Unemployment: How To Cope

Awhile back, I received an email from someone in a similar (un)employment situation, asking how I handled it. This particular person is in a new city with zero family & not a whole lot of friends yet. While he does have a job, it's a horrible, temp job & he's inconsolable driving home every day. I am by no means an expert on this, but I did respond to his email with a few things that helped me. Here is my response:

Hey Friend,

... For me, this started in Nov. The first 2-3 months were okay because I expected to land an awesome job ASAP, especially since I had just spent 2 years in graduate school. Well, you know how that turned out. Here's what's helped, in random order:

1) Getting out of the house.

I sat at home Nov, Dec & Jan. I started a part-time job in Feb, which helped tremendously. Now, I hated that job & my boss was a teenager who managed to insult me at least 2 or 3 times a day, but it gave me access to a printer, a fax machine & Microsoft Word, which was a huge help in my job search.

2) Be as crazy/depressed as you feel.

I was a basket case, but I embraced it. Accepting how much this sucks & how depressed you feel actually helps a little. It's like taking off the mask makes it easier, if that makes sense. And I swear, people are more receptive to you once they see what you're going through.

3) Ask for help.

No one will help you, if you don't ask. I harassed the absolute shit out of everyone I knew on a stalkingly-frequent basis. Ask for help. They have a job & you don't.

4) Lean on friends/family.

I don't know what your network is there, but lean on whoever you have. This was the hardest for me because it's not in my nature to A) ask for help; B) acknowledge I need help; or C) accept help. This was an incredibly humbling experience. I learned real quickly who my real friends are & it was honestly pretty surprising. I was surrounded by people who paid for all of my meals, called & checked in, sent me job leads, PAID FOR MY $120 HAIR APPOINTMENTS, took me to the movies, took me to get ice cream, made me meet them for walks/runs, sent me cards, flowers, etc..... Friend, you need people around you, or you're going to sink.

Does this help? Make you feel worse? Hang in there, buddy. It HAS to get better. It has to.


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