So, it's been a few weeks since you've lost your job. First, there was the shock and disbelief to deal with. Once that was out of the way, perhaps an unexpected feeling of relief washed over you because you found yourself at the threshold of what might be a new beginning!  Sure, it would be challenging to find a new and enjoyable career, but not impossible. After all, you are goal oriented, smart, and an asset to any organization. With this positive attitude your job search began, it continued, kept going...and its still going, but that positive attitude steadily fades as bills come in and pile up....hmmm....

So, how do you survive without a steady income? Here are five suggestions that will hopefully help!

1.    Network- Embarrassment or fear should not hold you back from reaching out to family, friends, and acquaintances regarding job openings within their place of employment. Employers are often more likely to hire someone on the recommendation of a person who they know and trust. (From personal experience, while in between careers, a few friends and even family members recommended odd jobs which helped pay bills until   steady work came along.)

2.   Substitute Teach-  If you have a degree, you can usually go to a local adult-learning community center/or your county's educational department and sign up to become a substitute teacher. Without a degree, you may need to first pass a test before you're able to work. Substitute teaching provides a fairly steady income that works around your schedule. So, you will be able to make a few bucks and have plenty of time to continue your job hunt!

3.     Work Online-   Are you willing to be creative? Yeah? Well, setting up an online business can be fairly simple. For example, do you own a camera? Do you have any interest in photography? Visit and to watch a series of free instructional videos on how to shoot photography like a professional. Then, use or to create a free website which describes your services. Next, post a free ad in Craig's List and (being sure to explain that you are just starting out!) offer to shoot wedding/graduation/family portrait pictures at a low price. Lastly, if your state requires, be sure to get an EIN number and perhaps pay a low fee of $30-$50 dollars to properly set yourself up as a business owner.

4.     Captioning-     If you are a skilled typist, contact your local community college's Office of Disability Services and offer your services as a "Captioinst" for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. Every college is required to have a Disability Services Department which offers captioning (a sort of "note taking") services to Deaf students. This part time work requires that you go to class with the student and, using a laptop computer provided by the college, provide an almost word-for-word transcript of what the Professor says in the classroom. The college may require that you take a brief on-line captioning course to refine your typing skills.

5.     Tutor/Babysit-  It's true, you may have done this in high school for a little extra money but money is money-right? Put up plenty of signs in the Commons at a few nearby colleges/learning centers to advertise your tutoring services. Let friends and family members know that you are willing to work as a Nanny while they go on vacation or for the weekend. (It is not uncommon for Nannies to charge somewhere around $30 an hour or more). 

Of course, there is a lot more you can look into when you have plenty of free time. You can volunteer (which is a great way to make new contacts and further network yourself) and you can look into collecting unemployment from the government until you find a stable career. Naturally, there are also the money saving tips to remember: clip coupons, skip your once-daily skinny latte from the coffee shop, cook at home more often, and try to save gas by carpooling when you go out with friends.

In this situation, one of the best steps you can take is to make this promise to yourself: "I will not stress out, but I will take good care of myself." If you believe in your talent and the unique perspective that you bring to the table-don't worry! You will find or create the job that is just right for you!

How To Hang On To Your Best Employees
By: Paula Jones
January 11, 2011

After combing through resumes, conducting interview after interview, sifting the potential from the pretentious ... at last! You've found pure gold, a nearly perfect candidate to become the latest addition to your hard working staff.
Most likely, during their first few weeks on the new job your newbie will strive to make a good impression, and rightly so! However, you've begun to realize that it is equally important for you, as a manager, to put extra effort into keeping your best employees happy. Doing so reduces the likelihood that your most responsible members on staff will leave at the next seemingly "better offer".  So, how does management hang on to their best employees?

While working, at times under an employer and on other occasions as a supervisor, I've observed the following methods as successful in keeping the best on staff:
  1. Effective Communication: Effective communication is relaxed, regular, and relates to a specific goal. What does this mean? Every member of your team, comfortable that their opinion is respected, freely expresses their ideas during the regularly scheduled staff meeting (which, by the way, all in attendance enjoy because these meetings have a relevant theme, goal, and end with a resolution or means to accomplish that goal). I appreciated working in an office where there was a weekly staff meeting to address relevant concerns. It was impressive to me that these meetings did not include excessive rambling, but were focused, brief, and relaxed. I've also worked in offices where a suggestion box was set up, allowing anonymous concerns to be addressed. 
  2. Utilize Incentives: These days, the small business owner may find it difficult to continually use higher pay as an incentive. However, a creative incentive can spark loyalty in the motivated worker. For example, an Employee of the Month Program which offers an  "Appreciation Package" including perks like extra vacation time, several Gift Cards, and special parking. This may not sound like much, but you'd be surprised at the effectiveness of a well crafted incentive! Unfortunately, I've seen a few attempted incentives crash and burn. These failed attempts include: fostering competition among employees, using "more responsibility without extra pay" as an incentive, and even the simple act of handing an employee an old, used key chain or mug while telling them this is an expression of appreciation for their hard work. Such action may be considered demeaning and entice the employee to seek work elsewhere.
  3.  Be Visible: A manager who is often found in the office, working alongside their staff, earns the respect of their hard working team and keeps everyone on their toes. On the other hand, the supervisor who is a ghost, every other month leaving for long vacations and repeatedly forgetting to call in on "sick" days, is not only setting a bad example but becomes a burden on the office. Employees will eventually resent having to come up with numerous excuses as to why their boss has not handled problems that they personally do not have the authority to take on. The manager who is visible builds confidence in their abilities and earns the respect of the people they work with.
  4. Delegate Effectively: As simple as it sounds, this is such a key point: delegate specific tasks to specific individuals. Even when an entire team is assigned to one project, delegating a particular aspect of the project to each team member shows that you recognize their individual talent in the specific area you've assigned to them. The employee has a clear goal, which they are more likely to reach. Upon accomplishing this goal they see the results of their hard work and feel motivated! This is much better than giving several employees the exact same assignment and then perhaps waiting to see who does it the best, or not even telling each employee that they are all working on the same these cases it is pretty obvious that more time will be spent solving communication problems than on actually accomplishing work. Effective delegation allows employees to let their talents shine as they contribute to each project. 
  5. Personal Space: Once an assignment has been given, it may be wise to simply let the employee know you are available for questions, let them know when you'd like to receive an update on it's status, and a deadline as to when the final is due- then just walk away. I've been in a situation where an employer hovered, literally over my shoulder, breathing in my ear,as I worked on an assigned project. To give an employee the feeling that they are not trustworthy and need to be micromanaged is yet another way of demeaning their intelligence and encouraging them to look for work elsewhere. I enjoyed working for a different supervisor who would simply tell me when to send her an update by email so that she could correct the draft of what I'd worked on. That was refreshing and it allowed me to be creative in my assignments.
  6. Be Honest: Last, but far from least, if you promise a bonus, a raise, a week off, or even just a cup of coffee-deliver! There is nothing better than working with someone who keeps their word!  

It is possible for a small business owner to hang on to their best employees! By fostering open communication, utilizing incentives, being visible, honest, and effectively delegating specific assignments a supervisor lets their staff know that they've found a job worth keeping!


    Author: Paula Jones

    Paula Jones is a freelance writer from Louisiana. She loves movies, film making, theater, and of course...writing!