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.