This one is personal.

This is hard to write, but I thought it could provide some perspective on an otherwise “effecting someone else” kind of story.  The Federal Government’s decision not to extend unemployment insurance payments to those of us out of work for more than 6 months – well, it hits home.  I am one of those considered “long-term unemployed.”  And contrary to some Washington newsmakers, I am not laying around at home greedily collecting unemployment compensation.

I am searching for a new job every day, and have been for almost 9 months; networking, volunteering, blogging, applying, interviewing, and interviewing some more.  Those who say I don’t have what that employer is looking for; well, OK, you may be right.  But I have no doubt there are plenty of organizations that could use my 15 years of human resources leadership experience, Master’s degree and proven successes.

If you think it’s unfair to you, the taxpayer, to pay more unemployment insurance compensation to the “long-term unemployed,” please consider I have paid into the State unemployment insurance funds for more than 15 years.  Now I need some of that money paid back, to help my family in this time of crisis.

While the unemployment compensation is 20% of my former salary, it is nonetheless a necessary part of what I need to continue to pay bills for my family’s survival.  I have used almost all of the savings I socked away over the past several years, and am now digging into 401(k) plans, and having to pay penalties for using that money.

I’m not asking that you write to your Senator or Representative to get the additional funding. I’m simply asking that you consider thinking differently about the unemployment insurance extension discussion; a situation I never thought I would find myself in.

Thanks for listening to my story.  SL

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Recently, there’s been a lot of focus on developing management skills; we’re told good management skills result in good results. Although this is true, you CAN get extraordinary results from “Ordinary People.”

The secret of people who tend to get extraordinary results is distinguished by the fact that they are not just managers, but leaders.  Those who get extraordinary results tend to be extraordinary leaders.  Let’s see how this can help YOU:

THERE ARE NO ORDINARY PEOPLE

Extraordinary leaders recognize every one of their people, given the right circumstances and challenges, have the potential to produce extraordinary results.  Look for various strengths in your people.

SET THE TONE

Great leaders lead by example.  If you are positive, dedicated, persistent, and goal-oriented, then you will develop this sort of atmosphere within your team.

GIVE YOUR PEOPLE A GREAT REPUTATION

Dale Carnegie outlined principles for perfect human relationships, one of which is “Give people a high reputation to live up to.”  Tell your people what you are trying to achieve, explain the importance of their contributions, train them to be effective, and then invest confidence and belief in them.

USE YOUR COACHING TIME WELL

In his book ‘How to Become a Better Boss,’ Jeffrey Fox suggests you spend 90 percent of your coaching time with your top performers. Don’t assume your top performers need no time just because they are getting results; these people are your gold – treasure them.

GIVE LOTS AND LOT OF RECOGNITION

Almost every study on why people leave jobs or stay in jobs highlights the key role of “Recognition.”  Catch people doing something right; Thank them Privately, then Praise them Publicly.

Evolving from a good manager to an extraordinary leader requires some additional focus.  Doing all of those things that make the people who work for you look and feel good about what they are doing, and modeling the attitude and behaviors you want from them, will result in some great results.

I stumbled across this article from last year, but I apologize; I do not have the original author’s information.  If you know it, please let me know so I can give proper credit. 

JOB HUNTING? TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

You’ve probably seen dozens of articles about things to do while unemployed.  I bet I’ve read about all of them, as I progress through my own journey of finding a new job.

LOOK GOOD AND FEEL GOOD

But there is something I haven’t seen that is VERY important:  taking care of yourself physically.  My journey included adding 30 extra pounds due to stress while wrapping up my previous job.  I saw a photo of myself, and could not believe how overweight I looked.  So part of my job search has been focused on losing weight.  If you have done so (or are thinking about it), you know that dropping 30 to 40 pounds has incredible health benefits.  When you look good and feel good, you can present a “better you” in an interview.

MAKE TIME FOR FUN STUFF

For many of us, the word ‘exercise’ does not sound like fun, so don’t use that word!  Think of something you enjoy that moves your body: walk around your neighborhood, go for a swim, ride your bike (my personal preference), dance, make your desk chair an exercise ball, etc.

A BETTER YOU

Doing something fun gives you time to unwind, and to think clearly about your job search.  It’s true; endorphins make you feel good.  When you feel good about yourself, you project a more confident persona, and remember, it’s all about presenting the best you in an interview.

Let me know what other suggestions you have for dealing with the stress of a job search. I’d love to hear from you!