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On the bench, miserable and bored?

freelancesupermarket.com newsroom

RSS 20 August 2009
In your freelancing career, there will unfortunately be the occasional periods of unemployment. When you're out of work long term, it's common to get bored, and I do mean REALLY BORED...

Now I know the average out of work contractor is not technically unemployed as they will almost certainly be a direct employee of their company. So for all those owner-managed limited company contractors out there, you're going to have to humour me okay?

For the purposes of this article, 'out of work' or 'on the bench' = unemployed.

Let's move on...

Finding something to do over the course of the day may seem almost impossible, especially over the long term. Unemployed people rapidly reach a point where the job search becomes well optimised, and only takes a half an hour or so at the beginning of the day - leaving the rest of it stretched out before them, with nothing to fill the void.

The key element in making your long term unemployed periods productive is to treat being unemployed as your job. Rather than just moping around waiting for something to happen, find ways you can improve your chances of landing a new contract. Enhancing and improving your CV is one way to go about this, but there are a number of other activities you could be working on.

With time on your hands, it's useful to identify the things you don't have time to do when you are in work. Most of us have books we would like to read, or films we'd like to see - when you're contracting, it's simply not feasible to squeeze everything into your schedule. How about gaining a new qualification or re-training? You can also practice and refine those skills which you may have struggled with over the years.

Networking is also a hugely effective use of your time when out of work for the long term. Unemployed people often find that meeting others and looking for opportunities may provide better results than online job searches, and may even open doors you'd never had expected.

The one thing you want to avoid is the trap of becoming stuck in a rut at home, sleeping in till noon even on a weekday . There's nothing you can do there; you're not going to land a new contract lying in bed all day, and it will simply make it harder to get up and get moving if you don't stay in the habit. Keep yourself on a normal schedule, and be sure to dress and groom yourself properly at all times.

The recession is hurting us all but there's no need beat yourself up about it. You're a freelance contractor which means you take the rough with the smooth. Being 'on the bench' is tough but you can rise above it my friend. Now get out there and sort yourself a new contract, you'll be laughing about this at Christmas....

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© 2009 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Image: My park bench by Vince Alongi


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