And the quest of the unemployed continues. Every day is like a product life cycle chart – it starts off slow, with the cold feeling of winter in my lungs, the foreign feel of the rug underneath my soles and the oh so unpleasant feeling of numbness in my joints and back. Yes, good morning. It is yet again past 8:30 and i am at home, guiding my feet one by one to the kitchen, where i make myself a cup of coffee with milk. My piggie slippers then slowly move back towards my place of procrastination – my work desk. Or just desk, in the last
Being unemployed kinda means you are your own boss – you give yourself tasks, you set your own deadlines and you check your own results. And this is probably what makes unemployment not a vacation – it is hard enough to do one of these jobs, let alone both of them. Especially when the results – interviews or offers – are late to appear.
Yes, being unemployed does mean a lot of free time. Lots of freedom and flexibility. Not so many financial resources. Lots of wasted moments and lots of regrets for the days that have gone by. Little or no satisfaction. For me, it felt something like the work of Sisifus – day in and day out, i had to go through the same steps: check out the new job postings, read the requirements, sort out the ones i wished to apply for, check the CV and draft a motivation letter describing how much i want to be part of the X culture and Y business methods. And at the end of the day, there was little or even no satisfaction whatsoever… there is not much to show for your day other than the inbox crowded with thank you for your interest in our company emails. In between the latter, the unfortunately, your application has not been successful, but we wish you luck in your future endeavors sting a little bit, but are still better than the lack of response. At least the latter made me more or less aware of whether i should check my e-mail on an hourly/30 minute basis or not, what e-mails to expect in the future, what chances i have, and whether it was time to lower my standards and start applying for another category of jobs altogether.
My official unemployment began on the 19th of October 2013 – but i did take some time to rest and to get my thoughts in order before getting on the job applications rollercoaster. Also, i had this weird feeling that everything was going to be ok, that i would be fine, that there is nothing to worry about… Maybe it was the fact that i had some money saved up; maybe it was my living at home and thus no looming rents or bills for me to pay. Maybe it was my confidence in my own value as a job candidate, maybe it was my intuition… or maybe it was just plain irresponsible of me.
Because in the end, everything did indeed turn out ok. Just as i was about to start panicking that my CV and candidature is becoming more and more obsolete with each day.
Week number 1 of unemployment was pretty productive in the sense of By that time i had planned a trip to Italy, with a short stay in Serbia, so it was really like taking a vacation… from the vacation i had already taken.
At first, i did not know how to be unemployed. I took a small vacation at the beginning – right after my contract with the BlueCo ended. i got together with friends and family, i met new people, took on a challenge here and there, got back in touch with myself and just rested and enjoyed the late October weather. And then the early November one. And then the late November one. I was lightly sending applications here and there, i had been to a few interviews, but i was not too stressed out. I figured i still had time – i had given myself a deadline, a period of light activity and just nosing around different job markets and areas.
Till it hit me. It was already the 1st of December, 30 days before my deadline, after which i had promised myself that i would lower my standards and apply for all kinds of jobs. I was so close to that deadline, the day when i had to stop aiming high. And i did not want to stop. Because i had not aimed hard enough before. I had not aimed carefully enough. I had not aimed well enough.
So i extended my deadline till March. But that is when i started to aggressively aim aim aim.
Too bad i was aiming all over the place and the arrows were coming back to bite me in the behind. I found myself always feeling guilty for not doing more, not sending out more, not reading more, not preparing more, not working more etc. I felt the constant need to be doing something, reading something, indifferent of the hour, so in the end, there was no free time, because technically, all the time was free time, right? I had no boundary between aiming time and me time, so i was constantly in a rush from here to there, procrastinating and feeling guilty at the same time, sending out applications in a hurry, hungry for more more more, for higher higher higher.
And as my arrow bag became empty, it hit me : i had to relax. Looking for a job is a full time job – and i needed to treat it like that. I had to take breaks. Lunch breaks, evening breaks, emotional breaks. And i had to enjoy the little time i had left in unemployment. It was a job, but after all, i was my own boss. And it did not have to be 9-6. It could be 8-5. Or 12 – 9, depending on the activities of the previous evening. But strictly had to be 8 hours. Ok, sometimes it could be 7. Other times, 6. But only on weekdays. Maybe sometimes not even on all of them. Sometimes, when an urgent matter appeared, i would send out applications on weekends as well. But not on too many weekends. Because otherwise, when was i going to have the time to do all those things there is no time for when employed? When would i have had time to enjoy the sun, read a book, drink coffee with my friends at noon, start writing on my blog again?
Too bad my unemployment period hit in the winter, and thus i had to spend most of it inside. Although i am glad that it did not spill into another season, and that it only lasted 4 months on the dot : when i got the liberating offer i let out a sigh and looked around my room, not believing that there would be
NO MORE APPLICATIONS AND COVER LETTERS !
And just like that, a new category was created : Journal of an Employee.