Kelly Poulson
Coach. Career Navigator. Ass Kicker. Dog mom.

We’ve all had instances in our lives when we've thought, 'I’d love it if I wasn’t working. Life would be so amazing, I’d read or nap or do all of the things I never get a chance to do because of work.'

And that’s all well and good. For the first few weeks, maybe. But then, being unemployed can start to take a toll. Looking for something new is exhausting. You start to question your abilities and battle with self doubt. Keeping yourself motivated can be difficult, but it’s certainly possible if you employ these strategies:

Use your time wisely. During this time of transition for you, be mindful of how you’re spending your time. It can be easy to fall into the sleeping later, being less productive trap. Make no bones about it, searching for your next career move is a full time job in and of itself. Treat it as such! Create a schedule and stick to it. Perhaps on Mondays, you’re all about writing, or connecting intelligently on social media. Tuesdays you spend getting coffee or lunch with various people in your network.

Be very intentional about how you are using your time. If we don’t plan for it, life can take over, and before you know it, your precious high-functioning brain power was used to run errands and do laundry. Creating an organized and proactive approach also aids in reminding you of all of the steps you are taking when at times it may feel like you’re not making traction or doing “enough.” (whatever that means!)

Get your learn on. Have you always been curious about improv? Contemplated attempting creative writing a few times throughout the years? Now is your chance to sink your teeth into those new experiences. You never know how transferable what you learn during this time will be to your next career adventure. We have more opportunities to learn and get involved in our world than we know what to do with these days. Online, in person, you name it, it’s out there. And quite often, these opportunities are free or at no cost to you.

Try new things. Trying something new provides a rush. Achieving something that we thought was a longshot is exhilarating. The more you challenge yourself to try new things and take action, the more confident you’ll become. Confidence is a friend you need in life at all times, but especially when you’re on the hunt for a new job. Also, you never know who you else might be attending that karate school or pottery class who would love to work with you. Be willing to try something new. Not all attempts will be a success, but it only takes one to land you in a much better place than you ever thought possible.

Stay connected. Having a squad during a time of transition is invaluable. Whether it’s folks who you have always stayed close to or you're fostering new relationships, having a team of people who have your back is the best. You can talk about challenges each of you are facing, open doors for one another as best you can, and sing one another’s praises to anyone who will listen. Being an advocate and having advocates on your side is like nothing else when you’ve had a tough day and aren’t sure where to turn next. Also, these are the folks who help you feel inspired! You nerd out over the same books, podcasts, events, etc. The inspiration is also another crucial component to helping you move forward.

Experiencing a time of transition isn’t easy, but it can be transformative. Take this time to invest in yourself, focus on the future and find the right role for you. You might even have a little fun along the way!


Kelly is a human resources pro and coach who helps people find and achieve what they want career-wise and beyond. Coaching, training, recruiting – if you name it in the world of HR, she's done it in a variety of industries. Her advice has been featured on The Muse, Career Contessa, Levo, Workology, among others. Learn more by scoping her out at