#Reverb11 Day 12: What are 12 things your life doesn’t need in 2012?

Prompt: What are 12 things your life doesn’t need in 2012? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these things change your life?

I’m cheating with this. #1 is nearly all I can think of, and I’ve been staring at this prompt for two days now and unable to get past that first item looming in my head. So for me, #1 is good for at least five or eight things. And I’m satisfied with that.

Not Quite 12 Things I Don’t Need in 2012

1. Ill health. I’m really not good at this. If it’s me, I tend to want to be left alone until I get better. Usually I’m pissed off about it. So I can handle me. When it’s someone else, though, no.

I’ve been watching my husband suffer from Crohn’s for this entire past year. It really sucks, because there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I don’t deal with being helpless very well. I can’t SEE it. I can’t be on the inside with it. I can only hover on the outside and watch him go through hell.

He  says I am a tremendous support. He tells me “just being there” is enough. He tells me he’s so glad I’m with him. I hear it, I comprehend it, but I think most of me doesn’t believe it, because I think I should be able to do more. I don’t know what, but something. Reach in and grab the disease and crush every last speck of it out. That kind of something.

I don’t know how to eliminate this one other than trying to keep on with the positive thoughts, help and support that I can do. Keeping spirits up, for him and for me, is powerful. I know this.  I’ve seen it proved so many times.

It can just be soul-wearying sometimes.

The rest of these are in no particular order (and won’t make up the full 12 because of my get-out-of-jail-free reason above):

2. Unemployment. I’m big on job security. Losing my job in 2009 really affected me. Up until then, I was looking forward to a slow but steady progression in that single company. The fact that I wasn’t, perhaps, particularly happy in that company suddenly disappeared from my mind when my job also disappeared.

The positives outweighed the negatives, once I realized I was still me and a viable me despite getting the axe. There is one lingering negative I’ve only recently started realizing in turn: I don’t feel secure. I no longer believe a permanent job is permanent.

I know, this is probably just one of the most common of commonsensical things. I just don’t like it. Yet, I don’t have to like it. I just have to deal with it. All I can do is do my best, so whatever does happen, I’ll know I not only kept my integrity but was a credit to myself.

3. Bad spending habits. Don’t tell anyone, but I have coin jars under my dresser. I have “mad money” tucked in old wallets and under deceptively innocuous objects. I keep a large checking balance just in case I get stupid all of a sudden. For all that, I seem to be rather cavalier about money. Having it is wrapped up with my sense of security, but I definitely have my periods of spending. This year has seen a lot of retail therapy, and I can’t say I use 100% of what I get.

But. My latest purchase is a pair of real winter boots, not just girl-boots, so I can keep walking outside even when it snows. These I’ll use.

I hope to make every next purchase a purchase I’ll use, or not make it at all.

4. Losing my focus. If I’m going to write, I should write. Period. This is what I want to do, after all. And the fact that I can do it in my off hours and don’t is something I need to change.

5. Focusing on the wrong stuff. Daydreaming sidetracks me. I get wonderful ideas out of it, but I should turn them into words on paper, not just replay them in my head.

Having a brain-to-computer linkup would help, but until then, I’ll work on getting better at dragging myself out of my head even if I have to write on the walls for lack of paper.

6. Losing loved ones. I know we’re supposed to think of death as just another doorway, but on this side of it, the earthy side I cling to so desperately, I don’t think I’m any better at loss than I am at not being able to stand by and watch someone suffer. Parents, husband, guinea pig–I worry even when I know worrying doesn’t help.

What to do? Be there while I can. Don’t waste time when I am there. Be fully present. Remember all of the above.

7. Hanging on to friends who aren’t. We all know one or more of those. Sometimes you can let them drift by with little to no contact, safe behind the barrier of Facebook; sometimes you have to make the decision to cut them loose for good. Everyone has something special about them and everyone matters; that doesn’t mean you have to make everyone a part of your life. I don’t plan on excising anyone, but I’ll no longer hide from it, either.

8. Wasted time. This post should never have taken me this long. Onward!

Fabulous reverb11 badge made here.

How to Be Positively Unemployed

Let’s face it, being unemployed sucks.

But keeping your spirits up? Close second.

Unemployment can make you feel embarrassed, unwanted, unviable and upset. You start worrying about the future and panicking about the present. You wonder what your co-workers did right and you did wrong. And if you hear another “Things happen for the best,” you might just claim murder by self-defense.

But guess what? You really do have more resources than you think. Even on those days when you just want to turn off the alarm and call it a year, you owe it to yourself to keep moving onward and upward.

Try these tips to keep yourself focused, on track and (hopefully) out of the doldrums:

1. Get up like you’re going to work—because you are.
Okay, maybe you can hit the snooze button an extra couple of times, but sticking with your usual routine helps give you the structure you’re used to from your job. Unless you’re angling for that coveted mattress-tester career, lying abed all day won’t get you where you want to go.

So get up, get dressed, eat a good breakfast—and get to work finding your next job.

2. Turn off the TV.
Better yet, don’t even go near it. Your time can be hoovered up so fast you’ll be out of prime job-seeking hours before you can change another channel.

Somehow we make time for what we want to do. Don’t get sucked into daytime television, the Weather Channel’s Storm Stories or online games. Retrain yourself to use your “free” hours for polishing your resume, taking an online course, volunteering and getting out and meeting people for coffee or lunch.

Speaking of which…
3. Stay in touch with your network.

Who’s your network? Absolutely everyone you know! And you don’t know everyone they know, so don’t go writing people off just because they’re not in your industry or don’t speak your particular brand of geek.

To make the six degrees of separation work for you, you need to do the reaching out. You know your network best: How do they like to interact? Are they available to chat online during the day?  Can you get together for lunch or meet up after hours? Even if you’re the one making all the plans, it’s worth it to keep yourself on their radar when opportunities open up.

4. Give a little LinkedIn love.
Besides stuffing your Summary with industry keywords and keeping your status updated, you need to give people recommendations.

That’s right, “give.” There’s something about receiving an unsolicited reference that generates goodwill and reciprocity. Plus I’ll bet you’ll feel pretty good after you give someone kudos for doing a great job.

Now it’s your turn. Don’t send a blanket recommendation note; individualize it for each contact. If it’s been awhile since you’ve talked to the person, don’t be afraid to jog their memory. “It was an illuminating experience working on Project No Dice with you. I’m glad all the pictures were destroyed.” If they don’t respond, shake it off and move on to the next person who will.

5. Take a free webinar or an online course.
Free webinars are going on all the time, and all you need is a computer with an internet connection. LinkedIn Events, BrightTalk, Hubspot and others all offer webinars for a variety of industries, including how to promote those industries. Use them to keep yourself current with trends and information. For example, because I’m in marketing, I use LinkedIn Events to find social media webinars on everything from ROI to analyzing metrics.

Online courses tend to cost you, but you can uncover treasure troves of free books and training if you know where to look. I’m happy to say that MyPath.com lets you browse book summaries and course descriptions before you even start your free 30-day trial subscription.

6. Step into Twitter.
Even if you think Twitter is a sad waste of valuable brain candy, this trend is worth checking out: Hire Friday. Why? Because recruiters watch it and people get hired through it. With its accompanying live chat (#hfchat) on Fridays at 11 AM CT, you also get your own personal job search support group that takes up just an hour of your online time.

If you want to find out how to join a Twitter chat such as #hfchat, #careerchat, #genychat or others, Avid Careerist has an excellent guide here. In addition, Twitter has a lot of people tweeting career advice and resources from how to write an effective resume to six ways not to screw up the interview.

As with anything online where you’re meeting and talking to people, you want to present yourself professionally. Take a few moments to get the basics of Twitter etiquette.

7. Do something just for you.
When I was out of work, I added an exercise routine to my mornings that I never had time for before. I cooked healthier meals than my usual haphazard fried eggs and toast for breakfast and kept the guinea pig who shares my home office happy. I thought about cleaning, talked myself out of it and approved my decision.

And every once in awhile, I took a day off job search and did things just for me. It was refreshing and revitalizing, and I returned to “work” the next day feeling more positive than ever.

And while you’re at it…
8. Remind yourself that you are still you.

What’s the biggest resource you have? You! Just because you’re without a job doesn’t mean you’ve lost all the skills, education and knowledge you’ve built up over the years. Nobody can take that away from you, not even yourself and all your doubts.

Use your time to its best advantage, keep on going even when you don’t want to, and you will meet your career goals head on. And best of luck!

(Pic from Lo-clc.)

Thanks to Noël from myFootpath.com for hosting this post!