The First Five Days of Unemployment: A Guide

Being unemployed sucks, plain and simple. What’s worse is that, often, it isn’t by choice. You’re called in for a meeting to ‘sync up’ with your HR manager and the next minute you’ve barely got your bum in the seat only to be told it’s ‘bad news’ and it’s ‘not a good fit’. You leave confused, dazed and frustrated thinking ‘what did I do wrong? What didn’t I do right?’ You’re friends rally around you, form strategies to help you get back on track. But, try as they might, you’re confidence is shattered and you are now direction-less. All you want to do is go home and climb under the bed covers hoping this was all some crazy dream. The day replays in your mind until the facts and conversations are now distorted.

Faced with the prospect of nothing but job hunting, it’s time to figure out what to do with all the surplus time you now have. You decide to go back into your passions and hobbies and find for something that you’ve always wanted to work on. The reality is that, despite your best intentions, when Monday morning rolls around you’re laying in bed watching 12 Years a Slave and dreaming, that, if you had a chance encounter with Michael Fassbender, that somehow your life would be amazing again and all this sadness and confusion would go away. When you finally emerge from your cave-like slumber you realise Fassbender isn’t getting on the number 25 bus any time soon, and you’re eating cheese right from the packet.

Tuesday brings some much needed re- energising. You’re still feeling low, especially because the day before you watched a two and a half hour film about slavery and then read a book about the plight of Irish orphans sent to America. You’re really knocking it out of the park though – you’ve re-affirmed what a horrible place the world truly is: let’s get job hunting!

It’s now the middle of the week and you’re friend has a two-for-one voucher for the cinema. You feel normal for a bit. You pick the film ‘The Gift’ and plan your day around going to see this film. This is fine. You’re happy to be having an unplanned break from working. At least you’re still getting up before 9am. You finally have some responses from the applications you applied to on Tuesday. You secure two interviews with temping agencies, which suits you perfectly, as you long for the flexibility the temping schedule can offer. You plough through more job applications, cockily clicking on the advert for the job you just got fired from. ‘Good luck, suckers!’ You feel pleased with yourself. That’ll tell ’em!

You work on your writing during the afternoon. Everything you write is garbage. You still have three hours until your friend finishes work and you can do normal people things again. The conversation over a $5 dinner is grim. ‘I need to move on from this place. Why did I bother with any of it? Why? I’m moving to Calgary!’ The friend tries to console you and offer advice from their own experiences of unemployment ‘I’ve been fired from jobs here as well. You’re 100% hire-able – look at all your skills and experience. This is just a stumbling block. You don’t need to move to Calgary!’ She’s probably right. But at this moment Calgary seems like the end to all your troubles. You’ve never been to Calgary.

The film is a much needed escape from reality, or so you thought. The two main characters are a narcissistic bully and a forlorn loner which, to your dismay, is the only criteria it takes to get you interested in a guy. You now decide that, in the midst of unemployment, it’s time to tackle your issues with men.

It’s Thursday! You have an interview with an recruitment agency! You get all dressed up for the interview. You do a quick Google search to double-check the location and also, while your at it, check if Elisabeth Moss is still a Scientologist (she is.) You head out feeling dubious about how the interview will go and a little sad that Peggy Olsen is a bit of a wacko in real life.  Your recruiter turns out to be from the UK as well. This is great news! One of your people. She’s even here on the same work visa as you. You can bond over the tribulations of the whole process. But she is here on the same work visa as you and she’s the one deciding if she has any work for you. This is humbling. When you leave you jump on the number 10 bus, turn your ipod on to Junip, stare into the ether and ride the bus until you feel like getting off. Thursday is the best.

The week is almost over and there’s good news! You are heading out to meet with another agency and the one from yesterday calls with an offer of work. Result! It’s for one day though and you have to be up at stupid o’clock to get there. But you get to put on pants and stuff. This is the catalyst to make sure you life doesn’t head into Cones of Dunshire territory. Later that evening you say goodbye to two of your most favourite people as they head off on another adventure. You realise that it’s time to think seriously and figure out where your life is heading.

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