I have recently found myself unemployed. My life consists of early nights, naps and sleep ins. There is a prevalent theme here – sleeping. This begs the question, what does one do when one has no job? It’s a frightening thought that spurs on many more frightening thoughts. Without a job, who are we? What is our purpose? Is our purpose in life inherently tied up in our professional pursuits? Does our personal life warrant so little attention that our identity is reduced to a 9 to 5 job? It sort of feels like it.
I’m 26. I have done everything by the book. I stayed at school until I was 18. I attained the highest possible grades. I went on to study the law because that was the sensible thing to do. Giving the then precarious economy I completed a Masters. I did “the right thing” and worked with the homeless for a year. Now, after all this, plus over two years in a “professional” work environment, I find myself unwanted, unneeded and frankly, a little alone. In my mid twenties, I feel like a washed up has-been.
I am, of course, being slightly overdramatic. I have been officially out of a job for one month now – it just feels an awful lot longer. I’ve interviewed for four jobs – apparently just narrowly missing out to someone slightly more experienced than myself (I’m convinced that’s a just a lie to make me feel less terrible about myself). I’ve now reverted back to the proverbial drawing board, which has begged these larger philosophical questions. With days/weeks to stew over my “talents” and “skills”, I’ve come up with… well, not a lot. Are these elements of our lives so overlooked that it requires an interview to scare us into remembering what it is that is good about ourselves?
Surely our job – though entirely essential – should be secondary in our lives. Shouldn’t it follow success and happiness in our personal lives? Aren’t our family and friends, passions and beliefs paramount to anything that can be achieved on a professional level? Perhaps we all need to take a little time out. Take stock of our lives. Appreciate our values and traits outside of the working environment. Maybe then, if we do find ourselves in this unpredictable position, we won’t be so afraid to answer the question “what are your skills?”
These are all just notions. Notions which have just slapped me in the face very recently. Maybe our jobs are that important. Maybe most people are generally quite balanced in their lives. Maybe I am, after all, quite alone.
5 thoughts on “Unemployed and Unenthused”
You are not alone. I am also unemployed, in tarnsition, in a new location, unknown and waiting and trying to find a job. I am a bit older than you, yet, I feel what you feel and agree with your point – we are essentially alone and taking time to be alone is a good investment into rediscovering and affirming of who you are. Vulnerability is in the way, though. Because we desperately want to connect to the world. And, a job, with all the skills that you bring into it, is a sure way to connect you to life. That’s why a job, if it’s a right job for you, is very important. I used to have a job I loved for many years in different companies. Now, my passin is not quite there. Should I take time to rediscover and rebuild myself? In the meantime, I apply and interviews don’t materialize into anything inspite of my degree from a great place and experience. After a period of feeling shaken and weak, I am again filled with energy, I’m beginning to see what I need to do next – change my career that suites me. Good luck on your search! The answers and jobs will come, you are in a necessary waiting station. Once your energy comes back, you will not be sleepy. Just wait for that moment.
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Thank you for taking the time to read my stuff. My reason for starting a blog, I guess, was twofold: 1. making use of my time 2. having an outlet to share my thoughts and feelings.
Receiving comments like yours is so encouraging. We all get into these ruts and it’s so easy to lose perspective. It’s amazing how fast things can change.
I’ve stopped beating myself up – i’m going to practice writing, continue applying for jobs, while taking it all with a pinch of salt.
I hope you too find what you’re looking for 🙂
I’m so glad it was helpful. Thanks for your reply. I think I’m becoming a writer! So exciting! Need all the encouragement I can get 🙂
Good luck with all you do to into the beautiful flow of life! Your writing is open and honest, I like your style!
A job gives you structure, discipline and self identification.
Not completely mind you, but it is a focal point around which you can essentially frame your life.
That’s why it’s so hard to go without one.
Well, that and the lack of income of course.
Substituting something else in its place (dedication to a writing project, a hobby, volunteering, even NEW JOB SEARCH) can help fill that void and provide that framework until you decide what you want to do next.
It helps you avoid the trap of sleeping in, staying home and generally losing your mind. =-)
Well, we both know you’re not alone. Not by a long shot. I’m a decade older than you and I’ve been feeling all of these same things, but one thing I can tell you for sure is that your self-worth is not wrapped up in your job. It’s just not. There’s so much else that defines us other than the job.
Good luck to you.