Surviving unemployment- problem solving

It's a truism in the case of unemployment that What's not part of the solution is part of the problem, and if there's one thing unemployed people don't need, it's more problems.

Everything can be a potential problem, from just getting up in the morning to basic shopping. People seem to create problems, and it's pretty easy to wind up wondering where the time went, and why nothing seems to be happening.

Unfortunately for unemployed people the unemployment services system is itself the main problem, in many cases.

One of the main reasons for this is that it's very easy to get into a purely reactive situation, when you're unemployed. Every day, somehow, produces something else which has to be done, some distraction or nuisance which interferes with getting a job. Add bureaucracy, and you have a real problem.

This situation is in fact the primary problem, particularly when you're first unemployed. Everyone else seems to know what you're supposed to do, but you don't. That's one of the main causes of the constant supply of Things To Do.

It can take months to get any real understanding of what you actually need to do, and of course as the time moves on, your exposure to other nuisances and unproductive uses of your time increases.

You can find yourself in what seems to be an eternal, grinding process of job applications and case management, where progress is very slow, if it happens at all. The main topic of meetings with case managers is your problems finding a job, and everything astonishingly winds up back at Square One. There are a lot of unrealistic expectations and the assumption that a job will just appear out of thin air.

The fact is that jobs happen when they happen.

Nothing can speed up that process but good applications and good interviews.

A lot of effort can be wasted going for jobs for the sake of going for jobs. It's a total waste of time, and your hard work can be much better applied to achieving some actual progress.

There's only one way to definitely stop this useless process before it starts.

Find an objective, something which is acceptable to your unemployment service, where your time is used productively, and you know you're going to be achieving something. That can be training, qualifications, internships, some form of unpaid work which helps your CV, or another activity which can keep you out of the various ruts unemployment creates.

All the useful parts of the unemployment services industry are based on a combination of services and employment initiatives.

The system is geared to provide information and assist the unemployed. More often than not, that doesn't happen, because nobody knows how to use the system, including the service providers. They're told about schemes, and given the application forms, and that's about all that happens. They're not even necessarily sure who's on their books who would benefit from those schemes.

You'll find, invariably, in any form of unemployment services, that there are any number of schemes available to help unemployed people. You can participate in things which will at least give you some training, experience, or new job opportunities.

Those are truly priceless, and often solve job hunting problems you may not even have recognized that you had.

This gets another monkey off your back in the process: You've prearranged what you're doing. Nobody is going to be dragging you away to do other things, and you have quite a lot more control over how you use your time.

You don't have to explain what you're doing, or provide proof of going for every job you could find just to meet some bureaucratic requirement, rather than with any hope of landing a job. You don't have to explain why you couldn't get jobs, because you were busy.

You are, in effect, avoiding the rinse cycle of unemployment, and getting something useful done as well.

This is far more effective, and far more likely to lead to actually getting a job, than some mindless routine of roaming the job ads when you've already read them five times.

To get this happening, you need to set your own objectives, and do your own research about what's available.

These are the steps:

  • Figure out exactly what you need to know to use those services
  • Ask only relevant questions, and don't get sidetracked from your objective unless the sidetrack leads somewhere worth going
  • When you're told you need to do something, make sure you know exactly what you have to do, how to do it properly, and why you have to do it

If your service provider doesn't have anything themselves, ask what they'd suggest as a good additional skills training or other useful activities.

You'll find that the real professionals are always aware of some scheme or something in your line of work where you can't wind up back at Square One. You will definitely achieve something useful, at the very least.

If necessary, go for a student grant, or whatever, but above all else, don't be a static target for bureaucracy. Bureaucratic processes work on very basic concepts, usually social security law, in the case of unemployment.

You need to be seen to be doing something within the legal framework. If you're doing what's allowed by the rules, you're OK, and nobody will bother you. Nobody will need to fill in a report, or add further levels of difficulty to your situation.

(The pity of it is that often the people running these services often don't seem to realize that they can achieve a lot more by actively promoting job and training initiatives, than by doing pure case management by the book.)

You can in fact talk and train yourself into a much better paying job, eventually, by using these initiatives. This is just taking advantage of opportunities which are usually under-used, and has the advantage of shutting down the endless bureaucratic issues which are such fun with unemployment.

Once you're on the records as In Training, or classified as being under a new scheme, you're out of the rut.

You'll also stay out of the rut, especially if you follow through with your new job opportunities.

The problem really is the system itself.

It has the answers, but it creates the problems through inflexibility and resulting lack of options for the unemployed.

Solve that, and you'll discover your new world of employment a lot quicker.