When I originally conceived of this post I thought about these people. It’s an article that was done by Atlantic magazine nearly three years ago in which they share letters from the unemployed. Their words are heartbreaking, raw, and honest.
I remember reading it the first time around, and feeling so helpless in the wake of so much hurt. It wasn’t that long after I’d spent nearly a year struggling to find work. And I’ve dipped in and out of that place over the years.
That’s how I know that the impact from the economic fallout is still lasting in so many ways. Back then the pain was still novel. Now, it has become such a common refrain of our society that we take it as fact.
And one of the issues that strike me the most, is that the economic fallout left so many people who feel as if they are not living up to their potential due to lack of opportunity, or a fear that what they have is the best they can get. Dreams have been frozen in place, careers stunted. People are somewhat stuck, but not quite sure what to do to move on.
So, what do you do?
What do you do when it’s years later and you still feel that you’re not “back on track?” What do you do when you’re still clinging on to that job that NEVER served you, but you’ve been too afraid to let it go? I have three ideas/thoughts. I share these because I hate the idea of clamoring to gain footing in a situation in which you don’t have much control. We can’t control the economy, or the types of employment opportunities out there. But you can control what you do with some of your time, and how you can use it to develop something new for yourself.
Make A (Mind) Shift
I believe one of the hardest things facing our generation is the disconnect between who we thought (and who we were taught) we would be, and the reality that the old formula of checking off steps on a pre-destined list to success (get good grades, get good job) is no longer fail-proof. We’re a generation that is caught between seeing remnants of the past, and glimpses of an uncertain future. It’s scary, but it has the potential to be exciting. Ask yourself, how can your dream be accomplished in a different way? Does it mean that you look for companies outside of the ones you originally wanted to target? Do you create your own venture? Do you get some experience in a totally different field to supplement your idea for where you want your career to eventually go? Freeing yourself of the idea that your story should follow some imaginary path will allow you to start to see beyond your immediate pain and discomfort. I know it’s hard because the opportunity to compare yourself to everyone else’s curated life is always looming, but try focusing on you.
Next, Be Okay With Baby Steps
When you’re stuck in a job that you hate, or stuck looking to have a job that you would delight in hating, it can be really hard to see yourself beyond where you are right now. The day-to-day fight for survival is frustrating, and energy draining. But, even though I’m sure you wish you could snap your fingers and make this situation miraculously disappear, the truth is, sometimes it takes awhile to make a change, and a lot of baby steps in the right direction. The exciting thing is that those baby steps are up to you, and there are so many avenues to experiment and question that didn’t exist even 10 years ago. You can reach out to anyone you find interesting, do volunteer work for places in person and virtually, and literally learn about anything that you can think of. If you can spare the energy to try new things, and experiment with trying out your passions in different ways, go for it. You never know where it can lead.
Shake Some Shit Up
If you’ve ever wanted to start your own *insert your awesome idea here* now is the time. The opportunities we have today are damn near unreal. Entire industries are crumbling and being built up again to look totally different, because technology has shifted the power to create and share into the hands of the people. If you’re feeling entrepreneurial, research your idea, see what else is out there like it. Figure out the steps to bring it to life. Start and end your day with your ideas, and keep some kind of reminder on you, that where you are now is temporary place because you have somewhere else to be! If you aren’t entrepreneurial, but enjoy the idea of shaking some shit up anyways, look for opportunities to get involved with new ideas, new ventures, and people who want to be disruptive in some way. Notice I say “opportunites to get involved” not “jobs”. Big difference. I know that finding a new gig isn’t that easy right now, but find an opportunity to dip your toe in the waters of something new is.
Talk To Me ↓
Are there any ideas you would add to the list? If you’ve ever been in a job/career situation that didn’t give you life, what did you do to keep your spirits up? Let me know below!
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