Making the Best of Your Unemployment
Let’s start with getting things straight: becoming unemployed against your will is tremendously painful. All of a sudden you have to make ends meet. Best case scenario you live in a strong welfare state where you are entitled to significant benefits. But nevertheless, you will have to do with less.
Maybe equally, or even more, painful could be the dent in your self-esteem. Your job is a key means to self-identification. It’s a big part of who you are. When meeting someone new, one of the first questions will always be “What do you do for a living?” Without this means for identification you can start feeling lost and insecure. If your applications for a new job are rejected, it further adds to the problem.
Spiraling up or down
In such difficult times it’s important to realize that wellbeing could either spiral down or up. If you keep your head hanging and keep feeling bad about yourself without taking any action, your wellbeing is likely to spiral down. This is a very dangerous path, in fact it’s how depression starts. So it’s important to adopt the right mindset, right off the bat.
To do this, first you have to realize that unemployment brings a lot of opportunities. Opportunities you wouldn’t have if you were still working a full time job. If you approach these opportunities well, your unemployment could turn out to be a good thing!
Opportunities – foundation for the future
The time that frees up because of your unemployment can be used to build the foundation of your new future. So let’s take a look at all your new opportunities.
Being unemployed is the perfect time to take responsibility of your health. When you work a full time job, it can be hard to motivate yourself to cook healthy meals and workout. I’ve been there. After a long day at work you just want to eat some quick comfort food, do some necessary chores and maybe watch a series. And that becomes the vibe you are in. That’s how you live and that are your habits.
When I all of a sudden became unemployed, a lot of time freed up. I took the time to take care of my health. I noticed the tremendous effects on my energy levels. Also my self-esteem increased when all of a sudden I started to look like a fit guy and people complemented me on my new look. Obviously this works wonders for a person’s wellbeing.
It’s crucial to see this period where you fix your health, as a period where you build a foundation for the future and not a temporary relief. When I found a new job after a couple of months, I couldn’t imagine going back to my previous self. I kept to my healthy habits, for which I can now honestly thank the period of unemployment for.
Self-development is probably the most crucial part about building a foundation for the future. To hone yourself for a future life direction, you need to have the necessary skills. When unemployed you have the time to develop those skills. And since those skills are related to the path you want to go, it’s very likely that you will enjoy their development.
During my unemployment I learned proper English, English writing and web development. I still use these skills on a daily basis.
Once you start your professional career after school, it’s difficult to change its direction. You have a fixed income and a set future (or so you think). It’s difficult to give up security for the unknown. Well, by becoming unemployed you are thrown in the unknown anyway. Now you can at least give it an effort to get that job you always wanted.
Alternative income source
When time frees up, you have the time to step up your passions to the next level. Instead of only enjoying the time spend on your passion; maybe simultaneously it’s possible to make some money of it. This differs from the career switch I covered earlier, because it’s not your main source of income. It’s a side hustle. By resigning to a day job, the process will remain enjoyable; there will be no financial stress while working on your passions. This also gives you the time to start small and slowly. And, who knows, maybe over time your alternative income source grows large enough so that you can make a living from it.
For me personally this translated into blogging about various topics of my interest. After a while my blogs started generating traffic, which in turn generates income through AdSense and affiliate marketing. This is one way to go, but obviously there are many other options. For example, if you love photography, you could submit your images to stock photography sites, where people pay for them.
I would like to end this hub the same way as I started. I completely recognizes that becoming unemployed is painful. But it’s helpful to keep in mind that this difficult period brings along certain opportunities with it. When we act to seize these opportunities, we can build a solid foundation for a life we aspire to.