5 things to remember in between jobs

As I secretly knew it would, the job drought has ended and I’m back fretting about  having to work through the weekends again.  This seems like a good time to jot down some hard won advice about dealing with slumps – not least so that I can read it back when the next one crops up.

1. Jobs travel in packs and use unreliable forms of transport.  It’s perfectly normal for there to be gaps between jobs and then for people to be  falling over themselves to snaffle you up.  I’ve never met a freelancer yet who was busy all the time (and wasn’t lying about it).  Keep a spreadsheet of your work patterns and you’ll see that troughs are inevitably followed by peaks (and vice versa) – nothing lasts forever.  This can be quite comforting when the cupboard is bare, and fooling around with the spreadsheet on quiet days can almost feel like work.  Although…

2.  No-one can job-hunt for 24 hours a day, even though it is tempting to try.  With LinkedIn and other resources on tap you can fool yourself that you’re doing valuable things  just because you’re at the computer.  If you have really exhausted all the leads you can think of (and aren’t just avoiding  another awkward call) give yourself permission to go away and get a life.  Play the piano, contemplate painting the bannisters, torment the cats, leave the house and do something exciting you can use as raw material for your blog.  Remember that one of the reasons you probably had for going freelance in the first place was to kick the “life” part of your work-life balance back into action.

3.  However tempting, don’t take the first job that comes along just because it’s a job.  If it doesn’t fit your core skills or add something to your business it will just end in unnecessary unpleasantness.  Having just done this (again) and with the bruises to show for it,  I am aware that this is a hard one to learn.  Avoiding doing crap jobs was another reason I went freelance and is the reason that I…

4.  Put away a slug of money out of each pay cheque  to act as a cushion when the slumps come along.  This also allows you the smug glow that comes with saying “no” when someone asks if you’d like to do a crap  job,  and it helps deal with point 5…

5.  It ALWAYS takes longer to get work sorted out than you think it possibly can.  Potential clients are always just jetting off on holiday and promising to “pin things down when I get back”,  or need budget approval from a finance committee that meets once a quarter in alternate leap years, or just get tied up in meetings about other things.  The thing to remember is that, eventually, you will work again – and if you doubt that go back to point 1 and start again…


3 responses to “5 things to remember in between jobs

  1. Here’s my paradoxical situation. I don’t have a job, but seem to have so much work that I’m busy evenings and weekends.

    In part it’s the seasonal nature of my work (lecturing in Higher Education); in part is seems that busyness begets business.

    Must get back to work…

  2. Two weeks into the job search and looking forward to a bus-load of offers appearing any second….now!

  3. Pingback: Confidence in the economy | Sole Trader PR

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