Nov 25, 2020

The statistics are impressive.  6.9% of people in the U.S. are unemployed right now, and the worldwide unemployment rate is the same.

But in my work with unemployed people I’m hearing more excuses than stories of success.

  •         Didn’t someone say the government may be handing out money sometime soon?
  •         The COVID-19 crisis is constantly just there, becoming part of our lives, and making some people question whether it’s even worth it to go to the grocery store.
  •         And here in the U.S., it’s Thanksgiving week, and then the end-of-year holidays are right around the corner.

So many issues! 

So many distractions!

Is it any wonder that some job searches are stalled?

But wait – the stock market is UP.

Job openings are UP.

Claims for unemployment, in the U.S. at least, are DOWN.  And the unemployment rate, at 6.9%, means that 7 people out of 100 are unemployed – which means that 93 of every 100 are working!

Yes, people are getting jobs!

Some are seasonal jobs at Target.  But a lot of them are jobs that these people will have for a long time.

You’re either in the sandbox (looking for work, I mean), or you’re out of it.  And other people are building castles in there!    Have you heard of the many well-known companies that were started during recessions?  Here are a few:  Uber, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Mailchimp, Hyatt Hotels…

You’ve heard the statistics that many companies are pleased with the results they’re getting from employees working from home … and, of course, there’s no threat to your health from doing that, if you’re qualified for such work.

It’s time to put the excuses aside.

Here’s the truth:  if we want to allow ourselves to be distracted, there will always be reasons to be so.  Heck, I’m distracted by playing Word Search on my phone!

But successful people know that the key is discipline.  It’s not that I shouldn’t play Word Search at all, but if it’s 9 in the morning, I should be working.

If you’re sandbagging, you know it.  Why do you allow it?  And if you’re a parent, don’t you know that you’re teaching your habits – good and bad – to your children?

If you have a habit of slacking, structure your day.  Plan the main things you will do tomorrow morning, and the main things you will do tomorrow afternoon … and if you don’t get them all done, move them to the next day’s calendar.  If you don’t get them done then, keep working in the evening until you do.

It’s easy to be lazy, but it leads most people to financial instability and misery.  Why not break the pattern?


Lenann McGookey Gardner is a Harvard MBA and operator of 

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