Monday, January 8, 2007

A Benefit of Being Layoff

One of the "benefits" to being laid off is that you suddenly have a lot of time on your hands. As your Career Coach, I'll be the first to encourage you to make your job search your "job" until you land the one you want. But I also want to encourage you not to make your life only about job searching in the upcoming weeks and months. After all, there really is more to life than a job, no matter how much you like it, excel at it, or make at it.

To help you remember this in the days ahead, I'd like to suggest you schedule an Artist's Date daily or weekly from this point forward.

What's an Artist's Date? Readers of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way know that an Artist's Date is a date you take with your inner artist, or the creative part of you. Let me be quick to point out that if you're alive (and if you're reading this, I presume you are :) !) you are creative, whether you think of yourself as creative or not.

Julia suggests Artist's Dates of two hours weekly. I'd like to suggest either that length weekly, or mini-Artist's Dates of 15-30 minutes daily. The idea is that you spend quality fun time with yourself doing something that feeds you creatively. What you do doesn't have to cost a cent, but it could, if you wanted to.

Some examples of Artist's Dates:

  • Playing with art - painting, drawing, coloring, doodling, crafting, photography, etc. - without any concern for how well you're doing it. Lock your inner critic up in the closet and just play.

  • Window shopping (or buying, if you prefer) at stores that feed you creatively. This might include home improvement stores, office supply stores, paper/craft suppliers, art supply stores, hobby shops, and the like.

  • Going to a museum (did you know the Columbus Art Museum is open for free on Sundays?)

  • Playing in a child-like way - try something new, build a jigsaw puzzle, play word games, hang out on a playground, etc.

Get the idea?

Now, you may be wondering why I would suggest such a thing as part of an executive job search blog. Here's why:

  • You will need to be able to access your creativity daily in the days, weeks, and months ahead for types of positions/employers/industries to apply for; ways to word resumes and letters; how to respond to employer questions by phone; how to respond to job interview questions; how to negotiate well for your next salary/benefits package; and how to excel in your new position to help you prevent yourself from being laid off again.

A unexpected - and unwanted - event like a layoff has a negative impact on your brain. The hormones and neurochemicals that have been flooding your brain and body since you got the pink slip are also inhibiting your ability to create ideas. It is, quite literally, difficult to think clearly for days after a layoff or similarly shocking event.

Yet, you need to be able to think clearly and brainstorm ideas. Hence, my suggestion to take yourself on daily mini-Artist's Dates or a minimum of one 2-hour Artist's Date weekly, beginning immediately. Implementing this idea will help re-establish chemical equilibrium in your brain and jumpstart your brainstorming strengths so you can access them when you need them in the days ahead.

Need more ideas/suggestions for Artist's Dates you could take or other ways you could jumpstart your creativity? Sample one or more of these gems:

No comments: