Lessons I’ve learned from being unemployed

Other than it sucks! You can learn a lot from being unemployed, it’s a great chance to self-reflect and potentially change course in your career.

I’m in my entire working career, I’ve been unemployed 6 months in the 14 years I’ve been working, which is not bad going.

In 2011 I was made redundant from a job I was brilliant at, I took it hard. It was the first time redundancy had hit me and didn’t feel real. I was in employment within a month as we had a good recruitment agent helping us through the transition.

That job didn’t work out and I moved on.

The second time I was made redundant, I won’t lie I did feel relieved. At nearly 30 I took a MASSIVE pay cut just so that I could work as going to collect job seekers allowance every fortnight was mighty depressing and working on minimum wage for 40 hours a week whilst doing a degree sounded like a better idea.

My most recent stint of unemployment lasted one month, this was in November of 2017. I felt like such a failure as I’d moved to a new city to work and it hadn’t worked out for me.

It was embarrassing telling anyone that I was no longer employed and that I’d risked a big life change in order for it not to work out. Thankfully a very good friend of mine told me repeatedly that failure is a part of life and that it wasn’t really failing, it was trying something new and taking a risk and if it didn’t pay off you move on.  This advice I now appreciate, not so much at the time!

However, I did learn a few things in the month stint I was out of work that I wanted to share and hopefully help anyone going through the same thing.

  1. Apply for anything

I have always had a strong work ethic and not working really bothers me so whilst this may sound obvious you should apply for anything and everything and don’t think a job is below you or beyond your capabilities.

A job I applied for in 2014 ended up turning into something completely different and fulfilling from what was the original job post and that was because I bought my own set of skills and personality to the firm that it went in a direction no one saw coming.

  1. Re-vamp your CV

My CV I must admit was a bit dated. I decided to have a look through and change not only the standard, what my responsibilities were but also the entire layout. It stood out a mile compared to other CV’s. Don’t be afraid to be creative.  No, it won’t always guarantee an interview, but the ones that do call you will most definitely be impressed.

Also, ensure you tailor it to every job. I’m not saying anything new but this was something I was very bad at until recently!

I’m really proud of mine, so happy to send the layout and what I did differently out to anyone who needs help!

  1. Be proactive

When applying for jobs you really would like an interview for, research who is hiring (the manager, HR person etc). contact them once you’ve submitted your application to ensure it’s been received and don’t be afraid to give them a quick call once the deadline has passed to see if you’ve been selected. Being proactive can save on feeling disheartened if you haven’t been selected but also show a willingness to be considered.

  1. Don’t lose hope

Now, this one is hard! If I didn’t have such a good network of friends and family I would definitely have felt worse than I did! Having a good support network is key when feeling a bit down & useless! Constant reminders and encouragement from them telling you that you haven’t failed and that something will come along won’t sink in immediately but it helps in the long run.

I also found that looking for a job becomes a job. It can be easy to isolate yourself as you don’t have your normal routine of getting up at a certain time, getting dressed and going to work. My advice is to make sure you leave the house once a day even if it’s to just go for a walk. It allows you to interact with the outside world, even if it’s a smile from someone who crosses paths with you. Makes it a less lonely process.

If like me you like to work out and it’s part of your routine, continue going regularly. It will also give you a reason to the leave the house. Exercise will release happy hormones to offset the often misery that unemployment can bring!

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help (including financial)

I have to admit I’m bad at this! But DO ask for help. Your friends and family will want to help you, its part of the reason they are there! Even financial help if needed. I’m lucky that I’m a big saver so was financially secure for a few months if I budgeted and didn’t go overboard.

  1. Do not compare yourself to others

Again, I’m guilty of this (even when employed!), it’s hard not to compare yourself to others. When rejection letters come in droves (as they did for me) you can’t help but feel a little defeated and start looking at why you aren’t employable. Remember that you are!

Going down a negative spiral of ‘what’s wrong with me?’ ‘why am I so unemployable?’ is hard to pull yourself back out from.

  1. Be positive

I’m a big believer in what you put out into the universe will come back tenfold. Positive energy is one of them. Hard as it can be to maintain on day to day basis, remaining positive is just a case of changing your mindset and repeating to yourself that this situation (any, including unemployment) is temporary.

NB…Hope this helps and would love to hear back from anyone else who has experienced unemployment and how they dealt with it.

Have a good day xo


  1. Janet
    March 2, 2018 / 5:34 pm

    Thanks for the uplifting message!

    • manihayre
      March 2, 2018 / 5:34 pm

      Your welcome! Thank you for reading and kind words 😊

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