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July 24, 2009
I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough...

You got dumped. We've all been there. It stings, makes you crazy with self-doubt, and can spiral into a pretty dark place if you let it. I don't think it's hard to draw the correlation between getting laid off and having recently gone through a (non-mutual) break up. Some solid advice you should have received from a wise parent or grandparent at some point in your life is 'Get up, dust yourself off, and get back on the horse'. But what if there isn't a horse in sight?

Just like a good dating prospect, your next gig isn't always there when you want or need it. And the longer you're out of the game, the harder you try and when you don't see any results it can feel like failing all over again. Not to mention you have more time on your hands to think about everything you may have done wrong, why it is that you're not being courted, and then the ultimate enemy, self-doubt, sees its entrance into your world.


This is the time to be your own best champion. No one will ever sing your praises as well or as loudly as you and it may be time to draw on that ability. It can be tough to pull this off successfully but unless you have the extra cash laying around for professional therapy, it's going to start and end with you.

Here are some tips to get back that loving feeling - for yourself.

* Review your successes. Look back at your resume and think of your accomplishments: the clients you've helped, coworkers who benefited from your experience, and any awards you may have received or simply been in contention for.

* Surround yourself with supporters. Use your friends and family for one of their greatest purposes - giving you emotional support in your time of need.

 * Keep a positive attitude. Try to avoid the easy trap of becoming bitter and mean-spirited. These thoughts (and actions) serve no real purpose and only offer a false sense of happiness or superiority. They're also addictive and before you know it, you become "that guy" - the one with never a nice thing to say, quick to point out others' failures, and all-around jerk.

 * Recognize help when it appears. Help and advice is all around you. Ultimately you want a job offer, but maybe just someone's thoughts on trends in the industry, observations of what others like yourself are going through, and the job-search tools available to you, combined, can get you one step closer to the prize.

* Try new things. Whether they're career-related courses (learning Flash or HTML coding) or hobbies for personal enrichment, new ventures help freshen up your old routine and boost your confidence level. The more avenues leading you to positive thinking, the better.

* Be good to yourself. Try to treat yourself to small indulgences; maybe your favorite home-cooked meal more frequently, more time 'unplugged' with friends or family for movie-night, an appointment at a massotherapy school near you for cheap relaxation. These inexpensive ideas can lead to a much better frame of mind.

* Set small goals so you can feel a sense of accomplishment. Think of losing weight or stopping smoking here. It rarely happens overnight. Even if your goal is to clean out the gutters or get all the curtains in the house washed, the feeling associated with completing a task or goal can permeate through the other areas of your life. A couple ideas to help your career are: choose 5 trusted people and ask them to review your resume or portfolio and then take the critiques and do a re-write, and also set daily and weekly goals for new connections on your social networking sitesof choice.

The bottom line can be summed up here pretty easily - you may be in a bad spot and you're probably feeling badly about it if so. Try your best to remember it's not just you, and that it doesn't mean you're not good (or even great) at your craft. We're all in this big, crappy boat together this year and accepting the things you can't change about it never hurts, and changing what you can definitely helps.

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Amy Hoover has been with Talent Zoo for more than 12 years. Considered an industry expert in employment practices and trends, she speaks often at events and is frequently interviewed by industry publications.

Amy was also widely read as the premier blogger on Hiring-Revolution for many years where she earned a reputation for wit, entertainment, information, and no bull. You can find her on Linked, friend her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.
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