From raging jealousy to sadness to denying it’s even happening, here are some of the phases an unemployed person must pass through. Feel free to add your own but don’t worry, it’ll all be OK in the end guys.
The Denial Stage
It kicks in a few weeks before the Moment of Terror i.e. when you realise you don’t have anything to do during the day. And that you’re going to have to motivate yourself and it’s all in your hands and whenever someone reminds you of this, you trap their head in a door and walk off singing about farmyard animals. Providing there’s a door handy. If not, you laugh hysterically and continue living like you’re not going to be unemployed within a month.
If you’re a student nearing graduation, this is especially fitting. If you’re a college leaver taking some “time out” then it’s also especially fitting. If you’ve been unemployed for a while, or have taken some “time out” which has extended to around three years, this stage will last until the advent of stage two (see below).
The Anxious Motivation Powered By Sudden Void Stage
This is when reality bites you all over the face/bank balance. You leap out of bed and fire off five job applications (anything remotely entry-level and grown up sounding) before watching Game of Thrones for six hours safe in the knowledge that surely one of those will get you a job.
The next day you try again. And the next day. A week, and twenty job applications, later, you’ve sunk into a trance. Your debit card gets declined buying a cardigan in a charity shop (50p) so you bite the bullet and apply for some bar jobs. And get rejected for all of them.
The Thinking While Having Signed On Stage
Yeah you’ve signed on, shut up, what about it, god it’s not a big deal, ffs, etc. You realise the whole problem is that you’ve been sending out applications to jobs you don’t care about. That’s why your cover letters are uninspiring and contain phrases like “confident self starter” and “I’m just passionate about switchboards/retail administration/fruit (you applied to do social media for Tropicana)”. After scouting around some interesting websites (like, y’know, this one) and reading about a 15 year old who designed an app or a guy who started his own sock company, you become inspired.
The Seething Bitter Rage At Friends With Jobs Stage
Inspiration lasts for approx two days before you realise you’re fed up of trying. And just at that moment, you notice (while on Facebook at 3am) that Gross Susan who used to stick 5ps in people’s ears during maths is now editing The New York Times. HOW? She used to sit at the back of the room and moo for god’s sake.
This, combined with the 90 emails containing links of various jobs your parents have sent you with subject headers ranging from “check these out” to “WOULD YOU JUST GET A **&%&&ING JOB”, mean you start to feel burning rage.
You don’t reply to texts. You don’t see friends. When you do, you bitch about the unfairness of the world. You stalk around the house moodily and make rude gestures at your Hotmail account. Yeah, people still have Hotmail OK?! GMAIL IS FOR EMPLOYED PEOPLE. Cue crying. Because when the rage has subsided, you’ll unfortunately be left with…
The Depression Stage
Who will hire me? Why am I so unemployable? What’s wrong with me? And, even if it isn’t me, what’s the point of applying for jobs when the current climate is so awful? May as well lie in bed and think about how great your life was when you were in school. If only you’d realised it back then (repeat this sentiment once every five minutes).
Annoyingly, feeling crap means that your confidence will be low and you won’t apply for jobs. Then the fact you haven’t got a job will make you more depressed. Bloody vicious cycle – check out our article on feeling down, how to tell if it’s something more serious, and ways to make yourself feel better.
The Getting A Job You Hate So Much So You Can Live Long Enough To Keep Getting Rejected For Jobs You Want
Some people skip this stage, but many have to pass through it. Waitressing, temping, call centres, admin or retail. It has to be done and, while it may feel like they’re sucking your soul out through your eyes, these stop-gap jobs can drag you out of the rather bleak previous stages before catapulting you into the finale:
The Moment of Truth
YES. This is where you pick yourself up and start taking your unemployment seriously. Occasionally, the previous stages may rear their heads for a day or two (especially if you make a habit of Facebook stalking. In which case, break that habit. Break it now), but for whatever reason, something positive happens. Whether it’s an internship, a work experience placement or an actual real live job interview, a small sunbeam of joy appears amid the months of repetitive nothingness and desperation. You might not be out of the unemployment water yet, but that bit of hope is what kick starts you into productivity.
If you liked this article, why not have a look at…
- The Job Hunters Survival Kit
- Five skills to learn while you’re looking for a job
- Reasons why you should consider teaching abroad. Not just for Gap Yahs.
- How to get into the music industry
- The best of day to apply for jobs, and other brain tricks you may not have realised