Five Great Things to Learn from Unemployment
Here I bring you five habits I developed in 8 months of not having a job.
2020 started, my fresh out of college self was full of expectations and beliefs. I put on my best suit and went to many interviews in different pharmaceutical industries. My story turns blue around march, after three months of many interviews and no calls.
I heard a lot of times that finding a job gets harder and harder every day. But I always thought, “That’s not going to happen to me.”
Best in class with a 3.8 GPA, many ambitions, no clue of how the real world works (and if you add a pandemic to my status). The only safe thing to say is that I have kept indoors.
So, after eight months of being unemployed, I would like to share five things that have kept me on the road to becoming a better person and even improved my lifestyle.
1. Accepting that you are unemployed
I know its hard to look on social media and see how people brag about different luxuries. It almost seems as if they have everything they wanted and all the secrets on how to get it, leaving ordinary people margined and left to only watch. But the first thing that I had to do was to accept I was unemployed. Accept that no one hired me even though they could and that maybe I am not good enough (yet).
This state of mind will relax your thoughts and reduce the anxiety that can be overwhelming. Acceptance is the first step into letting go of the things you have no control of, leaving you only with room to grow.
After accepting my current state, I left my brain alone and started my journey to improvement.
2. Developing patience to withstand the pressure
Do you remember that cliche of the family driving in a car? The steaming highway, the smell of heat, and the annoying kids asking, “are we there yet?” That is a clear example of what happens to everyone when starting a new project, we want it fast and to be bigger and better than what we imagined.
Anytime your brain will start asking, “are we there yet?” Becoming frustrating after a while. If you add your parents or family members that always request to know, “what are you going to do now?”
Then it becomes too much.
Fortunately, the second thing that helped me was to develop a decent amount of patience.
At first, it can be hard. The uncertainty is what always got me to feel bad about myself. But I sat down, took some breathes, and rearranged my brain in simple ways.
For example, I visioned myself already having the thing that I wanted. I enjoyed it and relaxed. Then I would write down how it made me feel and what I could do in the next 20 minutes to bring me closer to my goal.
After many repetitions, I now have overall good patience in my life. Which has helped me a lot with being more present at the moment and enjoying the process.
3. Focus on the activities, not the routine
We have heard of it before, waking up at 5 am is what the most successful people on the planet do. And even they will tell you that it’s how you get a head start, which begs to ask, “Against who!?”
I admit to having tried this in a desperate way of feeling a little bit more successful. To my surprise, it only improved my grumpiness and lethargy during the day. So after a few weeks of experimentation, I decided to keep my usual 12 pm to 7 am.
Bringing me to my third piece of advice, focus on the activities, not the routine. The difference between both is that one is more flexible than the other. One makes you feel bad when you skip it, while the other allows you to relocate it to another time in the day.
Routines can be useful for developing good habits. But in most cases, they are rigid and complicated to follow for long periods. Such is the case we are all in right now because of the health contingency. The routine that governs our day to day is nothing similar to what it was last year. If you let it, this can leave you feeling sorrow, but if you focused only on doing the activities each day at a time. You can bring a lot of peace in your life.
Thinking about the activities in your day (reading, meditation, workout) with no schedule to follow. Lets you know what you have to do in the day without feeling tied to a specific hour and gives you much more joy. And if something unexpected happens, if life happens. You can adjust the time in which you read or workout and keep the good mental energies flowing. And don’t forget to be disciplined.
4. Meaningful work is better than just working
The first issue of being a college graduate and unemployed is that we never had to put ourselves to work. We always had a teacher that put up the assignments, exams, questions. So how am I supposed to do that by myself?
Well, the first thing I tried was to enroll in a lot of online courses that I thought would allow me to grow (bad idea). I ended up quitting most of them and never login into the lessons after the first week.
In school, you can’t choose which assignments you want to do, either you do them or fail. In life, things are different. You can choose what not to do, but the failure comes bigger and slower. Thus, you don’t realize it until you have been doing it for years.
It took me a while to understand the hidden reason behind my failure. It all comes down to the motive of why I chose those first courses (to feel like I was doing something). It never occurred to me to start with, “What do I like the most and would love to learn about?” And although it is pretty hard to pin down specific things, I have managed to enroll in some courses that have kept my interest and make me feel better about my situation. To my surprise, some of these are not even related to my career.
5. Trying out new things creates a road to being happier
Recently I read an article by Zulie Rane titled The six habits of miserable people. One of which is “not trying out new things.” It resonated with the situation in which I found myself, making me analyze my happiness.
I guess that looking back, makes a lot of sense that I am happier now than before. Now I am trying new life projects and ambitions I’ve always had but never managed the time to do.
I honestly don’t know how to find the courage to try new things. I believe that the pressure of lacking something is what drives us to create it for ourselves. Relying on people that you care about, allowing them to push you even further, is something we all should do. And it helps if you ever find yourself out of motivation.
The last advice is to try out that crazy idea that has been roaming around in your mind. Maybe it is not that crazy. It could be what you have always needed and will bring you joy. Such is the feeling we all deserve.
So I encourage you to try one or two of these if you feel like I did. Also,
How long it took you to find your first job?