Unemployed or Underemployed? 3 Things to Stop Doing RIGHT NOW!
If you spend more than an hour listening to public radio eventually you will encounter a program where the host round-tables with guests and they bitch about how shitty the economy is.It’s a bit rich coming from folks who all have jobs and whose experience with the light man coming to the door to cut off the juice is only theoretical. There are a constellation of activities the un/underemployed are expected to do in order to prove to those with jobs and no experience with being on high wire without a net that we aren’t a bunch of deadbeats whose fate is completely deserved. To be fair, this breeze isn’t just wafting from public radio; it’s everywhere. If you are un/underemployed you don’t need to hear anymore about how bad it is. You need some practical cashmoney generating advice and for corn’s sake you need some freaking hope. I can’t offer the former – as much as I wish I could – I damn sure can try to offer the later.
1. Stop listening to “employment policy analysts” and other wonks – It don’t make no kind of sense to be listening to the chow chow of folks whose livelihood is entirely dependent on you not having a job. Don’t make me break off some Lebowski logic, but seriously, who is benefiting from all of this? Is your mortgage squared up because of these folks? How about your credit rating? Has it been helped by anything these analysts or wonks have said. Un/underemployed folks do not need what amounts to “hope this helps!” advice, analysis or information. Moreover, listening to these wonks is not conducive with keeping your spirits up and your game face on as you try to hustle it out. I am the walrus indeed.
2. Stop viewing volunteering as a means of securing paying positions – Having worked in the non-profit sector in the capacity of volunteer management I can assure you the folks who find positions via this channel are people who aren’t hurting for cash or employment anyway. In addition, I have not observed any non-profit to be effectively able to value the work of unpaid staff. I’ve seen unpaid staff abused, their efforts diminished and when a paid position opens these same “valued team members” are overlooked in favor of someone who didn’t give up their skills for free. If you can’t put food on the table, you can’t be fooling around with some volunteering. If people want your skill set they’re gonna have to pay for it. If they can’t, well they don’t need your skills that badly. Non-profit sector has long enjoyed some kind of impeachable status as it relates to volunteers, despite having a problematic history with its cultivation and retention of them. Here’s some real talk, sports fans: people rarely value that which doesn’t require them to compensate the person providing it. Besides, why would they pay you for shit they got you to do for free? I love volunteering, but I have to come to terms with the reality of it as it is practiced in the US. It’s a class comfy person’s game. It shouldn’t be; don’t kid yourself it is. So if you are considering volunteering they’re gonna have to show you the money. Be it gas money or a standing offer to provide a quality reference – complete with detailed glowing letter and availability to field requests for information from prospective employers. That said, volunteering to give back and do good works is entirely different animal, which I’m not talking about here.
3. Stop “bucking up” leave them bootstraps alone and to hell with the “bright side” – You have the right to be depressed, bitter and resentful and nobody has the right to take those feelings from you. You are allowed to watch television all day, snark on rich people, curse the heavens, buy pricey foods with EBT cards, scoff at any suggestions to treat “job hunting like a job”, cry, feel sorry for yourself or sleep all day. I don’t care if you’ve been un/underemployed for a minute or a year or beyond. You have the right to feel whatever emotions you’re feeling and take care of yourself in the manner you see fit. If folks want to dictate how you spend your freaking time, they ought to freaking pay you for it.
But wait… there’s more!
Spend a little time each day not thinking about finding work, bills, or money and engaged in an activity that you love and are good at – My pen love got me through some really rough spots and ultimately has brought me greater “success” than anything else I’m currently doing. I know, right? But in the beginning when I was on my hopeless job search where I was getting doors slammed in my face like I was in a damn Egoiste commercial I spent a bit of time a day writing in my journals and fondling my pen collection. It, of course, doesn’t have to be pens. It can be anything!