Finding Success after Unemployment

There comes a time in your life when you realize that you’re no longer happy with your job that even the reason “it’s for the money” doesn’t even make sense anymore. From then on, you will find yourself awakened, empowered, and unstoppable from writing your way to freedom—your letter of resignation. Upon giving your two weeks or a month’s notice, everything feels light and oh so right. You know you’ve made the right decision.

But what happens after a few months when you’ve spent all your back pay and your savings are running thin? Should you choose to look back and figure out how you spent your money, is there a pang of regret, or was it all worth it? It’s not that money makes the world go round, but money does help everyone in getting by, especially when even the most basic of needs come with a price. Ironically, you realize that the freedom you have always wanted comes with a price as well.

Now that we’ve settled the matter on my being unemployed (yes, I was talking about myself the entire time, and yes, I’ve reiterated this many times—just check out my previous entries), what’s next? A lot, if you think about it. If you’re one of those considering taking a break first before joining the job hunting bandwagon but at some point lost confidence, here are some suggestions from a humbled unemployed person to another to get things going:

  1. Reorganize your room.  Your decision to resign came with a new perspective. Channel that outlook by reorganizing your room. I got two big boxes wherein I gave myself the power to decide on what to do with all the things I possess: KEEP or GIVE AWAY. You will realize in the process that you have so many things in your room that you don’t even use or you no longer need. You will also get the chance to rediscover yourself as you read through your journals and old letters from family, friends and loved ones. I was able to throw away 30 to 40 shopping bags worth of trash and give away a huge box of things that I found would be more beneficial to others. In return, what I got was a big, spacious room wherein I can be myself once again and not only a place where I can sleep.
  2. Make your bed. If you have just resigned, two of the greatest things you can reward yourself are sleeping and waking up at any time of the day. I have rewarded myself these too often that I rarely get out of bed anymore. The trouble with that is in time, you will actually lose your sense of time. The television will be turned on all day with the remote by your pillow. You get fat. You get lazy. You get to be the person (or animal) you’ve dreaded becoming (at least for me): a sloth. What I do now the moment I wake up (after a few long but oh-so-good stretches) is make my bed, and a promise to myself that I will only lie down if I’ve done enough chores or activities that have exhausted me physically or mentally. Enjoy your newly organized room! Read a book! Go to the gym or
  3. Get out. This advice was given to me by my lover’s mother, when she heard us yelling at each other in our room. When you and your live-in partner are both unemployed (mine is studying), it will go haywire if both of you choose to just stay inside the house and not do anything. Trust me, time spent together will one day end up time spent fighting each other. Like Alex’s (my lover) mother said: “You’re not doing anything that’s why you make a big deal out of the smallest flaws you both have! Get out and see for yourself what you have been missing!” This is so true. “An idle mind is the devil’s playground,” so they say. I figured that one of the reasons why I find it hard to think about something to write was because I rarely go out, I just watch TV to the point that I’ve already memorized the movies being shown on both HBO and Star Movies, and I tend to release my pent up frustrations of not knowing what to do (or watch) next to the first person I see (Alex. I love you. I’m sorry.) So get out, be inspired, give your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife some alone time, spend some time with friends, and just make your day worthwhile.
  4. Acknowledge rooms for improvement and do something about it. My grammar isn’t perfect. I’m still confused on how I should use this word or that word, or if the sentence I just wrote down made sense, or just complicated things further. I was once reprimanded by my boss for writing like a sophomore high school student with poor grammar skills, and that stung—even if his way of telling me this was through email. It took me months to get a compliment from him about how my writing has improved and I will never ever forget that (I even forwarded that email to my personal email address, considering it as a mark of my acceleration and excellence.) From then on, I always make sure that I take in the comments of people that matter as constructive criticism. When they scold you, don’t take it personally. They just know that you’re a better person and that you could be that better person by today or tomorrow!
  5. Utilize your time by doing things you actually enjoy doing. My hobbies saved me from hitting rock bottom, to be honest. I started baking tarts and pies—I even tried out making doughnuts! I started cooking Asian recipes rather than sticking with recipes I already know how to execute. I started reading books again—something I never had the time to do when I was still working. I’m studying new piano pieces too, to entice my imagination even further (as reading books can do that too.) As I’ve always wanted to learn a new language, I’m now studying French by myself and so far, c’est bon (it’s good)! Now is the time to discover new hobbies, too! I thought I would never watch the news like my mother always does. As I grew older, I got worried with the thought that I may never like watching the news. But with the ample amount of time I have at the moment, I connect myself to the world not only through social networking sites, but by watching the news as well.
  6. Make a weekly schedule. Even if we lose track of time, morning will eventually turn into evening, and vice versa. To make sure that you’re maximizing your day, draw out a schedule of activities for you to do either by yourself or with your friends and family.
  7. Pray. Not everyone is religious; I know that since I’m not a saint myself. But giving yourself time to say the words you want to say out loud would also give you the opportunity to hear them out yourself, and think about what you should or shouldn’t do. One thing I’ve learned in the course of my life is that I should never lose faith. Each of us has a purpose and although some of us may not know it yet (like me), that doesn’t give us an excuse to dwell on regrets. The reason why I left my recent job was because I know I can do something better. I can be better. So what stopped me? When you feel miserable and you think that there’s no one there to help you out, pray. Somebody out there is always thinking of you, whether you believe or not.

So far, these are the things I do to remind myself that life just doesn’t end here. Time has been kind lately and I won’t abuse it by doing nothing. As much as others would find my tips unhelpful, it is nothing compared to those who know exactly what I’m talking about. It may have taken time for me to realize some of these things. But no matter how slow people perceive me to be, I always remind myself that even if it takes a while for a turtle to stick its neck out of its shell, its effort in doing so has brought nothing but prosperity.