Note: Apologies to mobile readers, there appears to be some alignment issue I can’t fix yet.
Everyone has been unemployed at some point.
When you were still attending school doesn’t count and neither does your stint in sixth form or college (kinda).
If you didn’t go to University then you know full well what looking for a job is like, unless you’ve been graced by the golden sleight hand of nepotism; if so then well done my friend, you won the lottery, really.
No it may not have been as well earned as actually applying to 104 jobs in the space of two weeks only to receive 5 rejections letting you know ‘how close you came’ or none at all. Out of the twelve replies you receive, a few are the golden tickets, that’s right Interviews; sweet Jesus what a glorious fortune that has showered into your life, you’ve been given the chance to go deeper in to the soul crusher pit for a chance to walk away gleaming, shining or not at all.
During this period of world record breaking application rates, it’s likely that you are unemployed.
Not many people with jobs look for new jobs because in the world of today it is better to be comfortably numb in any job you can get rather than to get a job that really matters to you or heaven forbid; makes you happy.
It’s not easy to even keep a job and when you are so desperate for work, settling for anything becomes the only option you feel there is, you don’t realise how hard you screw yourself once you enter this train of thought.
Let us begin with a few examples of getting work and then, losing it.
So you took a job, it is two and a half hours away, each way. Good work my friend you have got some real dedication to be hitting that job, but it will only last so long before you realise how much time of your life you spend commuting, which not only destroys your soul but actually causes some slight psychotic thought. To anyone that has to travel between Borehamwood/Edgware to Watford in the morning or during rush hour, you really know how to suffer.
Oh! So you got yourself a Christmas temp job working 10pm – 7am at a parcel sorting warehouse; nothing wrong with this either, if it’s what you want to do. But that bus journey home, covered in soot and misery whilst surrounded by people of the otherworld, the morning-world as the sun rises. That’s a special kind of suffering and you’ll be thanking your lucky stars it’s a temp position.
Oh! Ooooh! You’re really stepping it up a few notches here, what you’ve gone and done is not only found yourself a job working only thirty minutes away, but it’s also akin to the previous picker/packer position you held, you’re basically a pro here! The working hours are suitable to that of any normal human and the people here are great!
Too good to be true, the company drops you an email let you know ‘as per current business and staff levels, we will no longer need you’.
Not to worry, in a month and after all your savings are gone, finally something on the horizon shines so bright you put your hand up to break the glare so that you can see the prize.
A job in a new and expanding company.
A paid internship?
Fortune has graced your inbox today and the job is sweet. It’s an even easier commute, the money isn’t great but the opportunities to progress are fuelling the imagination like never before!
What a rush!
But, you’ve been duped; they were expecting more from you whilst being completely unclear on what it was that they wanted, they let you go.
The reasons are peppered throughout the ‘assessment’ aka the long firing and it comes down to the same old 21st Century executor of jobs – There’s not enough money and work to go around.
Now, these experiences can all happen within the space of a year. Four jobs, with a month or two between them, accompanied by the everlasting stain on your mind that is your own self-doubt; however did you get here? Are you truly incapable of even finding and holding on to that comfortably numb job?
Don’t kid yourself and fall victim to the swirling self-pity that comes with each new period of unemployment, don’t you worry about it too much anyway, swirl a little.
The most important thing to do between jobs is not get desperate and not waste time;
of course you want to relax and fuck around, but that’s not really going to do you any favours right now so here are FIVE very simple and very Pro, Pro-Tips on what to do during these trying times.
#1 – Polish up that CV almost every single day that you’re applying for jobs.
Don’t stop tailoring it towards industry or whatever. This thing is going to save your BACON* so for the love of god treat it like the only bacon saver in the world. *if you do not eat bacon replace with whatever alternative you want.
#2 – Stay busy, stay very busy. It’s extremely easy to fall in to the trap of waking up, putting on the dressing gown, making a cuppa and then only making more cups of hot goodness throughout the day. A few days in and you forget to feed and shower yourself, which is truly when the sweat from not making money begins to stink.
Treat every single one of these days like the chance to do that thing you always wanted to do, which does not mean get your high score higher on whatever game or complete that side-quest and obtain a Platinum trophy, but actually bloody achieve something.
That hit of potent dopamine can propel your mood in the right direction when you’re searching for work. Optimism is a powerful player in this game so force feed yourself some, especially when it’s out of the dressing gown comfort zone.
#3 – Try not to spend money.
This little fact of life may not come easy to some but good lord it matters, if your coffers are running bare then you need to budget your estimated period of unemployment.
Sure, treat yourself to some comfort beer and food, but this here is a caution to you; there is nothing worse than lining up several interviews only to not be able to afford the travel, a hair-cut or some bloody new shoes. This is an added anxiety that you really don’t need and will almost absolutely play in to your decision making when applying for work. ‘Is it smart, is it casual? How far away is it?’ are factors you can’t afford to worry about nor is worrying if you can even afford to make it to the first week of work if you were to get the job, so prevent that at all costs.
#4 – Apply for work every single day.
For a lot of us, it’s hard to know what we want to do. So don’t go ahead applying for jobs you know you don’t want in the long term or can’t do for much longer than a few months. Knowing what you don’t want can often help you filter the applications down to your interests/skill set, which is an extremely powerful move.
Whilst applying for these jobs, getting any work is better than nothing so, be sure to aim for at least some part time work or low skilled work that can you tolerate and won’t feel guilty for leaving when that special something comes along. It’s better than nothing so get what you can take for the mean time.
#5 – Stay strong!
This is a cheesy last entry but it’s true, when you’re a grown adult and the only true career you’ve had is working on finding a good job, things can get very depressing very fast. It’s easy to end up blowing all your money on making yourself feel better, watching TV, playing video-games and doing whatever it takes to take your mind off how horrible you feel and that natural urge to give up.
So avoid that, stay productive, reach out to all those who you know can help and keep your head held very high.
And that’s it, simple eh?
Obviously, these have nuances that you can apply to work in your own life but these extraordinarily simple factors have helped me, even in writing this.
So keep your heads up, your inbox constantly refreshed and for the love of god have a shower.