Are you a bull or bear of unemployment?

Are you a bear or bull of unemployment?

Don’t know what is a bear or bull? Think stock market terms.  Bulls see opportunity, bears see problems.

Read about our bull of unemployment Margaret O.

Scenario: Margaret is 52 year old full time accountant for a non-profit organization.  She is laid off when the non-profit loses it’s state grant because of budget cuts.  She is released with no severance package but does have a rainy day fund which will pay her monthly bills for the next 3 months.

After 1 and 1/2 months of job searching without any luck Margaret knows she must do something to earn an income.

She realizes that her job search could last longer than her nest egg fund and worries what she will do.  Sitting at the table Margaret starts a list.  She knows the time equals money and she has 24 free hours a day.  She thinks to her self, what can I do to make $1 tomorrow without spending money but only using my time? She knows that making $1 is the first step to $100.

Here possible income list compromises:

  1. Grocery shop for people & deliver it
  2. Yard work: Raking, Sweeping, Mowing, Scrubs
  3. Clean a home
  4. Babysitting
  5. Walking dogs
  6. Doing peoples laundry: iron, press
  7. Cooking in home meals
  8. Teach children to play chess
  9. Start an after school program for neighborhood kids

She decided to go through the list 1 by 1 and list her options and possible obstacles or unexpected costs.

#1: Grocery Shopping: Margaret decided grocery shopping would be too expensive to start unless she signed up 3 or more families so her trip to the grocerry store would be more valuable.

#2: Yard Work: Margaret decided this would be a last option.  She hardly liked doing her own yard work except gardening.

#3: Home Cleaning: She didn’t want to buy all the chemicals for cleaning. So this would be to expensive for it.

#4: Babysitting: Margaret loved children and had some women in the neighborhood who had younger children that wouldn’t mind a helping hand during the day.

#5: Walking dogs: Margaret thought this would be the easiest option.

#6: Laundry: Margaret figured it was easy enough and wouldn’t be hard to find people who needed or wanted help.

#7: Cooking: She wasn’t 100% comfortable cooking and didn’t have full stable of meals to cook for a night.  She figured she could start by cooking new meals at home from her cook book.

#8: Teach Chess: She loved chess and knew it was a good game for children when not watching TV.  It wouldn’t be hard to sell lessons to children to help start a group but it could be hard to find all the children.

#9: After school program: She loved children and knew how much parents would love an after school program. She thought about books, exercise & activities for children.

Thinking critically about each option she decided that tomorrow she would walk people’s  dogs.  She would walk a dog for $10. That’s a 30 minute walk & poo pick up service. Margaret figured she was making more than $10 since she was exercising and saving her health and the cost of gym membership.

The next day Margaret went to her neighbor’s with dogs and explained that if they needed their dogs let out & walked during the day she would for $10 per walk. In the first 3 days Margaret had scheduled 4 walks for the week.  The following week she increased her walks to 6 and was building a little list of customers.

After 3 months she was walking 3 dogs an hour for 6 hours a day at $10.  She was making $180 dollars a day.  $900 a week.

She decided that she enjoyed her new job so much that it wasn’t worth looking.

  • Now that you’ve read about Margaret what do you think you are? Do you see unemployment as a bear or bull? Bills are due, what can you do to make $1 today or tomorrow?

If you have any job search questions please: Ask the Career Doctor

If you’re interested in career transition resources check out

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