I have been unemployed for two months now and have just recently heard back confirming my first interview. I am thankful for that but I have learned a great deal in the last couple of months of how to think and spend my time unemployed. Here are three things that have drastically changed my thought process.
If you can’t find a job and are not making any money, then do the counter intuitive thing and give. Generously. If I want to pursue my dream of being a writer I need to write. Not having a job as a writer is not a good enough excuse. So I’m guest posting for 2 people. I don’t know them. I met them through Jon Acuff’s 30 Days of Hustle. Will it help increase my readership on my blog? Perhaps. Will it help me stay focused on what matters more? Definitely. Am I getting paid for it? No. Does that matter? It shouldn’t.
So whatever it is you do but aren’t being paid for, just do it. For free if necessary. Art is about a gift and art is anything we do with that in mind. Whether you are a painter or an accountant, be generous.
SHORT TERM GAIN: not getting sucked into a selfish economy but a generous one.
LONG TERM GAIN: You’re still working. You are still improving your resume. You still have something to show for when you do get an interview.
Learn a skill.
I am learning to code. I have a blog that I would like to improve so I started to learn how to code with HTML and CSS. I have no training, I am not especially smart, I am not that way minded but I decided to learn.
We generally associate learning with school. We associate school with rules and fitting into a mould. That restricts us. We associate it with comparing ourselves to others. To occassional success but mostly failure. We can’t all be top after all. These are negative emotions. So learning is associated with negative emotions.
Learning on your own allows you to make mistakes so it doesn’t really matter. School is set up so when you make a mistake it does matter. On your score sheet, in front of your peers.
So I am discovering that learning is fun. Learn a skill. Improve a skill you are already good at. Find a part of your resume that needs to be worked on and work on it.
SHORT TERM GAIN: It gives you a purpose. It motivates you. It is encouraging. You achieve something.
LONG TERM GAIN: You have a skill that you can now add to your resume and is still growing even though you are unemployed.
You’re more than your resume
Seth Godin said “You are not your resume, you are your work.”
Your work does not have to be paid for. Would you still blog, or write, or learn, or do what you love even if you didn’t get paid for it?
If you care enough about the people who you give to and you do it consistently enough then eventually you won’t need to worry about making a living from it. But it takes time and work and won’t happen easily. Overnight success is always years in the making (another Seth gem).
So just like we shouldn’t define learning around parameters of school, we shouldn’t define working around parameters of an office and a pay check.
SHORT TERM GAIN: You will not become discouraged because you aren’t placing your identity in how many interviews you get.
LONG TERM GAIN: When you do become employed this will help you stay motivated in your job and it will help it grow because for you it is not all about making money. You will bring that caring attitude into your new role.
Anything. Like this.
SHORT TERM GAIN: You won’t go mental in the house
LONG TERM GAIN: You. won’t. go. mental. in. the. house.