The unemployment rate in the U.S. is hovering right around eight percent, which is the highest it has been in decades. Some economists predict that the U.S. could see unemployment rates hit ten percent, which hasn't been seen in quite some time.

Unemployment is one of the most stressful times of a working adult's life. It brings with it feelings of inadequacy, failure and fear that you can no longer provide for your family. However, there is also an upside to unemployment.

In my previous career, I worked in the field of broadcasting. While this might seem like a glamorous job to some, it is also a job which is rife with low pay for most, and frequent periods of unemployment. I compare it to working as an actor. A few are like Tom Hanks, who work often and make millions of dollars. The rest are suffering for their art.

When I lost my second-ever job in broadcasting during the recession of 1991, I sunk into a deep depression. I felt anger, fear and worse yet, I felt like a failure. What I didn't realize at the time was it is not being out of work that makes one a failure, but how they deal with being out of work. On that count, I did fail...miserably.

After I came to realize that being out of work was one of the hazards that came with the job, I adopted a whole new mindset to being out of work. Although I did find myself unemployed at times, I began to deal with these jobless periods differently. Here is how I spent some of my unwanted time off:

Learn New Skills. I spent a lot of time reading and continuing to learn to make myself more valuable as an employee. The local public library is a great resource, and the best part: it's free. Many communities also have job training centers and job training programs. If you are in a line of work that is being phased out, take advantage of these programs. If your career field is going the way of the dinosaur, don't hang on to the past. Embrace this as an opportunity to do something completely new and reinvent yourself.

Pursue hobbies. You know those hobbies you always wanted to try but never had the time? Well, now you have plenty of time. During one of my stretches of unemployment, I discovered I enjoyed cooking. I watched cooking shows on TV during the day and had dinner ready for my wife when she came home from work. She said she never ate so well as when I was unemployed. Of course, you need to make finding another job a priority, but for your own sanity you can only spend so much time during the day looking for a job.

Spend more time with family. My jobs have always taken a lot of time away from my family. I used my jobless periods as opportunities to spend more time with my kids. They loved the fact I was able to go to the park with them during the day, when I would normally be working.

Take care of your health. I have always worked a "desk job" and with that has come weight gain and flabbiness. When I was out of work, I had more time to walk, run and lift weights at home. By the time I found another job I was in pretty good shape.

Try out other jobs. Have you ever wondered if you would be happy doing another job? Why not try one out on a part-time basis while looking for a full-time job? You'll make a bit of extra cash while looking for work, you'll avoid having a long jobless stretch on your resume, and you never may like the part-time job so much you may decide to do it on a full-time basis.

Make no mistake: being out of work is no fun. It's also not a death sentence. Take advantage of the free time you have and it can actually be a productive break from the day-to-day grind of the 9 to 5.


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