I hit the six month mark in my joblessness — still no new job, but there’s plenty of insomnia to go around!
I’m trying not to be a downer here. I could vent my spleen on a variety of subjects surrounding my unemployment, but that wouldn’t accomplish much, and you wouldn’t want to hear it. (Although maybe you would: my initial podcast, which was released a month after my job loss, is still the most downloaded, and I’ve always figured that was because people expected me to have a full blown, hair raising meltdown. And when I didn’t, they never listened to another one. People love misery.)
I won’t lie, that potential exists in me. One day, I may go off the rails and all of you will be sharing my posts like crazy. “Hey, listen to this old DJ go full on nuts!” There’s a reason why Amanda Bynes is the most searched name on Google this week. And it’s not a good reason, it’s a sad one.
Nope. Not today. Instead, I would like to let others who have been let go of their jobs know that all is not lost. There are ways to avoid slipping into the abyss.
I have been avoiding the black holes by staying regimented and positive. And I can honestly tell you, these are great coping mechanisms.
Find something you enjoy doing and start your day with that. For me, that’s writing this little blog and preparing my podcasts.
Then, add to that a little re-education. I have been attending job search classes to learn how things have changed since the last time I looked, and teaching myself computer code online in the afternoons. Both are free.
Help out when you can, be of service to others.
Work out regularly. One of the best tips a friend gave me when I was first let go was “take care of yourself”. I have found that basketball and working out with friends to be a great self-esteem boost, even if it means I’m sore most of the time, and can no longer fit in my clothes.
Avoid the self-medication. This is tough, as alcohol can soothe the inner pain, but I’ve learned to limit it. (I don’t condone heroin use, but there are times when I understand it.)
Let go. This is not as easy as it seems. The toughest critic in the world is always going to be your inner voice, and the initial urge is to stifle that, but after six months, I have learned the better tact is to accept it.
I came across this quote from Joss Whedon, speaking to graduates of Wesleyan University:
This contradiction, and this tension … it never goes away. And if you think that achieving something, if you think that solving something, if you think a career or a relationship will quiet that voice, it will not. If you think that happiness means total peace, you will never be happy. Peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace. It will always be in conflict. If you accept that, everything gets a lot better.
I think that means accepting also the 3:00am panic attacks when your brain starts processing what will happen when the unemployment runs out.
The thing is, I’ve been there before. I’ve been without money and without stuff, and when I look back on those times, I don’t think I was unhappy.
So here’s to the next month of joblessness, which will start out with a job of sorts, I start jury duty next week.
If you’re going through unemployment right now, I’d love to hear from you, and share notes. Leave me a comment, or drop me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you have tips you can give me, such as, HOW TO GET A JOB! I would love you even more.