When Unemployment Tries to Kill You

Be fired, get the axe, get sacked, pink slip, put out to pasture, call it quits, resign, retire, stand down, give in, hand a notice, vacate and bow out- all mean the same thing eventually. The market that it is right now, we have a lot of people around us- either they quit on their own or they were made to quit. Whether it is for a month for six months, there is a waiting period before you get into the next thing. And even though there is nothing shameful about it, we feel ashamed. Endless scrolls on the social media which were once a normal thing now become a pain in the ass. Everyone seems to be moving ahead, having a vacation, finding happiness, getting engaged or married or going on an international honeymoon- everyone, but you. And the worst part about it is that we let it become a big question mark.

Am I good enough?

Will I ever get a job?

What will I tell people?

Do I deserve this?

What did I do wrong here?

Why did this happen to only me?

How could they do this to ME?

While a little bit of contemplation on these questions is only natural and necessary but overthinking is dangerous. It makes you lazy, under confident, sad, under confident, regretful, under confident, aloof, attention seeking, etc.

The risk is that if you keep thinking, “I am useless”, you will internalise that thought and it will become a part of your mental framework. It kills you partly.

And this is not me giving philosophy. This is by personal experience. Starting from March 1, 2017, for the first time in five years, I went on a break. For a person like me, it is very difficult to be tied down to home but I accepted that probably that’s what I needed. It’s a circle full of emotions. It is very easy to go on a guilt-trip and coax yourself in guilt or pride. But the most beautiful thing that not having a job can do to you (if you have at least a basic saving in hand), is that it gives you time to think, rejuvenate yourself, find meaning and do things that you always wanted to do but never did.

And these new things/experiments need not be monetary. I cut down my expenses to the most, most minimum. I lost weight, gained muscle and became fitter- for free. I took Aerobic and Zumba lessons from Youtube videos. It worked in two ways: It saved my money and second, it helped me stay in hibernation. I made long term changes in my diet. Cut sugar out of my coffee- not even in the cappuccino. This dauntingly seemed like the biggest sacrifice I have ever made for my health. But the funny part is, I started loving it over the period of time.

I began writing one blog a day. I began reading four books a week.

I began learning Spanish (Duolingo).

I took summer workshops for kids in a nearby community.

These things can be different for everyone.

I have to mention that there were moments where waking up from the bed was a task and the temptation of sleeping after a meal was irresistible, and everything would make me feel ugly, laid back and good for nothing. Friends, only trying to be kind, looked like they are taking pity on me.

Acquaintances were being mean, asking very pointed questions: “Ohhhhh…So what will you do now?????” As if my life had ended and my five years of experience had been suddenly nullified. But at times, I ate their doubts and suffered from indigestion. These emotions come like a wave of a tornado, you have got to hold on.

Family can be difficult to deal with if you don’t communicate with them. I am lucky in that terms too. We had honest conversations of the time and space I need. And they gave me the same. Words cannot express how big a support this can be. You must try to communicate your feelings with your family. It is unfair to expect that they’ll understand without you sharing what you feel.

Their stream of advice and questions could be their anxieties for you. It is easier to feel that they doubt you and think you are good for nothing but resist that urge. Even if you want them to stop asking questions and give you time- you have to say that in as many words. If you want a little monetary support from them, seek help, they are your parents.

Of course, How to Care for Someone who is on a break, is also an art. 

If you don’t have any savings then well, you might have to start looking for another job or freelance. Or seek a basic support from your parents, which hurts your ego a little, but in the end, they are your parents.

Taking one day at a time is very important. Not judging yourself is incredibly important. Overthinking is lethal. You are not alone. A lot of amazing people out there are unemployed. It is not shameful. It is a natural process, just like food chain. You just need to first put yourself back together and then look out for the next thing.

One job or a company or a relationship does not define you.

The jack is to know what you want: If you want to go back to your family- that’s okay, go. If you want to loose weight- that’s amazing, begin. If you want to freelance- find! If you want to travel- try low-budget exploration. If you want to learn new things- go ahead! If you need to urgently find a new job, make efforts, talk to people while keeping your ego aside, seek help! Everything is fine, okay until you are okay. Don’t let unemployment kill you.

Unemployment- 0 You-1

 

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