Many of us are in the same boat and struggling with unemployment. Many of us have to work to make ends meet, which means we won’t always find work that meets our needs and skills. There is no shame in accepting a job for the sake of sustaining one’s life, as long as you feel capable of fulfilling the job tasks and requirements. After the COVID wave of unemployment, we all chose to lead our job search in a certain way. My needs seem to be too specific for the current job market. The number of job posts kept on decreasing based on two main challenges: French language and the mental health field.
After ten years of studies, I graduated with a double major in psychology and human relations. I was wide open to serve the community and put my skills to use. Since the demand for mental health workers increased, I thought I would have a better chance to find a job in the field of wellbeing. Little did I know, the community does not value my two degrees and I could only work as a counselor if I had a master degree. I did not care about my job title—all I wanted was to support people and help them overcome their challenges. Yet, a job of that nature seemed hard to find.
A lot of my challenges during my job search were rooted in judgment. Firstly, my volunteer work was seen by some people as a negative asset. It’s a shame that we reprimand society for demanding more free work from volunteers while simultaneously devaluing volunteers’ experience when they join the workforce because their experience is not paid. I, however, value volunteer work for so many reasons. For many years, it has allowed me to council and coach many diverse age groups and ethnicities. Without volunteering, how is a community supposed to grow and bond together?
Secondly, I am selective about the jobs I apply to. I value both my time and the recruiters’. Recently, someone I know asked me for my resume without telling me the job title, descriptions, or task requirements. She was taken aback when I questioned her, as she thought offering me any job was better than no job. She thought I shouldn’t question it and that I should feel grateful for any job offer. Aren’t I allowed to want to work in my field regardless of my unemployment status?
Finally, I have heard one too many empty promises. Due to my language barrier with French, I was led on with a lot of jobs. They would raise my hopes by offering me an interview and then they would dismiss all my experiences, my two mastered languages, and my double major, by focusing on the language I do not speak.
If any of these challenges sound familiar to you, you’re not alone. Here are my 10 tips on coping with unemployment:
Seek special services
There are many unemployment services and career counsellors out there. If you are not satisfied with the service you are getting, please move to the next. One thing to highlight—a career counsellor does not have the right to dismiss your ability to work and hinder your work ability (look forward to the upcoming article about what I call “mental euthanasia”).
Prioritize your self-care routine
Maintain a self-care routine as much as possible. It could be as simple as making a cup of tea every day and slowing down enough to gaze outside the window.
Create boundaries on social media
Sometimes social media platforms like LinkedIn can add to our insecurities when we are unemployed. Try muting people on every social media platform that does not serve you.
Ground yourself by using the present tense—it is hard for now. The dark cloud must rain and disappear. The harder it gets, the closer we are to see the spikes of dawn.
Reach out to the right people in your support system—you will be surprised by the many helping hands that can uplift you.
Use your network
Use your network to learn about available opportunities and take action. Please present your best self and talk about your achievements. I know it might not seem like it right now, but you have accomplished a lot despite your circumstances.
Keep a gratitude journal. Try writing down what you are grateful for every day, even if it’s only one thing.
Create a picture of either what you want to achieve or the work title you want to get and look at it each time you feel down. Remind yourself that you will get there one day.
Be kind to yourself. No matter the circumstance, do not conspire against yourself. You deserve to be treated like you are your best friend.
Take matters into your own hands
Become self-employed, start a business, and lower your volunteer workload. Learn how to sell yourself.
From one unemployed person to another, I feel you. This journey of job search has been like an endless nightmare. Yet, we will awaken to the best opportunity tailored for us. Stay strong!
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