The Unemployment Blues
Where's my guitar? I wanna sing the blues.
You’re unemployed and struggling to find a job or even obtain an interview. With each passing day that your phone doesn’t ring the more you retreat into yourself. If you’re not careful you could slip into a depression, wondering how the heck you got to a point like this in your life. Perhaps you spent major bucks on furthering your education after high school and now wonder if you wasted your time and money because it’s not paying off in the end. Maybe you’re a student right out of high school who decided to skip college and jump into a career. You might even be a retiree whose pension check is stretched too thin. It doesn’t matter who you are, unemployment can really stink. It’s important to not beat yourself up over this setback in your life. We have to keep faith that things will turn around and that your phone will suddenly blow up with calls and messages.
You probably spend most of your days staring at the classifieds and scrolling down Internet job sites, but you can only do that so much in a day (the job notices generally don’t change by the hour). After your obligatory job hunt is over, what do you do with the rest of your day? Specifically, what can you do that takes your mind off the fact that you are unemployed?
Here are a few suggestions:
This is a suggestion close to my heart. I volunteer at a free health clinic in my home town and I feel good every time I step through those doors. Being unemployed means that I am without health insurance and when I saw the story in the paper about a free health clinic opening in my city I immediately sent the coordinator an e-mail thanking her and everyone involved for their willingness to open a clinic in our community and I offered my services. I explained that I wasn’t a nurse or doctor and I didn’t have experience in a medical setting, but I was willing to make coffee and empty garbage cans if it meant that I could help out an organization that was doing something so wonderful for our community. They accepted me with open arms and I now perform receptionist duties and I really enjoy it. It’s a wonderful feeling to be part of something bigger than myself. Having the opportunity to give back to my community, especially with something as important and needed as healthcare, makes me feel good.
Personal feelings aside, volunteering can also be a great networking tool for you during your job hunt. If you’re struggling to find a job you can contact a company in your desired field and ask if they are looking for volunteers or unpaid interns. Many companies promote from within and if you can manage to get your foot in the door, even if it means getting coffee, it could be the best decision you’ve made.
2: Join a club
If you’re looking for something fun (and potentially productive) to do while you’re unemployed, I suggest joining a club. It can be any kind of club, as long as it’s not illegal, I don’t condone illegal activity (but if you do join a club that others might look down upon, first rule: don’t talk about said club). I joined a friend’s writing club and I must admit that I am enjoying it. It’s great to be able to discuss writing with other like-minded people after graduation. The writing club is actually planning to expand into a book club as well and I am really looking forward to that. So, if you find yourself bored with watching TV and surfing the Internet try looking for a club dedicated to something you love. Not only will it be a great way to pass the time, but it gives you something to look forward to as well as creating an opportunity to make new friends (and potential job connections, now that I think about it!)
This is a great way to divert your mind away from the unpleasantness of unemployment. Maybe you’re an artist who loves to paint, but you never had time before when you worked a full schedule. Maybe you own a guitar, but you never really learned how to play more than a few chords. Maybe you’re a writer who never had a hard enough shove to get you going. Whatever your hobby is, being unemployed allows you to finally spend time doing what you love. Without the stress of a rigorous work schedule you are able to really nurture your hobby of choice and maybe that extra time spent honing those skills will lead you down an entirely different career path. The possibilities are endless (well, almost endless, hobbies can be expensive if you don’t already own all the materials you’ll need to get started.) Some hobbies even have the potential of making you a little bit of cash. Writing and photography are two good examples, by submitting your work to websites like Hubpages or iStockPhoto.com you have the opportunity to turn your hobby into profit. Being unemployed, while incredibly frustrating, can be a blessing in disguise. You can finally start planting that garden you’ve been talking about, or visit with your family more often, or you could even get started writing that next bestselling children’s book that you have lurking in your mind.
4: Get healthy
What better gift could unemployment give you than time? Being unemployed allows you to make use of all that leisure time by looking after your health. Maybe you’ve been hoping to shed some extra pounds or you just want to make sure that you maintain your awesome bod while you’re surrounded by nothing but the kitchen cupboards and your television. Being jobless gives you extra time during the week and that means that you can get out there and go for a walk (weather permitting) or dust off the treadmill that sits in the corner holding onto your blankets and jackets. You can’t go wrong when you take an interest in your personal health. So put down the nachos, turn on the treadmill and try not to fall off (on a related note, start out slow and don’t forget to stretch before any workout).
5: Clean your house
Not my favorite option to beat the blues, but cleaning is a great way to be productive while you’re unemployed. Cleaning is a great way to see the fruits of your labor. The harder you scrub the brighter your kitchen and bathroom will shine. It’s always nice to have a clean home, especially when you’re stuck there day after day checking the classifieds.
You never know what you will learn about yourself when you have so much free time. What are some of your suggestions for staying positive and beating the unemployment blues?