The Ups And Downs Of Unemployment
Job Search

The Ups And Downs Of Unemployment

by Samantha Tollin
Photos Marie McGrory | January 28, 2015

BEING UNEMPLOYED CAN BE TOUGH, BUT IT’S ALSO AN OPPORTUNITY TO FIND WORK YOU TRULY LOVE. HERE’S HOW TO EFFECTIVELY HANDLE THE UPS AND DOWNS OF YOUR TIME WITHOUT WORK.

Picture this: you’re on a hike.

You’re almost to the top of the mountain.

You know that feeling? The feeling of accomplishment and that burst of adrenaline that pushes you that much further?

Of course, when you get to the top of the mountain, it seems like the hard part is over. You realize you still have to hike all the way down, but that’s easy enough, right?

Wrong. It never is. You still have to get down the mountain.This picture, this hike, this mountain—this is the reality of unemployment.

And I know, because I’m living it.

Much like the hike, some parts of it are tough, some are exhilarating, and some are even exciting!

I’ve had days where I wake up feeling like I want to conquer the world. And then, there are somewhen I wake feeling like the world is conquering me. Though it’s easy to get down on myself during this process, I’ve trained my mind to think of this period as a positive learning experience and an opportunity to find the work that’s perfect for me.

For you too, there will undoubtedly be many ups and downs on your unemployment journey, but it’s important to think of the experience as the stepping stone to your next big venture.

Though the situation has a bit of a negative stigma, people become unemployed for a variety of different reasons, whether it’s being laid off, taking a sabbatical, going on maternity leave, or being terminated. And unemployment is a full-time job in and of itself, requiring a lot of effort poured into job searching, applyinginterviewingnetworking, and more.

Here are my favorite tips for staying positive and  using your “in-between-jobs” time wisely: 

1. PLAN YOUR DAYS OUT AS IF YOU WERE AT WORK.
Whether it’s writing out a to-do list or making a list of goals for the week, having something in writing will take away that sense of scatteredness you may feel when wading through your job hunt.

2. KEEP AN EXCEL SHEET OF ALL THE JOBS YOU HAVE APPLIED TO
—and what date you applied so you know when to follow up.

3. DO SOME SORT OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
—for at least 30 minutes a day. You will feel SO much better you did. Exercising can clear your mind and help you really focus on what needs to get done. Even if it’s just a walk around your block, that small amount of exercise can make a huge difference.

4. SCHEDULE IN BREAKS DURING THE DAY.
It’s important to take small breaks from the job hunt throughout the day so you don’t get too overwhelmed. By allowing your brain to focus on something that isn’t job-related for even just a small chunk of time, you’ll be able to recharge and return to it with more clarity and stamina.

5. GET A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP. 
It can be very easy to sleep in and go to bed late when you are unemployed. Remember that job hunting is a full time job; you have to get adequate rest to achieve your goals. Develop a sleep routine that works for you so you can get the most done throughout the day.

6. BE CONFIDENT! 
The worst thing you can do when you are unemployed is to lose your self-esteem. Just remember that you will find another job—it may just take some time. Having a positive mentality throughout this time is essential to achieving your goals!

On any given day, you will be going up and down that mountain. You will have days where you doubt your ability to find your next paycheck. And then there will be days where you feel like you will take over the world with your job-hunting abilities. Whatever kind of day you’re having, remember that this is a stage of your life that will change you for the better—if you let it—and transform into an unforgettable experience later on. Use this time wisely to focus on building your skills and reflect on what you really want in work and life.

* * *

Although there are many hurdles that accompany unemployment, finding work that you truly love is well worth it in the end.