Being unemployed blows goats. And there are stages. In fact if you Google "Stages of Unemployment" you will find plenty of articles. Some say there are 3 stages, some say 5, some even say 10. But they essentially are broken into the following parts:
- Excitement: You've thrown off your drone cubicle/lanyard wearing shackles and you get to sleep in finally. You can go to the movies and stand in line with the old people at the bank. All of your errands happen super fast and drinking on a Tuesday night is no problem at all.
- Concern: So you're spending too much money going out at night and it's time to find a job. You are calling all your work people to set up meetings and lunches and coffees and it's time to return to the workforce. You're perusing the job boards, but you're confident and hopeful that one of your connections will come through.
- Fear: So those initial meetings didn't pay off and you might have even had some amazing job lined up that never seemed to come to fruition after months of follow up. You're now spending time in coffee shops because the couch at home is not a good place.
- New Job: Ta-da!! You got a new job and you have business cards and once again all is well with the world.
I'm in the third stage right now, which is the problem with these lists. They all basically say that it's terrible until it isn't. I think the hardest challenge is the questioning. Not that I question if I am qualified for any of these jobs that I'm applying for or if I could do the job that is posted. I could. I am a journeyman who gets along with most everyone, meaning that unless the job has complex math involved, then I could do it and do it well.
No, the issue is that after the first two months of talking to friends from the field I've been in and thus most suited to, I'm not sure that something will pan out there. So you begin to open your search. You start thinking of what else you could or would do for a living? And where could you do it. This is where the skills and abilities that allow you to accomplish all those jobs becomes a mind fuck as you wonder what should you be doing?
It's hard not just on you but on the people you care about. My girlfriend is supportive which is great, and she wishes she could do more, but she can't and that's okay. I've got policing some evenings. I give platelets every two weeks because there are tons of things that exclude you, including travel, and I'm sure that they won't want my anti-cancer juice forever. But these things are busy things, even if they are awesome and well intentioned. They don't get you closer to a new job, but they do keep you sane.
I recognize that I'm very lucky. I live with a wonderful woman who has a job and I even have done part-time consulting work that pays really well when it comes. I recognize that I am in a way better place than thousands of other people who are in my position. I know this because sometimes when I think about driving for Uber or Lyft, I decide not to because I don't want to. That right there lets me know that I'm not that bad off, and there's perhaps another stage down before I get a job. I'm just hoping I can skip straight to the last one soon.