If you have read a few of my blogs or follow me at all, you know that things are changing this week. You will know that a journey is coming to an end while a new one is beginning. If you don’t have it in your calendar, I’ll let you in on the secret. This is the last week of my contract as an intern. Come next week, it looks like I may be unemployed.
I have briefly touched on the subject before, usually skirting it when I can. When I graduated back in April of 2015, I spent two weeks in Laos and Thailand with my girlfriend. Just finished school, travelling for the first time, I thought that the world was my oyster. When I got home and settled, what I really faced was four months of unemployment.
I was, for some reason, under the impression that not getting a job made me some sort of failure, as if I was lesser than my peers who had secured employment or that not having a job would lead to my life ultimately being ruined forever. And I know that sounds dramatic and ridiculous now, but that feeling was overwhelming at the time. So, now that I am reflecting on that time, here are some of the things that have stuck with me since then.
Lesson One: Not being employed does not make you any less than anyone else.
Like all things, this time will pass. It may not seem like it while it is happening, but there are very few people who will go the rest of their lives without a job, and it is usually due to some unique or extraneous circumstance if they do. I can’t guarantee how long it will be, but I am confident that you will find something. Even if it is just a stepping stone to better things, you will find that foothold.
Lesson Two: Don’t give up on the little things.
This one is an important one. I turned my day job into applying for jobs, endlessly scouring the internet and newspapers for new opportunities. It became an obsession. At first it was accompanied with working out, cooking proper meals, and working on my hobbies and my skills. But the wear of facing literally hundreds of rejections, of leading day after seemingly fruitless day started to take its toll. I stopped eating well, I stopped exercising, I stopped caring about all but a few things. If you ask my partner, there was a very significant possibility that I fell into a dark depression.
But just by making an effort to keep up some semblance of normalcy, you can help ward off these dangerous thoughts. I found that even simple acts can have a huge effect on your outlook. Things like starting the day off with a shower, or putting on proper clothes rather than hanging out in pajamas (again). It is scientifically proven that even seemingly meaningless acts such as doing a power pose - assuming a stance that reminds you of someone powerful, like Superman or Wonder Woman - can have lasting impacts on confidence and mental health. So be sure to do the little things.
Lesson Three: You have options.
Working a traditional job is not the only option available to you, especially in today’s rapidly-changing world. Even without a job, you have a multitude of options available to you. You can choose to continue or start a new education path. This does not necessarily mean going to college or university. There is a growing amount of online, part-time, cheap, and even free learning options. These different forms are not only becoming more recognized, but they will develop skills that are both enriching and useful when looking for jobs.
Additionally, the internet has made new lines of work available. Freelance work, in particular, has become more commonplace. Whether you use your own channels to promote your services - like a website that lists your prices and what you are proficient in - or go through a professional freelance board. A growing website for the latter that I have personally seen pop up more than once is presto.xyz, however there are plenty of options available. If freelancing isn’t the gig for you, there are options, such as rev.com, a website that pays per minute of audio or video you transcribe or create captions for. You have to apply for it, however the application process is fairly straightforward and easy.
Will living in between jobs be easy? Probably not. There is no cure all, no quick fix for unemployment. Nobody enjoys worrying about affording necessities, nor do they like applying for dozens, even hundreds of jobs just to face rejection. However, there are ways to not only make the most of your time while you are applying for jobs, but to make your situation even better.
In the comments below, let me know if you have been in a situation similar to mine, and how you made the most of it… or at least how you made it more bearable. If you have any tips, I am sure we would be happy to hear about them. And last, but not least, wish me luck!