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July 29, 2014

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Surviving Mondays

Nobody’s favorite day of the week is Monday. But for someone between jobs, Monday can be especially tough.

My friend Dana didn’t see it coming when the corporation she worked for laid her off last month. She had just gotten a stellar review, and she was the sole employee assigned to several priority projects. But the company’s economic forecast sealed her fate, and she was sent home with two months of severance, assurance she would get her bonus and three months of job placement counseling.

Shock turned into anger, which morphed into panic. Would she ever work again? Monday became Dana’s longest, most dreaded day of the week.

It’s when her neighbors file out of her subdivision to their jobs, leaving her behind in a bathrobe. It’s when her empty agenda stretches out like a lost highway and the weekend seems a light year away. It’s when she wishes she could spend the day with her son, but she knows she needs to look for work so she sends him to daycare anyway.

“On Monday, I really need a laugh,” she says. “By Monday night, I feel like I really need a margarita.”

Monday doesn’t have to be so crushing for job seekers. The key is a detailed survival plan. On Friday, fill the Monday window on your planner with productive activities.

Here’s a sample:

8:30 a.m.: Eat a healthy breakfast

9: Hit the gym

10:30: Shower and dress in comfortable clothes, but not pajamas!

11: Send at least five networking e-mails. Respond to e-mail and voice mail. Search the Internet for five job leads and send résumés.

12:30: Eat a healthy lunch

1: Send five more networking e-mails. Send résumé to several colleagues for critique. Place follow-up phone calls from last week’s networking e-mails. Fill out agenda for Tuesday.

3: Grab a healthy snack and take a walk or call an upbeat friend who’ll make you laugh

3:30: Do prep work for a healthy dinner

4: Read, relax

Other Monday ideas: Sign up for a class on how to work Facebook and LinkedIn or even an enrichment class like painting or knitting. Contact industry publications and inquire about publishing an article. Sign up for a volunteer project that will be rewarding, but not overwhelming. Read a motivational or inspiring book. Set up your virtual office at a coffee shop to get out of the house. Meet a fellow job-seeking friend for lunch.

Not-so-good Monday ideas: Endlessly surfing the ‘Net for the latest Lost theories. Rearranging your Netflix queue. Running errands you didn’t do over the weekend. Shopping online. Catching up on soaps you haven’t watched since college. Instant messaging colleagues at your old job for the latest dirt. Obsessively cleaning and organizing the house. Beating yourself up for not seeing the layoff coming. Sleeping.

Monday doesn’t have to be the Worst Day of the Week. Instead it should be the day that sets the tone for the next four days: productive without being obsessively so, with a focus on taking care of yourself.

Eventually, you’ll be heading out for work on Monday morning along with your neighbors. When that happens, remember to call your friend who just got laid off and remind her that, yes, she’ll work again. Call her every Monday.

- Patti Ghezzi

Patti Ghezzi is a veteran journalist with 15 years experience covering everything from education to the environment to business. While on staff at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she founded the blog Get Schooled. She now writes about business for publications such as Atlanta Woman and Georgia Trend as well as the Web site DivineCaroline. When not working, she chases after her toddler, watches Yankee games with her husband and tries to figure out how to live green without giving up her beloved Diet Coke. Reach her at pattighezzi@searchlogixgroup.com.

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