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When the work dries up

dried up land, drought

What do you do when the work dries up?  If you are a freelancer or your contract is over and you don’t have another one to go to immediately or you have been laid off what do you do?   We are living in difficult times.  I am in this very situation at the moment, I am a freelancer and the company I have been working at has stopped using any freelancers so I am not working.  Not working is a very stressful situation, if you have not been in such a position; you probably don’t what it is truly like.

I have become somewhat a recluse.  I am afraid of leaving my flat in fear of spending what savings I have.  So I have thought of a few tips for us temporarily unemployed.

1. Keep up with your work contacts.  This is vital no matter how low you are feeling because so many opportunities come via word of mouth. Try to plan all your meetings, coffees, lunches for the same day or as many a day as possible so you are only paying for a single day’s travel.  Bring snacks so you are not starving and spend too much on lunch.

2. Make sure you get up at a ‘normal’ time.  It is so easy to slip into nightclub hours and sleep in until noon.  I am sure there is something that you have been putting off to do aroung the house.  How about cleaning out that closet and putting some stuff on Ebay?

3.  Get dressed.  Don’t make business calls in your dressing gown.  Shower and dress like you are going somewhere.  If you don’t fancy putting on full makeup, how about just putting on some lipstick?  It really brightens you mood.

4.  When you are making those vital business calls; smile.  People can tell you mood and no one wants to give a job to a misery guts.

5.  Think of things to get you out of the house without spending money.  I visit my local library, take walks, buy fruit and veg at the street market, which is cheaper than the supermarket.  Do you have any other ideas of free things to do when the money is super scarce?  Don’t go window-shopping, as it will just make you more depressed at the things you can’t afford.

6.  Stay away from daytime television.  It eats time and dumbs you down.  It is better to watch a film in the afternoon if you really don’t have any work tasks you can do but don’t indulge yourself too often.

7. Try to make jobs for yourself – when you need something done they say it is best to ask a busy person.  I am so guilty of thinking I have all the time in the world, which is why I have not been writing on the twice a week schedule I originally made for myself.  I am looking into projects besides finding work that will keep me busy.  Being busy give you purpose which is the thing we lose when we are not working and it also gives you something to talk about at those work related lunches and coffees so people don’t think you are spending your time sitting in front of the TV.

3 thoughts on “When the work dries up”

  1. I just found this post and boy do I need it today! I work as a freelance writer and they just notified me that they’re cutting me back one day. I’m disappointed and scared about how I’ll pay my bills. I was linked to your article from BlogHer as I’m also a blogger about Italian food, wine and culture ( I appreciate everything you say in this post – keeping a routine, staying positive and not succumbing to daytime TV! Thanks for the good advice!

  2. Hi Jenifer, thanks for stopping by. I am glad that the post could help. We are living in difficult times. I was also cut back on one of my freelance writing jobs, they are redesigning so getting rid of the freelancers. I hope it turns around for you. It seems that opportunities pop up after the summer when people get their business brains back on track. Fingers crossed!

  3. I work from home and am self employed so I can relate to this.
    I have made it part of my routine to get up get dressed like I am going to work and to hit the computer at the same time I would get to work. As I am self employed I have tried to create more from my job than the norm by taking it online so that times when I have no clients coming to me, I still have income from sales of products I have created ( well thats the plan!).
    As a freeleance writer you could create some ebooks to sell while you have “downtime” or offer copywriting to people like me statring out with their website.
    I am lucky to live close to the beach so beach walks are always great for inspiration. I also joined a business network ( it did cost money) and this has been invaluable for keeping me motivated and keeping work flowing to me. Starting a gratitude list is also a free thing to do that helps shift your perception of life and helps you stay positive. Good luck finding more work and thanks for the article.

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