I just might be an expert at unemployment. This is my fourth time being unemployed in search of work, and my third layoff. I try not to take it personally – it’s just the economy for someone who graduated during the recession (holla, class of 2011!).
So anyway, as I have become an expert in unemployment, I thought it would be nice of me to impart some of the wisdom I’ve garnered from multiple layoffs.
Please feel free to print this list and tape it to your bathroom mirror, or staple it to a former employer’s forehead should you ever meet in person again.
How to Survive a Layoff:
- Let yourself wallow for a week, max. You’ll naturally be upset at the rejection involved in a layoff, and it’s okay to be emotional (even if you’re actually a little relieved). Be sad, be confused, maybe rage or cry a bit – then let it go. Getting laid off is the employment equivalent of it’s not you, it’s them, so it really hasn’t anything to do with something you did. Repeat this anytime you want to maybe drunk dial your boss with recriminations and various song lyrics from Destiny’s Child.
- Release the guilt. If you’re married, you may be inclined to feel guilty for no longer contributing monetarily to the household. Remember that your paycheck does not determine your worth – your spouse did not marry you for your ability to bring home the bacon (hopefully). Just call to mind those lovely intangibles you do bring to the home – like your ability to sing ALL the words to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” or the fact that you bathe daily.
- Bathe daily. While it’s tempting to skip this while lounging in your p.j.’s all day, just don’t. Trust me on this.
- For the ladies: make sure you have plenty of pairs of yoga pants. This will become your uniform, as combing through hundreds of thousands of jobs (99% of which are either fake or inapplicable to your job search) is uncomfortable enough as it is.
- Stock your fridge with healthy snacks. That way, you won’t mindlessly eat an entire jar of Nutella in a fit of depression upon discovering that all the good jobs require way more experience you can even exaggerate your way through.
- That said, make sure you go out for frozen yogurt or a latte once in a while. Seriously, money may be tight, but you can surely dig through your couch cushions for the two-fifty it costs for a vanilla swirl. It’s important to get out of the house and interact with people, to be frugal but not destitute. Destitution = not good for the psyche.
- Take up some form of exercise, even if it’s just walking. It’s easy to become a blobby hermit when there is no agenda for your day, and this will add to any melancholy or cabin fever you may experience during your unemployment. Plus, everybody knows the secret about endorphins making you feel better, right? I don’t need to go into that here, do I?
- While it could be easy to spend all day in front of the TV watching a 24 marathon (not that I’m doing that), do something productive that you love but maybe didn’t have time to do while working. This will keep you from feeling useless, or worse, bored out of your cabeza. Pick up that paintbrush, maybe, or finally read the Dostoevsky canon along with the companionate literature and write a dissertation on alienation from society in Russian literature (not that I’m doing that).
- If possible, get a pet. It gives you someone to talk to other than the furniture.
- When you get frustrated during your job search and want to heave the computer across the room, walk away and do something unrelated to finding employment. Sometimes you can get sucked into a vortex of internet job search engines and hypnotically click for eight hours, but doing so will most certainly only frustrate and depress you. With that said…
- …Continually do things that keep you positive. Music, yoga, dancing, gardening, visiting friends, building LEGO replicas of the Millenium Falcon; it’s so important to not let your jobless state get you down. Unemployment and depression go hand in hand, especially during a discouraging recession and a market flooded with low-wage jobs. Unless it was always your secret dream to peddle overpriced lattes at the Buck (I actually worked there when I couldn’t find a better-paying job, so I’m allowed to call it that). No judging.
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