No one ever wants to find themselves involuntarily unemployed. It’s a horrible feeling to get the news, to wonder about the bills, what to tell family and friends, and how hard it can be to land a new gig. It strips away part of one’s identity in many cases, especially if someone has been with the same organization for years. But, there are some things that are upsides to unemployment:

• Free time. Think about all of the new software, sales techniques, financial practices, manufacturing systems – whatever things you can learn in your free time. If you’re a MAC person, learn Windows and vice versa. If you’re a programmer, learn a new language. If you’re an assistant, learn a new skill to help you in your next role. There is no end to what this time can be used for.

• Pay Attention. A mentor of mine once told me that these are the two most important words in the English language. When you’re working, it’s hard to keep up with all that’s going on in your industry, and in the world around you. There is a lot going on in both – good and bad. This is your chance to get caught up. It makes for great conversation (don’t get too controversial!) and makes your more marketable. It’s easy to “lose” industry specific skills when you’re not using them, so use this time to keep up on them, and even learn some new ones (see above).

• Work on your communication skills. You’ll now be interviewing and things like eye contact, and firm handshake, good smelling (or at least not foul-smelling) breath can make or break your interview. Practice now so that these things become second nature. Pretty soon, you’ll be a pro and it will show.

• Act like you are going to work. While it’s great to have free time and much less of a regimented schedule, it’s easy to get lazy and distracted. Instead, act as though you are getting up to go to work each day: in fact, you are. You have resumes to get out, networking to do, and interviews to attend. Keep your schedule as though you were going to work. It will make the transition back to work that much easier, and it will help keep you focused during your search.

• Network. While you have probably been networking, your time has been more limited because you’ve been working. Now that you have more time, select some contacts with whom you want to build a deeper relationship and start to explore that over a meal or some other social event. *Really* get to know these people. Pick carefully, and be conscious of others’ time when you do this, but if done right, it can pay off very nicely.

This article doesn’t mean to imply that you can’t have some fun while you’re not working. Certainly, just like when you are, balance is critical. It’s just intended to point you in the right direction and to keep you on track so that you can land your new wonderful opportunity.

Copyright © 2010, Trustworthy Coaching. All Worldwide Rights Reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Trust, MPA, SPHR-CA, is a Certified Career Coach and a Certified Executive Career Coach, who helps people find their passion and fulfill their dreams as they relate to careers through his organization, Trustworthy Coaching, Mr. Trust’s Coaching, Business, and Human Resources experience spans twenty years, and he has had major roles in staffing in all of his Human Resource positions. In addition, he has coached individuals at all career levels relative to their career paths, job search strategies, business strategies, and related areas. Mr. Trust is also a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF).