Unemployment Is Going to Get You!
Unemployment is going to get you! This is not some overly dramatic statement. Rather it is a fact; most of us are going to deal with unemployment at some point in our lives. The question then becomes, not how to avoid unemployment but how to deal with it.
These are the lessons I've learned from unemployment.
I am no stranger to unemployment; I would even go as far as to say that unemployment and I are on a first name basis. Graduating in 2009 with a bachelor in psychology did not exactly set me up to have the most reliable career path. In the four years since graduation I have worked over ten different jobs, each challenging in their own ways, but ultimately none seem to stick. While I have had more success at some jobs than others, I have always found myself back at square one; unemployed, on the couch scouring job websites and plastering my resume all over town.
Then eventually by pure statistical probability I become once again employed. Soon after I begin a new job, I look back at my unemployment period only to realize that I just wasted a whole bunch of free time! The irony of unemployment is that we are always complaining about never having enough time, yet when we are gifted with all this free time we squander it away catching up on what happened on LOST (which is a job in it of itself).
Parkinson Law states “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. Therefore, when we allocate unlimited time to finding a new job it takes up unlimited time and it becomes this overbearing objective.
The easiest way to avoid becoming victim to the endless job hunt is to take a page out of Paul J Meyer’s book Attitude is Everything . Develop a SMART goal. The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Here is an example of my SMART goal for job hunting.
So You’re Smart Now What
So now you have a goal and a track to follow. However, it seems like something is missing each day is still filled with this nonchalance, this feeling of disinterest. During some of my unemployment days I stayed in bed until four or five in the afternoon. I would plan on getting up and doing something but always found excuses and kept setting shifting deadline. Glancing over at the clock I would think, ok I am getting up in an hour… an hour would go by, and I would think well I am still pretty tired another hour is not going to hurt. Well now it is lunch time I will make a sandwich, guess I will do the dishes, better clean the counter while I am at it, hrm looks like this cabinet could use some rearranging. Now I need to rearrange the fridge, oh snap it is 5pm, no use going anywhere now it is going to be dark soon. You get the picture I was making excuses and rationalizing my laziness.
Without a doubt this was the hardest pattern to break, but once I found out how I never had to struggle with the lazy voice again. I found that if I made my move early when I had the most energy and I could power through the rest of the day. I made it a point to wake up at 7 am every morning and go for a walk, to the gym, or just get out of the house. I would eat breakfast pack my laptop and resume folder and hit the streets, working out of Starbucks, libraries, or hotel lounges (Hilton Garden Inn was my personal favorite). Being out of my comfort zone made it easier to adhere to my SMART goal, I could no longer become a busy body around the house I only took the tools which I needed and cut out the excuses.
Get up and get out! Become adept at working from a mobile office, mine was a backpack with gym clothes and a lap top. It is always easier to say in bed, but it is far more rewarding to get out and seize the day.
Find Your Passion
So you hit the bricks, armed with your laptop, your smart goal, and a sassy attitude*. Chances are you cannot avoid your home for long, eventually you are going to need to head back to resupply. So how do you avoid the vacuum of the bed/couch/comfy chair?
Feed your creative urge! My go to stress relieve has always been practicing martial arts and working out. While working out is great, eventually I needed something that challenged my brain muscles. Normally I would find local mixed martial arts gyms, but as luck would have it they are fresh out of those in Casper, WY. Therefore, I turned to explore my other passions, and stumbled upon carpentry. I found that working my hands making things gave me a sense of accomplishment, and allowed me to be creative. I also took up learning German. Why German well check this out and tell me that doesn't sound awesome, and that’s just how they talk about the weather!
To reiterate from earlier, you are going to become unemployed. Accept and enjoy it. There are many stresses that come from not having a steady source of income. However, if you focus on the negatives you become a victim of paralysis by analysis. Build your game plan, get out of the house, and go enjoy your free time. Take an online class , learn a language, or take up a new sport. All we have in this world is our time, don’t squander it.
*sassy attitude optional