In a subsequent post, I’ll talk more about what qualifies me to give the this type of advice, but for brevity’s sake, I can tell you that I was someone who looked for a “good job” for more than a decade, only to find multiple years of unemployment and underemployment. It took a lot of soul-searching, but eventually, I changed my mentality from that of a “jobseeker” to an “entrepreneur” and I’ve never looked back!
I keep reading these unemployment numbers for Black folks and I know it’s worse than what’s being reported, because I personally know people that are no longer receiving unemployment and thus aren’t counted any more, despite the fact that they aren’t working and haven’t been fully restored as productive members of the workforce.
I know what it’s like to be unemployed. I know what it’s like to be Black and unemployed. And I know what it’s like to be Black, educated, and unemployed, which in my opinion, just adds another nail to the coffin! For this reason, since I believe in being solution-oriented, I have put together some immediate steps that I think Black folks can take to turn “unemployment” into “self-employment”.
My goal in sharing these tips is to show that there is hope and there’s something you can do: CREATE A JOB, WHEN NO ONE WILL GIVE YOU ONE! It’s not easy, but it’s an alternative!
5 Things You Can Do Right Now To Cure Your Unemployment/Underemployment
Tip 1: Use your local library. I save an average of $3000 a year by using the resources of my local library. Before I shelled out money I didn’t have, I checked to see if the library had the book, and in some cases, I asked them to order it, and they did (thus making me the first person to check it out). Many times, I’m able to preview a book and find out if it’s really worth me paying for and adding to my personal library.
Tip 2: Use the internet (effectively). There’s virtually nothing you can aspire to learn that you can’t learn more about on the internet! The internet can be a great resource in helping you figure out ANYTHING, but you have to use your time on The Net efficiently. I would suggest using a timer. Have a specified period of time that you allot for certain activities (e.g. searching for articles/books/links, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.) and get disciplined about sticking to it. Especially when it comes to social networks. They can become great tools to use to promote your brand whenever you figure out what you’re selling, but if you’re not careful, they become a MAJOR time suck. So, just remember most time spent tweeting and liking people’s pictures and comments isn’t time well spent.
Tip 3: Find Your Talents and Follow Your Passion. Someone once told me that if you find what you would do for free, then start doing it, and get good at it, eventually someone will pay you for your expertise. I admit, when I was first introduced to this notion, I thought it was a crock! Now, as a person who gets paid to show people how to tweet, blog, and use Facebook effectively, I laugh at my own self for being so naïve. Plus, as with any new convert, I am the MOST evangelical about the “Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow” mantra, because IT IS TRUE!
Tip 4: Block out the negativity and find a support base. Being unemployed is very discouraging, especially if you’ve landed there through no fault of your own. The longer you’re unemployed or underemployed, the worse you may feel. It’s important to not get wallowed down in those feelings. Find a local support group, a Meetup gathering, or even an online forum. If you have a field that you know you’d like to work in, find a mentor. Just keep in mind that almost everyone describes themselves as “busy”, and if you’re looking to be mentored by a truly busy person, you’d better make that time efficient (i.e. have set meeting times and an itinerary for you’ll talk about and how much of their time you’ll need).
Tip 5: Pray. Meditate. Or Do Whatever It Takes to Find 20 Minutes of Peace in Each Day. It’s okay to be sad sometimes. If you need to: reflect on what happened, then think about what you can do to make changes so it doesn’t happen again. At the end of the day, know that no matter what you’re going through, YOU ARE GOING THROUGH IT, and you will get to the other side!
I hope these tips help you. They were very helpful to me and that’s why I’ve shared them. I believe in helping people who want to help themselves. At some point in our lives, we all need help. I’ve gotten this far because someone (or quite honestly a whole host of “someones”) helped me. My unofficial motto in life is “I try to do, what I can do, when I can do it”, so if I can help, I will. Like everyone, I have a finite amount of time, energy, and resources, but if you need the support, I’m here.
Kindra Cotton, Serial Entrepreneur
About Kindra Cotton: Serial Entrepreneur, Technology & Social Media Specialist, and Jill of All Trades, Kindra is actually one of the FEW people who has been rigorously trained in the arenas of Social Networking and Online Marketing. A Certified Search Engine Marketer, she’s used her decades of experience on The Web, coupled with her Masters-level study of participatory patterns in social networking, and emerged as a uniquely qualified Trainer and Consultant in New Media Implementation and readying organizations to capitalize on the widespread popularity of social media for promoting brands. Perfecting her skills while working with small businesses, today she offers Simplified Social Media Solutions to small and medium-sized businesses, non-profit organizations, and universities seeking to take advantage of the free and low-cost marketing avenues that exist in The Web.To help improve “The Cure for Unemployment” blog series and the upcoming cureforunemployment.com website, please take a few minutes and fill out this brief survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FBJT38V