Things I've Learned Being Unemployed
There is one thing you can always count on in life, and that is change.
Just over a year ago, I lost my job. Yes, I am now self employed, but that's just unemployed with a business license. I have been a worker bee since the age of 15, which means that for more than a decade I have had 1 or 2 jobs on the go at all times! I understand that that's not excessively long and lots of people work for 50+ years but I personally know of lot's of people that did not start working until they were in their 20's so I feel it's important to note that I really did work solidly for many years. I would also like to state that I was not let go because I was bad at my job, I was let go for personal reasons and ended up winning a labour board case in regards to this situation.
Unemployment is freeing and terrifying and honestly if I didn't have my own side business to focus on I probably would have lost my mind by now. Let's dive into the nitty gritty things that I've experienced over the last year:
1. My Chronic Headaches Were Caused by Work?!
When I was at my old job, I was experiencing headaches almost daily. Not annoying little pains, but full blown headaches that caused me to cry and sometimes get sick as soon as I got home for the day. This became such a regular occurrence that I just assumed Google was right and I had a brain tumor and was inevitably passing away.
My job was stressful. Okay, the JOB wasn't stressful, but the environment was. I was miserable every day that I went in, I was receiving work related texts when I was off, I was doing so much for the company that the business stress ended up giving me these ridiculous headaches. Was I being paid enough to be under this stress? I absolutely was not.
Since I've been unemployed, those headaches have disappeared. I do still endure them from time to time but gone are the days of the chronic headache!
2. I'm Lucky to Have a Side Business
I started taking photography more seriously when I was still working. I was mostly building my portfolio and charging extremely little as I was not relying on my photography to pay my bills. Once I lost my job, I knew my (already poor) financial situation was about to get substantially worse. Luckily, I was able to focus on my photography which helped me to establish myself as a business owner and earn some income.
3. Finding a Job is Hard
Well, it's hard when you're entitled and picky. I hate to say I'm entitled but here's the thing, I've gained a lot of experience in various fields, I run my own business, and I have a lifestyle goal in mind. I want the freedom to be able to focus on my business. I don't want to work weekends as that's typically when my clients are available. I'm not interested in working full days for minimum wage when I make at least $60 putting in less than an hour of work on my own. Now this hasn't stopped me from applying to jobs. I've been applying to jobs all year actually! I've heard back from 3. Maybe I suck. I've never struggled to find a job in the past so not being able to find one now has been a weird experience. However, I am extremely transparent on my resume. I am not afraid to say that my business receives my utmost attention because at the end of the day I will be focusing on making my business profitable as opposed to clocking in and out of a low wage job for the rest of my life. Am I willing to sacrifice certain hours? I am. Am I willing to put my pride aside and be paid far less than my time as a human being is worth? I am. Am I willing to act like my business isn't a baby and lie to companies in the hopes of getting a part time supplemental job? Absolutely not.
4. I'm Not Lazy
For years I've pinned myself as the lazy girl. And don't me wrong, I nap nearly every day so I'm not completely anti lazy, but, I was miserable waking up to go to work which I thought was because I just wanted to sleep in and relax all day. I didn't want to hang out with friends after work because I was tired and I had to sleep so I could go in and do it all over again the next morning. I got stressed out if I didn't have at least one 'lazy' day over the weekend. Turns out, my work environment was draining me.
While I do still consider myself 'lazy' in the long run, I have learned that I am motivated when I am doing something I enjoy. I am able to wake up in the mornings to go meet with clients. I am able to spend time with friends. I am able to have productive and busy weekend days because I can control when I will take another 'lazy' day to make up for it. All of the efforts I am making are fully benefiting ME. No one is slapping their name on things I've written or created. My hard work is not paying someone else's bills unless my photos are being used for their marketing purposes. It's all for me! This makes me pick up my feet and work hard without dealing with the stress of the 9-5.
5. Life Uh....Finds a Way
I am terrified of the future. I feel like a loser more often than not. I live in my boyfriend's parent's basement. I don't have a job. I can't afford to do 99% of the things I'd like to do. But I'm alive and I have a roof over my head and I have food in my belly. I am lucky.
While I am in a bit of debt, it's not out of control. I've been able to pay my bills every month (event though it's been very tight more often than not) and I still occasionally get to go do fun things with my friends or go for dinner with my boyfriend. Not everyone that is unemployed has this luxury and I understand that. But for me, I feel like life is on my side. I don't believe in God but I do believe that everyone has a path they're destined to follow and I believe this part of my life is something I will look back on in a few years time and remember a crucial experience that lead to my growth.