Life fluctuates. Sometimes we are way up, and sometimes down. As someone who works on a contracted basis, losing my job happens consistently throughout my year. I have come up with a process to get through the periods where I might not have work for a while.
1. Don't panic.
It's going to be okay. This is all a part of life and it happens. It can be disheartening to realize that your main source of income is gone, but it will be okay. Remember, once upon a time you were out searching for your first job and you had no experience at all. Now you have some. Something new will come along.
2. Update your résumé.
This is the best first step. Get everything cleaned up, change vernacular, add your previous jobs, even try a new format. Something eye-catching is always good when a potential employer is sifting through stacks of resumes looking for a potential candidate. There are a ton of resources online to help you. Resume.com is a great source and can assist you in a lot of ways. There are also templates on Microsoft Word. I always have a close friend or colleague check out my resume after I finish it. I ask, "what can be changed?" and "what is working well?"
3. Be proactive.
This is a biggie. Although I wish it were so, often jobs do not just fall into your laps. You have to search them out. Prepare yourself for a little rejection. If you are me, prepare yourself for a lot of rejection. Just keep applying. I have applied to places I don't particularly want to work for. But that is okay. It is a great way to practice applying and possibly even interviewing until you get the job you really want. Indeed.com, LinkedIn, and even Craigslist could be options to search for when on the hunt for something new.
4. Don't be afraid to take a temporary job.
I've worked in the produce department of a grocery store, done data entry at a logistics company, and even cleaned houses until my next project came along. There is always a way to make some money. You don't have to work there forever and it will bring in some income until you find a job making your desired salary.
5. Reduce expenses where you can.
This is something I try to do everywhere. Cut out Starbucks or maybe only eat out once a week for lunch instead of everyday. Cook at home. You can save so much money at the grocery store by taking advantage of sales and coupons. I'm no extreme couponer, but by only buying items on sale, I've saved hundreds of dollars. Make sure you turn the lights out if you aren't using them. If you can help it, drive less. Whatever you don't need, don't buy until you are in a better place financially.
6. Get rid of unused items.
Do a sweep through of your house. See if there is anything you can get rid of. You can sell just about anything on Ebay and Craigslist. You can't spend every minute job hunting. So in your free time get rid of the old stuff, do a good clean out. This way when you do start your new job you'll be ready for it.
7. Spend time with your family.
When your days are free, there are many opportunities to call your grandmother, or go see your brother. I usually try to avoid activities that cost money during this time, but there are so many things you can do for free. I used to take my grandmother to the library. This was some wonderful quality time spent with her doing something we both loved.
8. Remain patient.
Great things are still ahead. My sister-in-law used to always say, "It all works out." This has been my mantra since I was a freshman in high school. And do you know what? It's always been true. Even on the really dark days it always worked out. Not having a job doesn't mean that you have no purpose in life. Your purpose is much greater than what you do. Just keep applying, interviewing, and searching for your perfect fit. It's okay to take your time. It all works out.