In what feels like an eternity ago I found myself unemployed. I know I’m not on my own in this by any stretch of the imagination, I have tons of friends who are jobless or interning. And it hasn't been an entirely wasted experience, I have learned some valuable life lessons, which I thought I’d record here for posterity.
Life Lesson #1 - Set short-term achievable goals
It’s easy to let the days and weeks fly by without achieving anything of note when you’re jobless. So I like to assign myself a to-do list:
- Buy milk
- Paint toenails
- End of list
How a list like this can take over an entire
day week is completely beyond me, but somehow it does. Time has a funny way about it when you spend it almost exclusively on jobs.ie, drinking so much coffee you develop a twitch known as ‘jobseekers eye’. So it’s helpful to set goals which make it SEEM as if time is passing in a reasonable and organised manner.
Life Lesson #2 – Daytime television is your new BFF
Let me introduce you to my new friends; Phil and Holly, they’re just like Kirsty and Phil without the rampant sexual tension, and they’ll keep you company until the afternoon when the postman comes. (Ooh exciting!) They’re less shouty than Jeremy Kyle, plus you'll learn a recipe. Magic.
Life Lesson #3 - Lounge wear is EXTREMELY important
This is truth I’ve long held dear, but one that’s been hammered home to me recently: Dressing gowns are amazing. Now maybe it’s wrong of me to OCCASIONALLY wear a dressing gown all day long, but my God, it feels so right! I can’t quantify how much better I feel in a toweling robe than fully dressed.
When you have a lot of time on your hands, sometimes it’s nice to pretend you’re a guest in a spa.
Life Lesson #4 – In times of stress, cook industrial quantities of food
What is it about couscous that makes life seem worth living again? When I have particularly tricky moments of fear and self-loathing, I love to cook. It makes me feel useful; so much so that I tend to cook a ridiculous amount.
Life Lesson #5 – This is not the time to write your novel
When I was first unemployed I genuinely thought I’d get TONS of creative things done. What I didn’t realise was that I was entering a disconcerting limbo of low self esteem while job-hunting. The self-doubt makes it impossible for me to focus on anything more creative than a few white lies for the CV.
It’s quite tricky to stay positive and productive, I miss the validation of working, I miss the pay checks, I even miss the office politics. The scary thing now is that I’ve grown used to this state of affairs. I don’t know how I’d fit a full time job into my hectic schedule!
*Checks above to do list.
Ok, I’ll manage somehow.
Has anyone else had a similar experience with unemployment? How did you deal with it?