How to Survive Long-Term Unemployment

26 Mar

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To be honest y’all, I don’t know if I’m completely qualified to write this article. My 5-month job hunt has got me holding on to my sanity by my last pinkie finger. And it’s slipping off quickly.

So this won’t be one of those corny, “Hold on a little longer. You can do it” type articles. Cuz right now I’m going through it.

After sending in tons of applications only to find an empty inbox the next day, and repeating that routine day after day, I find myself constantly frustrated, often frowning, and sometimes on the brink of tears. Unemployment, under-employment, and seemingly never-ending job hunts can really fuck with your self-esteem. So if you’re like me, struggling to keep it together mentally–try a few of these tips:

1. Find comfort in a few good friends. When I’m in the thick of my job hunting for the day, and I’m pissed off because insert-company’s-name-here’s application takes an hour to complete, good conversation is exactly what I need. Talking to them about totally unrelated subjects is quite healing. And friends are always helpful when you need to vent.

2. Vent when you need too. If you’re angry, yell at the wall. Curse as much as you need to. Call a friend and tell them your frustrations. No need to hold it in. But don’t vent too much. If you’re harping on negative things, you’ll be stuck in that feeling the whole day. So when you do need to vent or complain, give yourself a time limit and don’t go over it.

3. Exercise regularly. Trust me–if you’re not doing this, you should. I’ve gotten so bored from filling out applications that I body has has become sluggish 24-7. I feel overslept from just sitting at my desk. It’s quite awful, and I haven’t figured out how to get rid of the feeling (I’m beyond the point of no return…running doesn’t help me). But exercise might save the rest of you from the sluggish doom.

4. If you pray, pray often. (If not, skip over this section. I’m not here to convert you to anything). God and I have had some serious chats about my future. And though I haven’t figured it all out yet, reminding myself that God is supporting me and has big plans is very comforting. And as my preacher always says, “You don’t need to tell God about your big problems, you need to tell your problems about your Big God.” (Oh, and while you’re at it, add me to your prayer list…k, thanks).

5. Find something that’ll make you laugh hard. Modern Family has been my saving grace. Watch some comedians on Youtube. Have a “Best Vines” marathon. Laughing might be exactly what you need.

6. Don’t take it personally. If you’re putting your best foot forward and applying for jobs whenever you can, then it’s not your fault. Don’t blame yourself. Lots of people are in the same position.

7. Take the Naomi Campbell approach. If you ever watch an interview with Naomi Campbell, you can tell that she is very aware that she is Naomi Campbell, supermodel diva with an impressive and long-lasting career. She’s a boss and she knows it.

Sometimes, we have to be confident like Naomi and remind ourselves of how talented we are.

Here’s my reminder for myself when I’m not feeling that great: I’m Ritashae Collins. I’m a talented writer. I’ve been published in 9 different places, print and online. My writing makes people think and change. People tweet at me with quotes from my writing that inspire them. I’m fucking quoteable! I’m highly-qualified for the positions I’ve applied for and any company that passes over my resume (can suck it) has lost out on an awesome candidate.

I suggest you create your own mini speech to remind yourself just how awesome you are.

I even created a pick-me-up meme: UE SHAE @

8. Don’t give up hope. I know I said I wouldn’t be cheezy but this is real: having hope means that you still believe in yourself. Once you give that up, you may never get a job.

Good Luck

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