Embracing (f)unemployment



So, here I am again, overwhelmed with the familiar sensation of ‘what now?’ that comes with unemployment. Having been in the adult world of 9-5 and a stable salary for almost nine-months, it feels wrong somehow that I have reverted back to my pyjamas days, my coffee-at-a-cafe-at-2pm-on-a-Thursday days.

And yet I am here, by my own choosing, after one of the hardest decisions of my career so far: do I stay or do I go now? And this time, in a ‘you’re only 22’ kind of mindset, I chose to leave and start afresh. This time, the heart won.

I don’t know how many times in my life or career that my heart will be able to win over my head, so I felt I had to take this chance while I can. Even though I loved the place I worked, and especially loved the people… when I asked myself if this job was benefitting me or my future, I decided it wasn’t. So after three laps of touching every wall and soaking in the familiar smell of office and instant coffee, I bid farewell to adulthood once again.

There is so much pressure on that ‘first real job’ after you leave school or college. For me, I was lucky to find anything remotely related to my Creative Writing degree after being told I should ‘get used to unemployment’ when I graduated. But I proved the critics wrong and landed a relevant job, and for a long time I forced myself to stay in that job because of ‘how lucky’ everyone told me I was.

And yet, now that it’s behind me, I’ve realised how much pressure I put on myself and the job because I didn’t want to be deemed as a failure. I was so set on making something of myself as soon as I finished uni, that I didn’t really stop to consider what I really wanted.

I think it’s so exciting being able to explore your options again. Revisit all of the possibilities you felt before you got a job and got busy and stopped doing all of the things you had planned. Get a bar job for a while, go back to the retail store you worked in at 16… don’t think that leaving a job is a step back, because it can be exactly what you make it!

So my advice to post-graduates and everyone else is this; be patient. If you have the luxury of time and can afford to not work your dream job for a few years, then absolutely do it. Gain experience, learn what you love and what you hate, figure out your strengths. And remember you still have time.

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