So, You’re Unemployed

So, You're Unemployed: 8 Things to Do So You Don't Pull Your Hair Out Over Applications

Well, I failed at keeping the blog updated. So, quick personal update. I’m unemployed. I quit my job because one of the doctors that I worked with sexually harassed me and my manager chose to stop believing me when it became inconvenient. Along with a few other reasons.

Now I’m on the hunt for another job. Preferably up in the Chicago area so that I can be closer to my boyfriend. Oh yeah. I am now dating the guy that I had been in love with for the better part of eight years, so there’s that.

Okay. Article time.

So, you’re unemployed and your depression/anxiety/mental illness is setting in. Filling out applications gives you a panic attack. Putting together a resume feels pathetic. Asking people to be a reference feels shameful. If you feel like that, me too! This is one of my least favorite things to do in the world. It does terrible things to my brain. So, I have to counter that.

Job applications are unavoidable, but now that you don’t have a job, you have a lot of free time to take care of yourself and possibly heal some wounds that your last job made. But if you’re anything like me, my anxiety will scream at me to do something productive. Here’s what I’ve been doing or could be doing:

  • Writing
    • Not only am I working on a novel, but I’m trying to give my blogs some love. I want a career in writing, so I need to write. Even if I’m not applying to writing jobs.
  • Learn a Language
    • Depending on how long your unemployment lasts, you could actually become pretty decent at this, which would add a skill to your resume for sure. Even if you don’t become anywhere close to fluent, you’d still be using a part of your brain that you don’t normally use, which is a good thing. (I use Duolingo (browser/iOS/Android) and Memrise (browser/iOS/Android)
  • Connect
    • Or if you want to be business-y about it, network. Get connected on Twitter, reddit, Facebook groups. Find people that do what you do and build relationships with them. It’ll be good for your career and it’ll give you some semblance of a social life if you don’t already have one.
  • Exercise
    • That thing that everyone tells people with a mental illness to do. You actually have the time and energy to spare for it now. Get into a habit of exercising now and when you’re no longer unemployed, you can theoretically keep that going.
  • Spend Time with Loved Ones
    • I can actually go out to eat with my parents and watch Jane the Virgin with my best friend now. I can actually allow myself to be included in life now.
  • Pick Up a Hobby
    • Or work on one you already have. For me it’s painting outer space on things. For you it could be building buildings out of Popsicle sticks, who knows. You might even be able to make some money out of your hobby!
  • Catch Up on Reading
    • I love reading, I really do, but I don’t do nearly enough of it. Especially when my brain is fried from a hard day at work. But now that stack of books doesn’t look so intimidating, it looks inviting. Plus, there’s always the public library if you need a free option.
  • Watch Queued Shows
    • You can finally catch up on all your favorite shows (hello, Stranger Things season 2). Just make sure you listen to your brain and if you start getting sluggish or depressed, turn the TV off and take a walk.

So, yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to during my unemployment. These are all things that my brain tells me that I should be doing (keeping up with TV is research, okay!) and now that I don’t have a job that sucks the life out of me, I can do them. And it feels so good. Being unemployed when you’ve got bills can be scary, but as long as you’re doing all you can do to get another job, why not also take your unemployment time as a vacation?

As always, feel free to leave comments below. I’d love to know how you get through rough times like this.


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