What It’s Like Being an Unemployed Professional

People ask me what it’s like, being unemployed this long. Certainly it’s not easy, but everyone gets that. Every day is a repeat of the last: get up late (because I’m a night owl), wake up by reading my email, catch up on Twitter and Facebook, and then look at jobs for a while, maybe an hour or so. At this point, I’ve got my lists—daily, weekly, monthly—that I check. I keep records of what I’ve checked when. I have a system, and it’s well-tuned.

But that leaves me with a lot of spare time on my hands. If I’m spending two or three hours on jobs—and that’s what I spend on a busy day when there are three or four things worth applying to at new companies and/or at companies that allow cover letters—that still leaves a lot of time for everything else. This explains why I spent a year as an undergraduate last year working on a mathematics degree that I don’t think that I’ll get though I’m just six classes away; it also explains why I’m in graduate school for engineering management now. I need something to do with my time other than sit in coffeeshops and read, which is something I do enough of as it is.

I’ve tried to find some part-time work, but I’m vastly overqualified for most of it to the point that no one wants to talk to me. I’ve gone to bartending school, but breaking in around here hasn’t happened for me yet. I’m continuing to try.

As for breaking in: I live in this paradox: I will finally get a job, but it won’t be whatever one that I’m applying to now. I’ve believed in jobs that seemed like sure things to the point that I quit looking for a couple of weeks while I waited to hear. And I waited. When I got the “no”, it was pretty devastating. The next one was, too. So was the one after that. After that third big, draining one, I’ve learned that I have to live the paradox.

I went on what I think was a great interview last Tuesday, but I refuse to spend a lot of time thinking about what it would like to have that job, what I would do, how I would dig myself out financially once I had it, how I would have to drop my concert choir … you see, I have thought about it, but I try to not dream of it. It’s where I have to live.

It’s not any fun, but I’m still in my house, my car’s paid off, I’m losing weight, I’m in graduate school, etc. It could be much worse.

7 thoughts on “What It’s Like Being an Unemployed Professional”

  1. If it makes you feel better, I’ve been unemployed/underemployed a LOT longer than you. And by underemployed, I mean not having a permanent, full-time job.

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