It’s interesting to see how being unemployed has become this evolving subculture I’m currently surrounded by. To see how everyone deals with it, the process, the evolution:
Stage 1: The first two months you are almost refreshed. You are excited, feel motivated. You spend tons of time exploring, walking every street in the city and just thinking. You shop all the shops and see all the sites.
Stage 2: Then you’ve walked every street there is. The funds start to run low. Ramen remakes its way into your life. You stop going out in the day so you don’t spend money. Happy hours, entering contests and dating for free meals becomes your new religion. You start reading up on creative ways to save/spend money and learn to love the term “recessionista”. You make up fun ways to answer the question, “what do you do?” (Personally, my favorite answer is “I’m on a PR hiatus.”)
Stage 3: Then it turns into doubt and desperation and fear and depression. Doubt because you aren’t even getting rejection emails. Then you just start to say things to get any attention whatsoever. You think you are crossing the line when you post your resume on Twitter, emailing people who know people who know people.
You also start considering jobs you never would have considered before. You suddenly find you’re applying to anything and everything, questioning what the point of getting a college degree was. Waitressing? Dog walking? But then you don’t get responses from that and it’s depressing to think you aren’t good enough to clean up someone else’s dog’s poop.
You question life and destiny because you can’t help it. What if you made the wrong decision, what if this, what if that? I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, and still am for the most part, but it is hard to not question when you don’t see where this is going. But even if you find that you made the wrong decision, it’s not the end of the world and that is the beauty of life.
Stage 4: Suddenly you realize you aren’t the only one doing this. This job hunt has become a war, and war has no rules. No, it is not fair that there’s a bad economic state and it’s forcing you to question your passions in life. Be optimistic and think of it as a true test to yourself. I refuse to let the current situation be an excuse to settle and therefore don’t care if I seem desperate anymore. I am desperate…to do what I love doing.
So now what? Do you give up and change paths? Personally, I choose not to. I keep on truckin! A recent New York magazine article reported that people are striking up conversations that otherwise wouldn’t have been started, in their newly free and leisurely time. Putting aside the fact that some people are just weird, the worst that can happen is that they cannot help you in any way, but you had a nice conversation with someone and perhaps made a friend. You are keeping yourself social, which is something that can truly be missed when you become an unemployed hermit.
Note to all though, being unemployed is much better in the summer then winter. You can get out of the house, meet more people, do more things. For me, I picked the wrong time to be unemployed.
Stage 5: Which brings me to the latest stage, the present. Contemplating going solo, as so many have? Start freelancing? I just don’t know. Sadly I still can’t help but throw a small pity party and think to myself that there is no reason I should be struggling this much. I like to think I’m a smart, hardworking, passionate person whose life is going backwards. But until I figure it out, I am fortunate enough to have loving and very supportive people in my life that I am so thankful for.
Hopefully someday soon I can update this evolution with Stage 6: Employed.
Becca graduated from The Ohio State University in 2007 with a B.A. in Strategic Communications and jumped right into entertainment public relations in NYC. She had a blast but life has lead her back to Ohio, where she’s become a newly converted yogi, volunteers for Humane Society of New York and blogs for fun about PR and other things at NYBuckeye.
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