Nobody needs to tell you that unemployment sucks. When you spend your every waking moment writing cover letters time warps to snail pace. Hours seem like days. Days seem like weeks. Weeks seem like years.
The recent recession created much unemployment and layoffs but it was also responsible for giving a lot of people the courage to quit their secure 9-5 positions to do what they loved – myself included. Either way we’re all in the same boat – unemployed and out of our element.
Once you’re in a scary new place, where everything is unpredictable, it’s easy to get discouraged or demoralized. It can be soul-destroying to spend your days on job hunting websites, tailoring resumes and crafting paragraphs to convince a potential hiring manager why you’re perfect for a position. Particularly when you’re not exactly sure what it is they’re looking for.
I quit my job for my love of writing and editing. It has been a long month and a half of leads that are few and far between. Late last week I completed a test for a position I applied for, which involved two short write ups for the site I’d be working for. Although I am still uncertain of the prospects of that application, the blurbs made my day.
I’d forgotten why I was doing this whole thing in the first place. I’d forgotten about the thing I loved most. And it struck me how important the other pieces of your life are – these things that you love – in supporting you when you go through a job search period.
These are some of the things I do to fill the voids in my time, while I look for work. I practice yoga daily. I prepare myself food that is good and healthy for me to keep my state of mind balanced. I barely go out to eat anymore (unemployment doesn’t do great things for my social life). In short, when I’m not applying to jobs, I’m doing as much as I can of things I love.
When I’m writing or in the yoga room, I forget my anxieties and my fears of self-worth. Thoughts what might be wrong with my candidacy and what I might be lacking blur, becoming hazy before they finally melt away. What replaces it is positivity and
I use this time as an opportunity to rid myself of the things I dislike in my life – what better time to clean house either physically or metaphorically? Things you dislike can weigh you down and hold you back from excelling the way you were meant to.
I think it’s important to keep yourself in that positive healthy state of mind when you’re job-hunting. It’s truly a piece of the larger puzzle. So when I get bored, or I run out of steam, I remind myself to take a break, do something good for myself.
Also – the more you are out of your comfort zone – the more you learn and grow. You expand your horizons and do things that you never thought you’d do before. Although it’s cheesy to say it’s an opportunity – it truly is. What better way to motivate yourself to change your circumstances than to be forced to do so?
So although it’s not fun, and the positives of doing things that you love, cleaning house and expanding your horizons don’t do much to dilute the empty days, it can help provide a little bit of balance, and a little bit of positivity which may be just what you need to get you through that interview. I find, that it helps to remember that sometimes.
My resolution is to blog more often, write more often, practice more yoga and do other things to better my life to balance out my job hunt. That way, when the write opportunity comes along, as it always does, all the other pieces will be in place.