Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why Being Unemployed Doesn't Make You a Failure

What looking for a job is like...

Last year, around this time, I just graduated from my masters and was unemployed. To many of those who are in the same boat now..here's a letter to you, from formerly unemployed me:

Dear Unemployed Friends:

Now that the excitement of graduation has died down and you've sent your 200th+ cover letter and resume to a company, you probably can't help but feel that you're a total and utter loser at life. At this point, Facebook, the one place where you went to waste time, has also become your worst enemy as it's a constant reminder that everyone else is "succeeding at life". You might feel that the extra degree you got was worthless or maybe you're even regretting all that time you spent studying in the library and giving up your free time to do internships...because so far it's amounted to... nothing.

As a formerly unemployed person, I wanted to take some time to remind you of a couple of things:

1) You are not a loser/failure - Do you have friends and family that love you and support you? Do you have a degree that makes you qualified to apply to jobs? Do you still have your health and wake up every morning in a bed? Do you have food to eat and clean water?

If you have one or all of the above, you are not a loser. You are winning at life. For reals. 

2) You are not dumb - Finding a job is actually 95% luck and 5% skill. Some of the most skilled people (like you!) will get passed up not because you're unqualified, but most likely because HR wasn't looking through their emails on the day that you applied. 

Yep. It's that dumb.

3) Your employed friends actually envy you - Sure, sure, life sounds great as an employed person. But you know what's even better? Going to bed late and sleeping in until whenever-you-want-o-clock.

It's not like you have 3 kids and a spouse to support.

4) Don't compare yourself to others - As hard as that sounds, and as hard as social media makes that possible, you have to remember that no one is the same. You might start thinking "WHAT. X got a job!? Now I'm REALLY a complete failure." But no, that is not true (See #1). Maybe X applied on the day HR was reading emails. Maybe X's father is friends with the CEO. Maybe X is doing something completely different than you.

Don't go down that unhealthy spiral. You and X are not the same.

5) Enjoy being unemployed - This is another hard thing to do, especially when you feel like you can't have fun without accomplishing something first. But as my sister told me: "this is the only time you're going to not have a job. Enjoy it. You're going to be working for a lifetime." #bestadvice. So
if you've been meaning to start a blog, or maybe become a youtube star, or maybe you just want to lay on the couch eating cheese puffs all day long, this is your time.

6) You ARE qualified - There's something about the job search (oh i know- the rejections) that makes you feel like you aren't qualified for anything in life. But that's not true (see #1, you're a winner!). Also, sometimes, you might be "too qualified" for the job. yep, that's a thing. So don't base job rejections on whether or not you're qualified. 

7) Your time will come - Just as everyone bragged about their awesome new job, you too will have your moment of glory. It's all about timing and being patient.

Sooner or later that job offer will come rolling around. Until then, keep networking and keep revising that resume and cover letter. 

Happy Job Hunting!

PS: In the words of Kelly Clarkson, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger... what doesn't kill you makes you a fighter" #ROAR #yougotthis

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