My Story Pt 2: Funemployment
In my first post, I shared my story of getting laid off and the lessons I learned about myself and what it meant to be passionate.
And since then, I've tried to use my time to find the fun in the every day and use those lessons to craft my next steps.
So as a follow-up, I wanted to share my story about what the day-to-day, unfiltered version was like for me.
Here's my funemployment story.
"How are you enjoying your time of funemployment?"
The most common question I got asked by friends and family members was usually followed by my upbeat response, "I'm really enjoying myself!"
While this was certainly true, there were days that were difficult to respond with the same level of enthusiasm that I had initially set.
To be honest, I found myself still being affected by the uncertainty and fears of not being in control.
And as someone who grew up career-oriented, I was continually challenged to find confidence and security not in my job.
I wasn't proud that this was something that had so much control over me.
For those of you who's been (or are) funemployed*, you can probably relate to me here.
(*Side note, I'm fully aware that there's a lot of privilege in being able to enjoy time off work, and that this could be viewed as a millennial concept unless guided with purpose and intention)
The nonchalant line of: "I'm just figuring things out and trying to enjoy the process" quickly became my crutch after a couple of months of still being funemployed.
Let's just say the fun was running out quick (and my savings even quicker).
So here's a timeline of my funemployment journey:
Month 1 - Let's do this!
Month 2 - Research, Apply, Interview (Repeat)
Month 3 - Staying on the grind
Month 4 - "Let's just enjoy this time"
Month 5 - ...What is Life?
Month 6 - Landed a job! :)
My confidence and energy fluctuated throughout the days/weeks based on which doors were opening and closing.
So here were a few things that I learned from being funemployed the past 6 months.
Dressing Up is Optional
Early on, I woke up early and got myself ready, but soon realized that I had no one to really dress up for.
After a few weeks, I realized that interviews via phone calls and Skype required minimal dressing up and it quickly became a slippery slope.
I remember one specific interview where I put on a jacket and dress shirt and no pants for a Skype interview. Although I didn't get the job, I felt like a boss during the interview.
I ended up wearing pants for the following interviews.
The meaning of dress to impress quickly diminished into a challenge of what I didn't have to do while still looking presentable.
After a few months, I knew that in order to stay on top of my game, I needed to really put on my big boy pants! (pun intended)
During this time, I had another (sober) realization:
"Me, A Self-Help Junkie?"
“Motivation doesn’t last. Neither do showers.
That’s why they’re recommended daily.” Zig Ziglar
For the past 6 months, I consumed a ton of self-help content from motivational influencers such as Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Jocko Willink. And it worked.
It helped me push thru my mental barriers, step outside my comfort zone, and be grateful for my current situation.
But I think the biggest challenge was maintaining that motivation and taking actions towards the goals that I had set out for myself.
Here's a quote from a motivation (lol) article I read:
Don’t consume personal development for the warm feeling of inspiration, consume it to turn the insights into action. Once you act, move on to the next puzzle piece and advance.
I've learned that it was easy to get caught in the cycle of reading self-help for dopamine hits. But I had to remember that it was a means to an end, not the end in itself.
The question I will continue to ask myself is - have you gotten any better? Have you improved?
Speaking of questions, there was one that I had asked myself more often than I'd like to admit:
What Am I Doing with My Life?
I've asked this countless times and some days were definitely easier than others to answer.
My normal week consisted of countless phone calls, rounds of interviews, and some "light stalking" on LinkedIn (who hasn't done this?)
Each week was filled with small successes matched with equally stinging defeats.
After some self-reflection, this ominous question was being uprooted during my times of struggle and insecurity.
And the biggest instigator for this question was the pressure to Keep Up With The Joneses.
I had a conversation with a friend recently of how it's becoming even more difficult to be satisfied without comparing yourself to others because there are now millions of "Joneses" in our network - thanks to social media.
I decided to filter my social media consumption and be cognizant to the content that I was following.
The question of "What Am I Doing With My Life" became a bit easier to answer. Do I have it nailed down? Absolutely not. Is it getting easier to answer? I can honestly answer, yes.
It's helped me to ignore the minutiae of life and focus on the bigger picture and trust in His greater plan.
So whoever is out there going thru your own journey - continue to stay on the grind, get motivated to take action, and (really) ask what you want do with your life (and make sure to wear your pants in the interview!)
P.S. Thank you all for the encouragement/job referrals within the education space! :) I've started working at KIND and have been fortunate enough to support my family, while still looking into the youth empowerment space.
On the side, I am helping out with Empatico - a simple, online tool that connects classrooms across the world - and it's FREE.
Give me a shout out if you know any teachers or school leaders that'd be interested!