Living Lessons of Joblessness

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sometimes, when I'm on the job hunt, I wonder whether this whole joblessness thing is here to teach me something. It helps when I'm headed back on the train in the middle of the night, still wondering how to respond perfectly to that oft-asked party question -- 'so what are you doing now?' 

The lessons I have surmised so far, in no particular order:
1. Rely on other people. Spiritually, emotionally, financially. If they say they want to help, then trust that they do. I cannot put more emphasis on this. The thing that has gotten me through the low moments -- and truly, there have been some low moments -- has always been the brilliant group of friends and family members I have that hold me up in my new full-time gig: finding a job.

2. In the meantime, do only your passion work. I'm guilty of spending hours staring at job listings, writing cover letters, and trying to 'out-achieve' the job market. Even though I know that's not the way things happen. Spend some time focusing on yourself, and on the work you want to be doing (perhaps you, like me, have a National Novel Writing Month word count to get back to...)

3. Your time is only your own and the systems that exist are made to feel like you are wasting it. Your life purpose is not to find a job, so why do we so often feel bad if we don't have one? I'm learning myself how to re-value the work that I do in a bunch of different spaces, whether that's volunteering or working on an online magazine or creating art. If I undervalue all of these things and overvalue the idea of a job, then it makes all of those other things I'm passionate about seem meaningless.

4. Continue having adventures. And hare-brained schemes. As you can see, this holiday season I am selling some knitted and craft items. Not really because I want to make money -- hard enough to do that with a steady job -- but because selling knitted items is a little adventure I want to go on.

I'm not nearly having as rough a go of it as others I know, but I also want to make clear that none of these points make it permissible to chalk it up to my 'Millenial' attitude. Nothing burns my butter more than an article going on about how Millenials are entitled, and thus unhappy or, alternatively, are '#funemployed' and spending their parents' money. That only depicts a very narrow slice of our generation, and casually forgets the state of the current economy. (For a fun -- and full of expletives -- article on the subject, I give you Adam Weinstein).

Best of luck to you all, and holler at me on Twitter if you've got any more lessons or general frustrations from joblessness.