Your career may have hit rock-bottom during the ongoing pandemic, but the good thing is there’s only one way to go from here – up. Here are some things that can help you get there.

6 Things to do if you’ve been unemployed for a while now

The COVID-19 statistics don’t look good, and we aren’t just referring to the number of positive cases and deaths; we’re also talking about the unemployment numbers. Over the last few months, since the pandemic broke out, about 4.1 million youth in India lost their jobs and are currently facing long-term unemployment. If you are one of them, be assured that it’s not a lack of your abilities or skills but a worldwide slowdown that’s led to this state of affairs.

Even so, it’s understandable if you’re frustrated with the process of job hunting and have begun to stress over your finances. Finding a job is not easy even in normal circumstances, but now it’s another struggle altogether. When all of this started in March, the uncertainty was anxiety-inducing. Now, things have started to get slightly better. You’ve got some time to orient yourself to the new normal and you can acknowledge that it’s external and you have little control over it. 

However, you can take some steps that will help you manage the situation better. Here’s how you can deal with unemployment without burning out.

1. Cut down on your expenses 

You would probably be doing this already, but now you have to consider serious ways to reduce your expenses and rework your budget. If you’re living away from home and you have the option to temporarily move back in with your parents, you should do it. Initially, not knowing when things will return to normal and the fear of losing your job may have stopped you. But now, bearing the cost of rent and utilities while unemployed is not really prudent. 

2. Set a fixed time for job-hunting 

If the first thing you do when you wake up is fire up your laptop and browse job postings throughout the day, you need to stop. This obsessive and continuous process can, in fact, prove to be counterproductive. For instance, if you’ve applied to ten jobs today that you don’t quite care about, when you finally get to that eleventh job you’d really like to get, you may be so mentally exhausted that you can’t go through the application process to the best of your ability. So, set aside a specific time each day for your job search and limit it to an hour or two. This will also help you avoid going down the rabbit hole of existential worry. 

Related: The importance of savings: How I lived a year while being jobless

3. Be mindful of who you connect with

When you've been unemployed for a while, it’s natural for your self-confidence to take a hit. In such a situation, interacting with people who make you feel worse is not good for your mental health. It doesn’t matter if those whom you’re interacting with are employed or not – they just need to be people who won’t pull you down. Now, more than ever, ‘positive vibes only’ is a good mantra to follow when it comes to your social circles. But this doesn’t mean you stop interacting with people altogether; you need healthy social interaction to keep you grounded and in sync with life. 

4. Don’t lose sight of your personal goals

Yes, your job is a major part of your life, but it’s not the only significant part. While it’s easy to get demotivated when unemployed for a long time, you should direct your energy on your personal goals. For instance, you may have set a health goal when the year began, such as exercising daily, or a creative goal, such as writing a novel. Do not lose sight of these goals. They will prove to be your solace and may even motivate you to go on with the job search when things seem bleak. 

5. Be open to trying something new 

It could be that the industry you were in was particularly hit by the pandemic, such as tourism or hospitality. Temporarily, you should be open to career opportunities that may be a change from your previous job. For instance, if you were a marketer in a travel company, you could look for a marketing role in other industries. Or if you have acquired a foreign language as a hobby, say German or Japanese, you could look at being a translator at a global company, or take online lessons for students. 

Related: If you’re an employed woman, here’s how to beat the economy slowdown

6. Reflect but don’t dwell on the past

Thinking about the things you liked and disliked in your previous job can prove to be helpful in your next job. It is good to be introspective while trying to figure out what works for you, and where your career is leading. It’s great that you have the time to explore these things. But don’t overdo it because you may not be in the right ‘headspace’, considering your long-term unemployment.

Finally, it’s essential to not deprive yourself of things you enjoy. You shouldn't think that because you’re unemployed, you don’t deserve to have fun or be happy. While you should be focused on bagging a new job or finding a temporary source of income, you should remind yourself that you deserve to relax and be happy irrespective of your employment status. So, don’t give in to the temptation to be too hard on yourself. Give yourself a break! If you want to take a career break, here's how to plan your finance.


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