The only thing worse than having a job, is not having a job.
Not working stirs up the absolute worst in us. It brings out our anxiety, boredom, frustration, and even despair. We lose faith that we have anything to offer society. Did we trick ourselves into thinking we were actually worthy of earning money in exchange for our skills? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?????
But I know that you know that’s not true.
Unemployment can play tricks with our minds and convince us that we’re never going to make a living, no matter how hard we try.
Trust me, you ARE worthy of work. You are worthy of doing something great. And if you can just hang on a little longer, you’re going to be just fine. But in the meantime, it’s good to be as productive and positive as possible so you can at least enjoy your break and create a foundation for later success. So, here are the Blush tips for dealing with unemployment.
1. Cast a wide net
Part of the problem when facing unemployment, especially longer gaps, is our tendency to operate under tunnel vision. We get fixated on ONE job, ONE specialty, or ONE skill. But the reality is, we are good at a lot of things. We can perform well in a lot of environments. And we work well with a lot of people. The more opportunities we create for ourselves, the better our chances are of moving past this unemployment phase and moving into adult life. You are only making it harder for yourself by chasing a limited amount of opportunities due to fear or insecurity.
Do not talk yourself out of applying for a job because you think you’re not qualified. That’s not your decision to make. That’s the company’s. So cast that net as wide as you possibly can.
Put yourself up for as many positions as possible. Because in the end, you can adapt. You’ve been able to learn from dozens of teachers, work well with handfuls of different people, and make friends with groups from all over. So you’ll be able to adjust to whatever life throws at you. Just give yourself a chance and keeping fishing.
2. Keep an open mind
Again, don’t let your fixation fool you. You might have studied Public Relations, but I’ll be damned if you aren’t turning out to be a marketing pro! Maybe you buried yourself into psychology books, but management is looking super tempting right now.
All that works. You don’t have to follow the linear path. You don’t have to chase what you studied in school. In fact you can pursue whatever the hell you want as long as you get pumped over it. Give things a chance. Consider the fact that your life might not turn out how you’d always thought it would. No one’s ever does! And yours might turn out to be better than you ever expected if you open your mind up to the possibility that you are meant for something you never even considered to begin with.
Pretty exciting, eh?
Feeling completely stuck and have a lot of time on your hands? Give volunteering a whirl.
Not only can volunteering give you the inside peek into what a potential job is really like, but it can also fulfill your feelings of purposeless for the time being. I wouldn’t recommend volunteering full time, though. You have bills to pay! Money to save! But a part time volunteering gig will take your mind off the limbo, satisfy your desire to contribute, and educate you for a new field. And who knows? Maybe a part time volunteer job could turn into a full time paying job that you love. Opportunities, opportunities, opportunities!
4. Use Plan B
(No. Not the birth control.)
Ok. So. About dem bills.
They can’t just disappear. It’s fine if you’re receiving financial help from parents or family – totally normal – but don’t write yourself off from being financially capable. Instead, go for Plan B. What can you do in the meantime that will pay? Yes, a full time that you absolutely adore – with benefits – would be nice, but we are already searching for one of those. So what can you do in the interim?
Ideally, you want something that produces quick cash, has minimal training, and naturally has a high turnover. This way you can get in and out whenever you do finally land a job you love.
I’ve had plenty of interim jobs in my life. I’ve worked in admin, retail, the restaurant industry, babysat, and even done accounts payables (that was rough). All of these were inherently short term positions that filled in the gaps between school or job slumps. And dang did they do the trick. I was busy, making money, and not drowning myself in the misery of the unknown. Plus, I wasn’t spending money while I was working. That in itself was worth it.
My favorite job out of the bunch was bartending by a mile. It was perfect. I made a lot of money, was able to get my own apartment, and had flexible hours for school. I could have easily sat around and ate bonbons until I graduated, but forget that. I was hustling.
I also had to wrestle with my own disappointment in myself. I didn’t want to be working at a restaurant – my dream was to grab a job in the counseling field so I could gain some real experience and join my friends in the 9-5 working world.
I wanted to feel like a grownup! It’s normal.
I can tell you with confidence that my dream definitely wasn’t to serve drinks for people I went to college with who accepted their pomegranate martinis with condescending eyes. (“All that education and she ended up here…?”)
That was not Plan A.
Hell, it wasn’t even Plan F.
But this job taught me more about customer service, quick decision making, management, and business than I could have ever hoped for. I still to this day wonder whether my masters in counseling or bartending for Hillstone prepared me more for running Blush (true story). Plus, that job also kept me on my feet, introduced me to some good humans, and taught me how to make exceptionally fabulous cocktails. Win-win.
So spring for the Plan B. It could be more beneficial to you in the short term than a “real” job could be in the longterm.
You don’t have to do this all on your own. Pump your network. Vent to friends. Lean on mentors. Cry to family. Just do something! Don’t let yourself wallow or stress or let your mind go in circles all by yourself. Get others involved. Not only will they help you gain perspective, but they can also put the word out there that you are looking for a new opportunity.
Remember, in order to get what you want, you have to ask for it. And sometimes it helps to have others ask for it, too. Communicating about your uncomfortable situation might be nerve-racking, but just one conversation could spark an opportunity that you hadn’t considered before.
It’s also good to surround yourself with positive people. You need to feel empowered. Uplifted. Excited. Optimistic. Nobody wants to hire someone down in the dumps – so you’ve gotta make sure you are taking care of your emotional health. Not sure where to turn? You’ve always got us, your handy dandy online life coaches, ready to roll.
Need help finding a new career?
You have come to the right place. We have a personality career quiz for you (and we’ll also send you a free career guide!), life coaches on deck ready to pump you up and point you in the right direction, and plenty of more blogs to trigger some inspiration.
And you can always join us here! Can’t wait to chat.
Photo by VICTOR HANACEK