Moving to Houston and having law school fall through has left me again for the second time this year, without employment. And because this is my second time around, I’m dealing with it better. This past year, I was without work for 3 months (February to the end of April). Now I am there again. I am in a bigger city with a lot more jobs available but job hunting is hard. It’s not just hard to find a job, but hard on your body and spirit. Unemployment is hard.
My earlier unemployment this year had these things happening almost everyday: a workout sometime during the day, lots of sleep, lots of food, and netflix like crazy. This time, I am having much more of a productive life during it and if you ever find yourself unemployed and having to look for jobs, here are my tips.
Set a schedule.
Don’t sleep all day and all night or just watch netflix while you haphazardly look at online jobs. Create a schedule for yourself. Currently, I am working out in the morning, with Pure Barre and a walk/run with my dog, then I come home and eat breakfast. During this time, I get all my internet fixes: reading other blogs, catching up on instagram and email. Then I look for jobs for 3 hours, whether that means applying, following up, making changes to resumes and cover letters. I set a goal for that time and I try to meet it. It could be I need to find 10 jobs to apply for. Or maybe 8 if I applied to a lot before. I make sure to follow up on every job that I apply to if I can.
Then I eat lunch. Then I study for the LSAT and I try to change my scenery for this, maybe a coffee shop or something for human interaction. And then in the later afternoons, I’ll look at stuff about blogging or read a book. Being unemployed doesn’t mean that you should just be laying on the couch.
Don’t watch TV during the day
This goes back to the laying on the couch. If I turn on the TV, I’ll be 5 episodes deep all of the sudden and I’m like where did my day go? It messes up a schedule and then you feel guilty for not getting things done. I try not to turn on the TV until after 5. Some days when you’ve been unemployed for a while and you just can’t get an interview or you find out you didn’t get the job you thought you would, watch TV. That is when you can lay on the couch for a while and watch TV and be sad. But only for a little. Get up between episodes and walk around the block. I’ve had those days too, but I always feel better about my days when the TV stays off and I’m listening to music and working on things.
Get some human interaction
Whether its going to a coffee shop, or going to the dog park. Those little small talk interactions help a lot. Making a comment or two to a girl with me at Pure Barre about how rough that was or if the room was hot helps a lot with having to be at home all day applying for jobs. Walking around the mall (without buying anything) is also a good thing. Call some of your family you haven’t talked to in a while. And if you don’t get outside or talk to people, definitely turn on the TV.
Enjoy the time you have
Don’t worry the whole time you’re unemployed about money and the future. It’ll all work itself out. I need to remind myself that daily because there is so much anxiety when you don’t have an income or a job. Not having a purpose sucks. So find something you’ve always wanted to do and go do it. Go to a free museum day during the week because you’ve never been able to with a job. Enjoy making elaborate dinners and food because you have the time. Read all the books. Enjoy being able to see your significant other a lot more than usual and take your dog on three walks a day. Don’t stress the whole time.
One of the things someone told me is that when applying to jobs, that job is your whole day. You want it and you need it. But the hiring person sees that same job as just something on their to-do list, and it might not be super high on their priorities. So don’t worry if you don’t hear back immediately. Do what you can: a strong application and a follow up email three to five days later.
Don’t spend the whole time worrying. You are strong and will survive. And I’m right there with you!