking, learning new skills, or working on creative projects. A good rule of thumb? Devote the first two hours of your workday solely to applying to jobs, devote another hour to following up with employers, and then focus on other tasks. With due diligence, a great opportunity is bound to turn up.
• Think twice about accepting that offer – After being periodically unemployed, it's natural to want to jump at the first offer that comes your way. However, it's important to consider all facets of your would-be job before accepting. What are the benefits like? Is there an opportunity for upward mobility and leadership? Is the salary on-par for you? A good rule of thumb is to think of it this way: if unemployment wasn't the issue, and you were simply transitioning from one job into this one, would you accept? Don't let feelings of desperation scare you into making the wrong choice – the perfect fit is bound to come your way.
• Travel, far and wide – If you were diligent about saving while employed, it's safe to say that you have some funds in the bank. Using your free time to travel is one of the best things to do during this time, because it beats the blues of focusing on the negatives and forces you into new environments where you can meet new people, learn new things and immerse yourself in new cultural experiences. We're not saying to plunk down your hard, cold cash on a whirlwind European adventure (although that would be nice!), but visiting friends around the country is a great way to see new cities without breaking the bank.
What are your best tips for making the most of an in-between job season in your life, Working Girls? Comment below or tweet us your thoughts, @HeyWorkingGirl!