How to Make the Most of Your (F)Unemployment

No matter where in your career you are, there’s a good chance that, at some point, you’ve experienced unemployment. And if you haven’t yet, you probably will. We don’t say this to be the bearer of bad news, rather to prepare you for the inevitable, and get you as ready as possible to handle the situation when it arises. first-5-icon-07

Here at First Five, we want to make sure you’re prepared for anything and everything that this (sometimes scary) professional world can throw at you. But being unemployed isn’t the worst thing in the world, and it can actually open up a lot of doors for you. Here’s how you can make the most of this time in your life, and turn unemployment into Funemployment:

Rediscover your passion

Chances are, if you find yourself recently unemployed, or if you’re a recent graduate trying to enter into the workforce, you might have lost touch with what inspires you and what you’re passionate about. Use this down time to remember what you love doing most. Think about what makes you happy and what you’re good at, and decide if maybe you need a change in career direction.

It’s never too late to start over, or to try something new. Maybe you losing your job (or being unable to find one) is a sign that you should rethink your career path. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, so take advantage of it. Make sure you’re doing what you want to do in life, and if not, look at your options. You could be using this time to go back to school, or even just take a class or two. This isn’t wasted time if you make the most of it.

Remember what they say about idle hands…

Okay, so, you don’t have to wake up for work every day, and for a little bit, this can seem fun. You can sleep in, stay in your pajamas all day, eat junk food. But if you continue to behave this way for too long, it’ll start to get to you.

Studies have shown that depression rates are likely to rise while unemployed, as well as a potential personality trait shift. Most of this is due to the fact that, while you’re unemployed, you lose your daily routine. You stop having reasons to get out of bed and out of the house. So, of course, take the time to mourn your loss, but don’t take too long. Find a reason to get out of bed in the morning, even if you do sleep in, having a sense of purpose is crucial to maintaining your happiness during this time.

Start a new routine

The great thing about funemployment is all the free time you have. Time that you can spend learning a new skill, or working on your resume or applying for new jobs. So set an alarm, work out, finally tackle that reading list you’ve been meaning to for months. Plan to cook more recipes, or craft more home decorations. Whatever it is, make time for it, and make it a priority. Giving meaning to your days at home will help them become much more bearable and productive.

Start a side hustle

Even though it might not be the same amount of money you were making at your old job, or what you were hoping to make, picking up a side hustle during this period of unemployment is a great way to generate some extra income, as well as try something new.

Whether you’re repurposing old furniture to sell for a profit, or writing for some websites, this is the perfect time for you to pick up a side hustle. It will give you a reason to get out of bed, and help find that spark of passion you might have been missing. A side hustle is always a great way to try something new.

So maybe this time of not working isn’t your ideal situation, it’s still not the worst thing in the world. This is a great time for you to rediscover yourself and what you want to do with your life, and take the time to make yourself happy.

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S. Spacek

Wish public sector employers (especially Federal and those located in DC area) be more willing than they actually have been, to hire those qualified over age 50, and not be so nit-picky candidates who are not veterans.

B. DiMarzio

The Federal government is doing an enormous disservice to itself and to the taxpayer by automatically rejecting any applicant (regardless of their education, experience, and qualifications) who is not both a veteran and a current or “recent” (within a year or two) college grad. It’s just age discrimination in disguise (No disrespect intended to veterans).