In today’s economy, saying that I am unemployed only grands me indifferent looks. So what? Why do you think you shouldn’t be unemployed? What’s so special about you?
I suppose nothing. Like the rest of the recent graduates, I strive to find a job to pay my bills. The truth is that I have been close to doing so for quite a while: three times I was called for an interview. I was even offered a five months placement (in a land far far away). I had to decline, because I could visualize myself in the same crappy position after those five months. That would have been unbearable.
It is not the first time I experience unemployment. I went through the same thing two years ago. Back then, I also had two choices – I could allow my employer to exploit me to a disgraceful degree or stay without a job. You can guess what I chose.
The most difficult thing with this situation is that your life lacks structure: you wake up in the morning. You eat breakfast. You log on to your computer. You search for new applications. You see that you are being asked to say the same things over and over – why you want the job, why you are the perfect match for the company, what’s so special about you. Other times you need to fill in forms, which fills like redoing your CV for the 10,000th times. Your fingers refuse to obey your brain’s order to do it in order to be done with. You feel nauseous. Everything about this process makes you feel weak, incompetent, at the mercy of a person that you don’t know who will judge based on your banalities if you are the right fit. If you are offered an interview. If you will have money for next week’s rent. The folder with all your cover letters grows larger, more KB added every day. And then comes insomnia to bring you to your knees.
Another issue with unemployment is that you feel like you are loosing your social status. Of course, one could argue, you are in your twenties. You are still building it. Nevertheless, you do carry an identity, inherited by your parents. Being unemployed in your own country means that this is not affected in a significant degree, as you still live in the same house, drive the same car, meet up with the same old friends and have your parents foot the bill. However, being unemployed abroad is like being an orphan: you can still hang out with people you know from university. That’s to say, with people that you would usually be around. At the same time, your housing is worse. The facilities you have access to are worse. Most importantly, you have lost any feeling of security and belonging. Until you find a job you are just another unemployed graduate in limbo.
Getting over the depression that the lack of structure, resources, security and human presence can cause is a challenging endeavour: you start a foreign language. You meet your friends regularly. You pretend that everything is fine just to eventually persuade yourself that everything is indeed fine. The other day I went to dance class to take out all my frustration. I ended up hating the teacher for being so energetic and positive and the music for being so happy. Managing your feeling is proving to be the most hard part of this process. Yesterday I went to my uni and I felt like such a failure that it was five o’clock and all the people there were students and I wasn’t in an office somewhere in the city working.
So, eventually, hopefully, everything will be ok. Till then, the struggle continues. It is a struggle against the system, a competition against other qualified individuals but most importantly it is a fight against my own desire to resign. But this is not truly a choice. Because my life matters. To me.