Being unemployed is rough.
What’s rougher is being stuck within two different chapters of your life—the one that entailed being a college student, which is now over, and the one that has yet to officially begin, which is your future professional career.
It has been over a month since I was last employed (54 days to be exact) and my days have become somewhat monotonous and as a result, I am feeling a bit anxious. I focus on job hunting most days and naively send out my resume and cover letter into cyberspace with the hope that someone, somewhere will give me a call. Then I proceed to work a little bit on my grad-school application until I’m tired of it, then I move back to looking for work until I fiercely give up due to my lack of callbacks.
It’s a weird time for me, and for most post-grads like myself. It’s easy to get discouraged because the last four years of our lives were spent building up the experience that we thought would get us that killer first job, and somehow, it has yet to come along. Being miserable and pessimistic never helped anyone—especially when so much energy is required to find a job and interview for it.
If you’re between jobs, careers, schools and find yourself with some spare time, here are great ways to stay positive and to keep your mind, body and soul active so that you have something to show for all the time off you’ve had:
1. Volunteer. It’s so incredibly important to give back to your community, and if you have some extra time available, donate it. Find a cause that you’re passionate about or something to do with the career you hope to have and locate local organizations that can fit your interests. Work with a political campaign or with kids at the elementary school nearby and make your time about someone else. Not only will it help out other people and look great on your resume, it will also be tremendously rewarding.
2. Set goals and accomplish something, anything. It can be especially easy to feel like a loser when everyone around you is going to work or school. It’s a crappy way to feel and we should do everything in our power to avoiding feeling that way. If you find the days passing along and you have nothing to show for it, then it’s time to change. Create a list of things you want to do and get them done! Whether it’s setting a quota of five jobs to apply to on a daily basis, or cleaning out the closet or finishing that new book—if you accomplish something, one single thing everyday, then you will feel better about yourself.
3. Have a creative outlet. I know that everyone isn’t necessarily the creative type but I believe having an outlet that allows you to express yourself is a must. Keep a journal, start a blog, bake cookies or build something. Whatever you choose to do will feel therapeutic and give you a sense of calmness and without a doubt put your mind at ease.
4. Keep your body engaged. It’s great to keep your mind in shape, especially when you’re between chapters, but your body needs attention too! Make sure to go on daily walks or runs, go to the gym and eat healthy. If you’re on the couch all day and not being active, that will definitely affect your mindset. Participate in a physical activity that is appealing to you, whether it’s yoga or kickboxing. Keep that body of yours feeling good so that you can feel that way too.
5. Never stop exploring your options. Don’t limit your job opportunities by looking for only jobs in a certain field. It’s incredibly important to follow your passion, but it’s also good to remain open-minded. Half way through my job search, I realized that I wanted to still be in school and voila—now I’m applying to continue my education. If you’re looking for jobs, you might as well take a look and see what’s available—there’s nothing to lose.
I wish luck to all of my fellow national peers who are in the same boat as I am. Just remember: stay positive and be productive! A job that’s meant for you will come along before you know it.