Assortments Personal Passions

5 Things to Do if You Just Got Laid Off

These are unprecedented times. Over the past few weeks, unemployment claims have skyrocketed and we have entered an immediate recession. The possibility of a global depression could soon be a reality.

Many of us–myself included–have found ourselves redundant, laid off, or in some form or fashion unemployed.

As we enter this new economic phase thanks to the Coronavirus Pandemic, here are five recommendations for what you should be doing right now if you are out of work.

It always helps to make a list, come up with a plan, and set goals. Technically, those could be the first three recommendations. But I’ll be a little more abstract. Here’s are five to get you started:

1. Take Steps to Further Your Career

If you are unemployed, your new full time job is to get a new one. Period. Treat your job search like a job. It takes work and dedication.

First and foremost, that means applying for jobs.

But there is more you can do. Use this newfound free time to take steps to further your career.

I’m currently working my way through my first HubSpot Certification course through HubSpot Academy. Other certification and learning programs I’m interested in completing include Facebook Blueprint Certification and Google AdWords.

Regardless of your career, there is likely a certification program, online class, or even a side-hustle you can learn more about in your free time.

My goal is to knock out at least one certification every few weeks.

Get to it!

2. Expand Your Personal Passions

Everyone should have at least one hobby. Why not exploit it now that you have a little extra time on your hands?

For me, it’s music. In particular, vinyl records.

While at home, I’m making sure to enjoy my hobbies.

This includes writing. I have written and published four new blog posts on FensePost in the past ten days, and another four here on my personal blog (this post included).

So far, I’m outpacing my goal of publishing a new article on one of these locations every other day.

I’m also striving to try new things and expand other areas of interest, like cooking.

For example, this morning I took a recipe for Tortilla Española and modified it to fit ingredients I had in my kitchen (OK, it was really just substituting Russet Potatoes for Sweet Potatoes and adding some bacon).

Turned out quite nicely.

3. Stay on Top of Industry Trends

Just because you aren’t currently working, doesn’t mean you should slack off. Make sure to continue reading your trade publications, and stay on top of industry news and trends.

In fact, now might be the time to seek out additional resources and find your next favorite.

As I packed up my home in Mount Vernon, WA and relocated to Plano, TX a week before everything came to a halt, I did just that: researched and began following digital marketing and e-commerce podcasts.

Some of my current favorite discoveries include: Future Commerce Podcast, The Modern Retail Podcast, and Behind the Numbers: eMarketer Podcast.

Additionally, I’m rediscovering a few favorite blogs, like Copyblogger.

4. Employ Plenty of Self-Care

Self care looks different for everyone, and for many it may overlap with Personal Passions.

Make sure to do the work to know what energizes and recharges you, what helps you maintain balance and reduce stress, and what keeps you focused and motivated.

One method of self care for me is physical activity. And my preferred method is cycling.

If physical activity resonates with you, don’t just stay at home. Or, if you have to due to the current pandemic, do something active to better yourself.

Being physically active is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, stay in shape, and build self-confidence.

My goal here is to go on a ride every other day. So far, so good!

5. Reconnect (And Commit to It!)

In times like this, our network means a lot. Unemployment can be scary, especially if you aren’t used to volatility and uncertainty.

And with COVID-19, these appear to be unprecedented times.

If you’re an introvert–even an extroverted-presenting one like myself–you may have lapsed on your network upkeep. Now’s the time to re-engage these folks!

But don’t just re-engage them. Commit to staying in contact.

If that means scheduling a check in using Google Calendar, make it happen! Heck, load your important contacts into HubSpot’s CRM and develop an outreach plan if you want to be super nerdy about it.

Furthermore, extend it beyond your professional network of people you haven’t communicated with in a while. Add four or five friends from college, the same from high school to the list, and throw in a few family members as well.

And do the same with this group of friends and family–commit to staying in touch!

What’s Missing?

Five things is not much. I’m sure, given more time, it would be super easy to double the size of this list.

Are you in the same boat? What are you taking on with your newfound time to better yourself? How are you coping?

Share your story or let me know what I missed in the comments below.

But please don’t tell me the only thing on your list right now is to binge watch Tiger King on repeat while obsessively hitting refresh on the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Map.

Assortments Digital & Social Marketing & Branding Personal Passions

COVID-19 is Changing How We Do Business

A little over a month ago, it was business as usual. The economy was strong, the stock market was at or near all-time highs, and unemployment was at stunning lows. Then COVID-19 began to rapidly spread across the globe and dominate the media.

Everything changed, and at lightning speed.

Within a one to two-week period, millions began filing for unemployment, many companies froze their hiring, and those who were able to began working remotely.

The impact to how we do business was immediate.

In a time where partisanship continues to dominate my Facebook feed, where fear is rampant in most and complacency in the rest in regards to the current health care and economic crisis, and where negativity is literally everywhere, I’d like to point out some positive ways companies are adapting to our current situation.

Growing Trend: Curbside Pick Up & Delivery

Small to medium sized businesses are experiencing enormous hardship amidst the nationwide COVID-19 social distancing measures. For those that provide somewhat essential services, curbside pick-up is a growing option.

For those that don’t, it’ll get there.

My old employer–a regional Harley-Davidson dealership in Washington State–has been offering curbside pickup for motorcycle parts, albeit with a reduced staff.

Businesses are still taking orders, they’re just fulfilling them differently. Unfortunately, these changes likely require reduced staff. But it could also lead to employment opportunities, especially in urban areas where quick delivery could be an option.

Case in point: a friend on Facebook shared a photo yesterday of an order he placed, delivered to his door by Easy Street Records in Seattle. he got two LPs and a handful of CDs.

An Immediate Change for Restaurants

Restaurants that can afford to stay open are transitioning, ramping up takeout and delivery models. I got three notifications yesterday about MOD Pizza offering free delivery through Thursday of this week.

Others, like Legacy Hall here in Plano, are creating geo-targeted social advertising campaigns to communicate about curbside takeout availability.

Sunday Vibes☀️….Curbside Pickup from 11am-9pm!!! Chicken Sausage Breakfast sandwiches (12-2pm), Mimosa and Bloody Mary…

Posted by Legacy Hall on Sunday, March 29, 2020

Online Grocery Shopping is Expanding

Online grocery orders are finally here, and they’re expanding to more grocers as well. While the industry has struggled to take off, outside of light success at Amazon, it’s now changing real-time.

At Kroger yesterday, I saw multiple employees with carts, picking orders for customers who placed them online, by phone, or at the curb.

It was exciting to see the change, providing expanded employment opportunities for workers and filling a now essential service. Not to mention, Kroger and others are offering bonuses, raises, and expanding paid time off for its workers.

Video Hangouts Are Now Mainstream

Once a thing for nerds and freelancers, video hangouts are suddenly a huge thing. I’ve attended a few myself. People are flocking to create Zoom accounts and host friend and family game nights. Others are jumping on the Netflix Party bandwagon.

A contact I have in New York City was diagnosed with COVID-19 and has had nightly family game nights as she’s mended. Others have binged Tiger King on Netflix as a group using the Netflix Sync service Netflix Party.

And for those of you just hopping on this bandwagon, here are three hot tips for video hangouts:

  1. Don’t forget to mute yourself if you’re not actively talking.
  2. Wear pants. Everyone will see you in your underwear when inevitably you stand up to stretch.
  3. Make sure to bring your Conference Bingo card…

Businesses Are Stepping Up

Amidst all the negativity, all the shortages of medical supplies, all the fear, and all the desperation, there are rays of hope. Good things are happening.

Here are a few of the businesses jumping onboard to make an impact:

Estee Lauder, Diageo, and Pernod are among many makeup, fragrance companies, brewers, and distillers helping make hand sanitizer.

Ralph Lauren, Gap, Prada, and other fashion retailers are committing to make face masks and health provider garments due to the current shortage.

Ford and Dyson are just two of many companies that will help make ventilators, along with private parties who are 3D printing ventilator valves to donate as needed.

Some hotels in New York, like Four Seasons, are opening their doors free for health care providers so they don’t have to potentially expose their families.

Starbucks is giving free coffee to front line health care responders.

Renewed Self-Care

I’ve seen it in others–this renewed effort for self-care. I’m also experiencing it first hand, being in a new and unfamiliar place where I’m also stuck at home a lot of the time.

I’ve committed to doing the things I love. I’m committed to setting and achieving goals. Here are some things I do to ensure I stay on top of who I am and who I want to be:

Cooking: Try new recipes, cook fun meals, share favorite dishes. A friend shared a simple 4 ingredient flatbread recipe on Facebook the other day. I made it my new pizza crust.

Health & Fitness: In the past two weeks, I’ve rediscovered my love for bicycling. I have just about 60 miles under my belt in just over 10 days, and I plan to keep riding as long as the parks remain open.

It’s Time to Focus on the Good

As a society, we get caught up in the negative. We hyper focus on the bad things we see in the news, get extremely critical about political parties that aren’t our own, and shame people who view things differently or don’t abide by our own personal set of morals. In times like this, it’s even easier to get sucked down that rabbit hole. I just wanted to point out some of the good I’m seeing reported out there in the world.

With social distancing now extended through the month of April, these trends are likely to keep growing.

What trends are you seeing? What good would you like to see come out of our current situation? Let me know in the comments below.

Personal Passions

Redefining Personal Health

How has it been over a year since my last update? I swear that, at some point, I made a public announcement that I began a new job on the management team at our local Harley-Davidson dealership. Guess not.

Well, the past year has been a busy one. Where cycling was a huge focus leading up to the job-track change, it fell to the wayside after starting the new position.

Work hours extended. My schedule shifted. A period of adjustment. Health was no longer a focus.

And it showed. Looking back at a photo of me taken in February 2018, I could see just how much the new position impacted my body. I had gained 15 to 20 pounds. Around that time, my wife and I vowed to make a change: we would renew our effort on personal health. The journey would look different than either of us ever thought.

For the first time in both of our lives, we became gym rats.

We joined our local gym, Riverside Health Club, and committed to going three times a week. Simultaneously, we began using an app called LoseIt to track our calorie intake.

As I’m a numbers junkie, let’s review. I’m getting personal here:

February 2018
• Roughly 174 pounds
• 28% body fat
• Size 34 pants
• M to L shirt size

Not that great, but not terrible. The weight was my heaviest ever, though just by a few pounds. Body fat was a surprise, though I don’t believe it was in the terrible category, just in needs improvement/i>. Medium shirts were starting to get tight; my gut was starting to show.

September 2018
• Roughly 138 pounds
• 11% body fat
• Size 30 pants
• XS to S shirt size

Monumental change! The quantitative stats show radical improvement in my health, including a glowing physical at the end of last month in which cholesterol, blood pressure, heart health, and everything else they track was in the excellent category.

But just as important have been the qualitative stats. Improved health has increased my self confidence tremendously. For the first time in my life, I can literally run for miles. Focus has shifted from weight loss to muscle gain, a further boost in confidence.

My wife, too, has seen monumental improvements in her health, having experienced similar changes in metrics. Certain aches and pains she has experienced for years — her shoulders for example — have now disappeared entirely!

I’m looking forward to what the future will bring. For me, I’m sold on dishing out a little cash for a gym membership. Well worth it for the betterment of my future.