Guest Blog: My So-Called (unemployed) Life

Remember that time I wrote a guest blog for my friend, Brianna from Girl Seeks Place, and you all thought it meant I was so super awesome? (leave me to my delusion) Well, now she has returned the favor and is my very first guest blogger e-v-e-r. Pretty spiffy, huh? Read on, and enjoy.

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My name is Brianna and I am 28 years old. I have been unemployed since June 2008, but prior to taking a position at the local public library, I was employed as a teacher’s assistant at a preschool. I served in that position for nine months before I was laid off from the position due to low enrollment for summer camp. In May 2009, I accepted a position at my local library. Unfortunately, I was let go from that position in October, due to conflict with other staff members. I have been unemployed since then, but I have not let that stopped me from being productive.

I have been doing quite a bit over the last two years to find a job. I have sent out hundreds of resumes (the number is too high to keep track of at this time), made cold calls to dozens of stores, restaurants, and other businesses. I have been networking with friends and family, as well as using Facebook and Twitter as networking tools. I have gone on about a dozen interviews since being unemployed. The feedback, although generally positive, has not yet resulted in employment for me. I am now in the process of finding more networking outlets and groups to join in an effort to meet more people and perhaps hit on a connection with someone who can help me find employment.

I have been babysitting, tutoring and whatever other odd jobs I can pick up to help out financially. The emotional aspect has been the most difficult for me. My self-esteem and confidence have really taken a hit and I’ve lost a lot of my motivation. I am trying to get out more and spend time with friends and family in an effort to boost my confidence and remind myself that things will begin to turn around soon. The biggest obstacle I have encountered is my lack of experience. Although I have experience doing a variety of things, it is often not enough for an employer to be confident to give me a chance. It makes it very difficult to provide for myself when I can’t even be given a job on a trial basis. I am willing to do whatever it takes and want only to succeed in whatever I end up doing with my life.

A typical day consists of waking up fairly early. I take care of my e-mail, social networking sites, and check the blogs that I follow. I spend a couple of hours in the morning applying for a variety of jobs, both local and in other places where I might be willing to relocate. As a fledging writer, I also try to schedule an hour or so in the morning to write. After I take a break for lunch and to do some reading, I repeat the process of applying for jobs again in the afternoon. Once I’m done with that, I try to write more, but I seem to have trouble focusing my thoughts in the afternoon. Once the business day is done, usually around 5 p.m., I am able to spend some time reading or focusing on my other hobbies of scrapbooking and embroidery.

Despite the length of my unemployment, I have stumbled upon some wonderful opportunities. I have been able to travel a little bit, become more involved with my synagogue, and focus on my true passion of becoming a writer. I also leave myself time to connect with friends throughout the week. Although this isn’t something I am able to do every day, but once or twice a week I find time to go do something fun with friends. It is just enough to take my mind off things and refresh me for the next day’s round of job hunting.

Being unemployed has had a huge impact on my relationships. Unfortunately, many of my friendships have fallen by the wayside. So many people that I was previously close to are working and have families that keep them busy. In the beginning the impact wasn’t as noticeable, but as the weeks go on, it becomes more and more obvious that key people are missing from my life. Of course, that has also given me the opportunity to cultivate new relationships with people who are in situations similar to mine and are better able to relate to my current life situation. My unemployment has impacted my self-esteem in a big way, although recently I have found myself feeling more self-confident and able to push myself farther when it comes to getting out there and finding a job. I am currently living with my parents, which, at my age, has taken a toll on our relationship. I hope to see that change soon and am doing the best I can to create the change I wish to see.

I have definitely had to change my job expectations and my career path. Although I am a teacher by degree, I am okay with not getting a teaching job. I know that it is more important that I find any kind of job, even if it isn’t perfect. Once I am employed, I will be in a better position to find a job/career path that I enjoy and can be passionate about. At this time, due to financial restraints, I have been unable to pursue further education/training, but it is certainly something that I am open to doing, should the opportunity arise in the future.

Being laid off is something I continue to struggle with. Being a teacher had been my dream for years, so to have the rug pulled out from under me was a little bit of a shock, although I knew about a week before I was laid off that I was going to be so I had a little bit of jump start on finding a job. However, I don’t think that extra time has made a difference one way or another. The biggest piece of advice I would give to someone who has just found themselves unemployed is to stay strong and not let the things they enjoy doing fall by the wayside. I let things go for a long time and it really affected how I behaved and felt about things. As mentioned above, it also affected my relationships with people that I was once very close to.

The number of things I have learned from being unemployed is nearly infinite. I have learned that I am stronger than I ever knew and have learned to push myself when I feel like I can’t go on anymore. As far as me finding a job, I have learned that anything is fair game and I have to stand out from the crowd if I want to get noticed. With so many people unemployed, there are hundreds of applicants for every job out there; I have to do everything I can to ensure that I stand out above the rest, whatever it takes. Until I was unemployed myself, I never really had any attitudes about others in that position, either positive or negative. I’ve always thought that unemployment was one of those things that most people didn’t really have any control over.

Overall, I have grown as a person over the last few years and look forward to continued growth. I am also hopeful that I will be returning to the workplace soon in a job that I love and am passionate about.

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I went looking for a picture of Bri & I, but found this instead.
Brianna & my kiddo
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