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life after college

Getting Real About Being Unemployed

I’m an unemployed 23 year old that just made my first student loan payment, so needless to say I’m ready for a job. As much as I want to start my own business some day and to indulge my entrepreneurial ambitions, it takes money to make money, and while I have a nice little cushion that I can depend on getting me through these next few months, there’s a growing anxiety every day I go on without work. I feel like I don’t have the freedom to actually live my life to its full potential and I hate it because I realize how precious time is and how fleeting youth is. I hate having to pass up opportunities and adventures because I can’t justify the price tags attached to them when I have responsibilities and don’t know where my next steady stream of income is coming from.

In all honesty I didn’t think I’d be unemployed for as long as I have been. I didn’t think it would take me this long to find a job that I could get excited about and that allowed me to explore my passions. I’m smart. I’m a hard worker. And the amount of time that it’s taking me to get back on my feet is nothing short of humiliating. 

My good friends are all really successful and impressive in different ways and I’m obviously happy for them, and I feel guilty for thinking so selfishly, but lately I can’t help but feel like their accomplishments highlight my own failure.

I feel like a loser. I feel like a disappointment. And the longer I’m unemployed, the harder it gets to try. I spend hours filling out applications and reaching out to hiring managers, neurotically perfecting cover letters that are never even read. I’m lucky to even get a formal rejection. I struggle with feelings of inadequacy all the time. I haven’t accomplished enough, I’m not skinny enough – the list goes on and on. But nothing so eloquently says “fuck you, you aren’t good enough” like expending so much energy trying to get someone to notice you and invest in you and not even being worth a “no thanks.”

I spend the majority of my time at home to avoid spending money, but being at home all day applying for jobs and never hearing back from anyone unless it’s to be told that they’ve “moved forward with other candidates” can make you crazy real quick. I don’t feel like myself anymore. I go out here and there to keep myself sane, but I can never fully enjoy it because I feel guilty spending money. 

I’m a person that usually thrives under pressure, but as of late I just feel defeated. I don’t feel bad for myself; I’m frustrated because I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I’m reading articles and watching videos every day about how to improve as a candidate and how to stand out to employers with literally nothing to show for it.

I have no clue where I’ll be in the next 6 months, and that both terrifies and excites me. But I do know that I have no choice but to keep trying and keep improving. It sucks giving what you think is your all and getting nothing in return but maybe your all isn’t as much as you think it is. I refuse to opt into the toxic mindset that there is anyone to blame for my problems but me, so I’ll keep asking myself what I could be doing differently. I didn’t expect to be unemployed for this long, but just because your rough patch lasts longer than expected doesn’t mean you stop trying. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t end a blog post with a corny metaphor, so here it is: an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you backwards it’s to launch you forward – unless you let go.

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5 COMMENTS
  • Stephanie
    4 months ago

    I was nodding throughout this entire post. Everything you’re saying, I’m feeling. Kudos on trying to be positive and improving yourself! It certainly is difficult when a rough patch lasts longer than you prepared for. Good luck to you!

    • The Pretty Patriot
      4 months ago
      AUTHOR

      It’s one thing when you’re prepared for one to two months but you’re sitting here four months later with no clue what you’re doing :/ Thank you and good luck to you as well!

  • Kat Fox
    4 months ago

    Good luck! This is just a phase. You’ll find “the one” soon enough!

    • The Pretty Patriot
      4 months ago
      AUTHOR

      Thank you, I appreciate it!

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