Unemployed life. The bright side: sleeping in, staying out, and eating whatever whenever (no meal prep – woo!). The dark side: Hardly being able to sleep from financial stress, avoiding friends in order to avoid bar tabs, and eating half-assed scrappy things because you can’t afford shit.
I’ve flipped and flopped into both sides. For many, this period comes right after grad – so if that’s you, stay chill – we’ve all been there! For me, it happened in between my first and second job. That must be easier because I would have saved money from the first job right? Mm nope. It was a part-time job so saving wasn’t really an option.
Let me take you on my unemployment journey, to shed some light on the dark side and talk about what most of us don’t – financial struggle and distress.
Firstly, Applying for jobs is a full-time job.
A colleague of mine said this to me once and I kind of chuckled, half agreeing, and half thinking, “yeah, that’s cute”. Real talk: That is true AF. Most of my time ‘off’ (2 months) was spent in front of my computer. Scanning job ads every single day, searching out hiring managers and associates on LinkedIn, prioritizing applications based on their due date, and constantly re-wording EVERY SINGLE WORD of my resumes and cover letters to try to fit the mold created by a job description. That shit is exhausting. It took way more time than I imagined.
The time flew by.
Likely due to the point above, it did not at all feel like I had so much time off. I expected to be bored and stir crazy but somehow I kept busy – a happy busy as in I always had something to work on but could also ditch it and do fun stuff [almost] whenever I wanted to without guilt. So don’t assume time will drag on if you’re in this boat – still treat your time preciously and make space for what matters.
I needed creative ways to save money.
The first time I wrote the sentence above it accidently said “I needed creative ways to spend money”. LOL what a joke. Anyhow, pinching pennies was nothing new to me after being a student for so long, but I actually came up with a couple new tricks.
- Buy bags of wine instead of bottles. Seriously, you can save over a bottle of wine by doing this! As in, by buying a bag you get a free bottle! HELLO.
- Instead of buying a new nightstand, a suitcase will do. LOL. To be honest, that suitcase still remains. It does pretty good at being a place to toss my phone, nasal spray (aren’t I the coolest?) and lipsticks. In all seriousness though, when you think you ‘need’ something before jumping the gun, sit back and ask yourself if you reeeally do, or if you could jimmy-rig something for it for a while.
Want to hear my other tips and tricks for money-saving I’ve built up over the years? There’s so many I made a whole other blog post about it – stay tuned!
The End was super hard.
I hardly had any money the entire time but of course there came a day when it was non-existent. When this has happened to me in the past I’ve ended up on my face. Thankfully I had my partner here to help pull my weight this time. Such a lifesaver. As happy as I was that he kept a roof over my head and food in my belly, mooching off of somebody (partner or not) still sucks. I racked up a ‘bill’ with him (my words, not his) that is still quite high so the truth is I feel that burden all the time (again, by no fault of his). Feeling like you owe somebody something just sucks doesn’t it? I mean, we all want to be strong independent women [or men] right? I was constantly tossing back and forth with emotions of gratitude and of helplessness.
In sum, I felt all the feels.
Lucky, content, well-slept, energized, free, carefree, confident – worried, stressed, sleepless, helpless, defeated, exhausted, crappy. It really was a rollercoaster so if you find yourself in the same boat know that you aren’t alone in that.
Chin up. Keep truckin’! Trust in the process knowing that this is all a part of the journey and we all have to sit through it at some point or another. If you aren’t getting call backs it’s likely because this field is COMPETETIVE and not because you’re shitty. So knock off with that self-talk and show yourself some love.
Let yourself sleep in if you want to, eat ice cream out of the tub with a spoon if you want to, but also stick with it and take every job posting and application seriously. Keep pouring that time in knowing that it will pay off someday.
Just hang in there.