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Let’s talk about: unemployment

Just when you think i’m finished going on about my unemployment situation, i’m back with a specially dedicated post to it. This will be the last time i talk about it, i swear…maybe. It’s been such a huge part of my life that it just keeps being relevant.

Which is, i guess, why i’ve decided to do a “Let’s talk about” on the topic of unemployment. I never thought i’d be in this situation and it’s flipped everything in my life completely upside down – i wish i had been a little more prepared for it and i want to help other people who find themselves in the same place.

It’s so important to talk about it. It can be a very dark, lonely place if you’re not sure where to turn and what to do. I’ve felt like i hit rock bottom a few times since it happened, and i would hate for anyone to be feeling that alone.

Just a quick disclaimer: everything i’m going to talk about is quite specific to my situation. There will be parts that don’t apply to your life or your situation, but i’m just talking from my own experience.

So, unemployment fucking sucks. But let’s backtrack for a minute and talk about the process of becoming unemployed and how awful that is. I know it’s different for everyone and sometimes it’s your own choice, sometimes it isn’t.

I was fired. I’m not gonna skirt around it and use the nicer term my mum told me to use – i was told my contract would not be extended and to just go home that day. Pretty brutal. Let’s not dwell on that for too long because it’s still quite raw.

It’s embarrassing. I felt so humiliated, especially since i was just told to get my stuff and leave before lunch. I cried all the way to my car, then all the way home, but i didn’t even doubt that i was going to be anything other than 100% honest about this. Not for a second.

I’m still really angry about how i was treated throughout the whole process. The lies and lack of respect was shocking, but i’m now able to recognise how toxic that place was. It had reached boiling point – i was ready to get out, and if they hadn’t done it, i would’ve.

It was nice at first. I wasn’t overly worried about getting another job too quickly, for some reason. I spent a lot more time with my family, went on some day trips with Max, and was just enjoying getting to work on my content and do what i wanted for a while.

And then i ran out of money. The enjoyment stopped soon after that, and the panic set in. I have shit to pay for, and no income. It also turns out that staying at home during the week isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, which pissed me off.

I used to dream of getting to spend all day at home. It seemed like total bliss to me. After doing it for about two months, i can conclude it sucks. I miss getting dressed. I miss having a reason to go out. I had totally glamourised it in my head and now i realise it sucks.

You also don’t realise how many forms need details of your employment until you don’t know what to say. I keep running into people i haven’t seen for years that want to know how i’m getting on. Should i be honest and deal with the awkward silence? Should i lie to save face?

I shouldn’t be ashamed. I’m trying to get back into employment. I’m trying to make more money from my socials. It’s not as if i’m sat on my ass all day waiting for life to be kind to me – sometimes, it just feels like everything works against you.

They always say it's easier to find a job when you're in one, which is some delicious irony that i don't need right now.

The thing i’ve struggled with most is money. You may remember my last ‘Let’s talk about’ post was about money, and my unhealthy mindset towards spending it. Not having any money at all has definitely changed how i manage my money and my spending.

Everything i have goes towards bills, currently. Last month, I barely made half of what i made when i was in full-time employment and it’s been a huge shock to the system. Not only did i have no savings, i now had almost no source of income, nothing.

I don’t think many people understand how scary it is until you’ve been in that situation. I have no idea how i’m going to afford my car next month. I’ve cried about it so many times and i’m constantly stressed. I can’t have fun anymore.

I’m very lucky that my parents are in a position to help me. I haven’t had to ask them for help with bills yet, but i know it’s coming. I hate asking for money. It’s a matter of pride. I was self sufficient for so long that going back to relying on my parents is extremely difficult.

Something i really didn’t anticipate was how lonely it is. It was fab during summer, i was able to go see my friends and spend loads of time with them as they took the remainder of their annual leave and Max was off uni.

And then everyone went back to work. Max got a full-time placement and is due back at uni in a week. My freelance friend got a full-time job. My days are spent alone, for the most part, and i rarely leave my house unless it’s to walk the dogs.

It’s even quiet on social media, with other people getting on with their working days and not really active online. The few people i’ve spoken to that are in the same situation as me have been a saving grace, but none of them live here. 

I get cabin fever a lot. I feel a bit more irritable because my life is at a standstill while everyone else is moving forward. It’s tough to come to terms with the fact you might actually need to just stay still for a while.

My experience put me off marketing for a while. I didn’t want to be in that kind of toxic environment again, which left me stuck with where to go next. All i knew was marketing, that’s where my skills were, i had no idea what else to do with my life.

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I’m still at a standstill. I have a lot of options running around in my head and i can’t land on any of them for long enough to plan anything. The days are disappearing so quickly that i’m worried i’m running out of time.

It’s hard to bounce back from unemployment. Your confidence takes a huge hit and i had no idea how to even begin to build it back up. It’s not really something anyone can help with, either. It’s all down to you and how you feel about yourself post-employment.

I’ve learned you can’t take anything personally. I held a lot of anger for a while, and whilst i am still a bit mad, i’ve come to appreciate that it’s just business. Some people don’t know how to run a business, or how to treat their staff, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It just sucks when you get caught up in it.

Surprisingly, it hasn’t been all negative. As i mentioned, i’ve loved having more time to work on my online platforms and spend time with my family and friends. 

I’ve noticed a huge change in my moods as well. I was miserable at that job and used to cry every day. Now, i’m happier. I don’t dread waking up every day to go into a place that was damaging my mental health. Each day is a new possibility for something amazing.

I’ve also stopped biting my nails, which is a habit i’ve been unable to kick for years. As soon as i left that job, i stopped. I haven’t bitten them since i was fired and i get to wear pretty rings and paint them nice colours, which is something so simple that i always dreamed of.

I almost wish i was self employed, so i could live like this normally but without the lack of money. There are some things i wouldn’t have been able to do if i still had a full-time job, so i’m thankful for the timing of that. It’s weird how things work out.

There’s not really any happy ending or conclusion to this post, unfortunately. The negatives to being unemployed are overwhelming and terrifying, but it’s so important to recognise the positives.

Sometimes, it’s better for your mental health to get out. I strongly believe that i needed this as a wake-up call, to make me manage my money better and think about what i want out of life. I can say for sure that i will never take friendly colleagues for granted again.

If you’ve found yourself in this situation, and you’re feeling a little lost, please message me. I don’t have a magical cure, but i can be a shoulder to cry on and someone who understands the feelings you’re having.

It’s very overwhelming. It’s a huge lifestyle change and something people are rarely prepared for. Just know that my dm’s are always open, as are my emails, to anyone who may need them.

How do you cope with unemployment?

View Comments (11)
  • A blog post I can relate to! Sorry you were fired that was really brutal. I’ve been unemployed since my last job in 2017 but I’ve had 2 other jobs between 2011 & 2015 which were Christmas ones. I’ve been looking ever since 2017 it’s hard because I don’t know what I want to do & it’s also hard to fill my time because I have so much! I have a learning disability so it’s more difficult for me to find a job because I struggle with things. But Good luck with finding a job!

    • Thank you! It’s been 6 months for me so far and i’ve had a few temp placements but i honestly hate it. I don’t know what i want to do either, i’m still not sure what i enjoy but i don’t know how to find out. Work is so difficult!!

  • I can honestly relate to this so hard. I’ve worked since I was 16, worked all through college and all through uni to afford living then when I dropped out of uni, I went instantly to full time work. A year or so later, I came down really unwell really quickly and just didn’t get better before being diagnosed with a chronic illness. This rendered me unable to work for 2 years. Although it was for a completely different reason, I can totally understand your worries and the massive confidence knock that it gives you. All of my family, friends and partner worked full time so I’d spend so much of my time alone and it SUCKED. I’m sure you can relate to the fact that my dog gave me massive comfort, though. Since May this year, I’ve been gradually getting back into working again and despite not being totally there with my confidence, I’m really enjoying having a “purpose” again. You will get there, I promise you! It just takes time.
    Alice Xx

    • That sounds awful, i’m so sorry. My dogs have definitely been a huge source of comfort for me, even if it’s just getting out of the house to walk them, it makes a huge difference and i know they need me to be okay to take care of them. I’m trying to find a balance that works for me in an industry that i enjoy so i can get some of that confidence back and just enjoy my life again!

  • Hey Lou
    Thanks for such an honest post. I too have been in your situation and know how awful it is. I felt useless for a while as I just couldn’t see how I could become the person everyone wanted me to be. I have come to realise that it’s better to be yourself and find the job to suit you and not the other way around!
    I wish you the best of luck with everything my love. ☺💕 xoxo
    Sarah aka SunshineSarahxo

  • This hits home so hard because this has been my life on and off for 5 years. A lot of my issues with employment have been due to my mental health issues, but because they is still so stigmatised, I find it hard to tell people that and end up lying when they ask what I’m up to/doing for work. It’s just easier that way.

    It’s so lonely and isolating and knocks your confidence down to zero. But I know what you’re going through and I’m only a message away xx

    • I’ve definitely lied to people recently because i don’t want to say i’m unemployed. I don’t feel confident enough to say that i’m a “blogger” (even though my money mainly comes from there at the moment) so i just say i’m freelance. I don’t want people to think i’m lazy, i’m trying really hard to find a job i know i’ll enjoy but it’s just so difficult!

  • Hey, I was in a pretty similar situation to you but was the only person made redundant where I worked at a small company. To be honest, it has affected my confidence massively and I really struggle to feel like I’m good at my job even three years later when I’m back in employment. Some good has come of it though, After freelancing for a bit after being made redundant I got what I thought would be my dream job. After working there for two months I realised I hated it and it was making me so miserable I had the confidence to quit in my probation period without a job to go to. I don’t think I’d have had the confidence to do that, or know enough of what I wanted from a job. I now have a great job which is really flexible and with a healthy work life balance and great colleagues. I realise not everyone’s story is positive but wanted to share as it’s actually quite hard to find stories of young people being made redundant or fired. Thank you for writing this post as it would have helped me when I had first been made redundant and I was struggling and trying to find stories of people in the same situation, not just people saying ‘it will be fine’. I really hope you find your next role and you’re happy in it. One thing that did help me is I had a friend who was unemployed at the time and we met up at coffee shops to write job applications together. Just having someone to bounce ideas off and proof applications was really helpful. Please keep sharing your experiences good and bad as there will be others out there in the same situation who it might help not feel so alone.

    • I think that’s definitely something i’ll take away from this – i won’t be afraid to say if i’m not enjoying it and will leave before they make me. I had never considered the possibility of me being fired from a job before it happened, so dealing with it was such a different experience and i’m hoping people will read my experience and recognise that you shouldn’t be ashamed of it, things like this are always going to happen and overall, it makes you a stronger person.

  • I remember on Instagram when you first shared you’d been fired, I sent you a message about how I was fired in 2014 and it led me to my dream job. Hilariously, in mid-july, the agency I worked at closed suddenly and I (alongside all my coworkers) was laid off. It was awful. Just the worst feeling in the world. It’s sort of a different aspect of unemployment, but once thing I’ve been struggling with in job searching is the gossip aspect. I get called to interviews JUST for them to ask about gossip about my former employers, who I still love & respect & am friends with.

    I definitely relate to the money aspect though. I’m older than you by quite a bit, and I have a son, we’re lucky to have my husband’s income, but he’s a teacher so it’s not exactly a ton of money! The money has been the most stressful part of the last 6 weeks for me. I’ve always been a saver, but even with savings, I find myself panicking every time we have to spend money.

    I don’t have any advice for you. It’s all just a crapshoot the advice. Unemployment sucks, but I promise it will turn around. I don’t know how or when, but I promise you, it really will. (I’m in the US, so I’m curious: do you have unemployment insurance there? Here in the US we can get weekly benefits based on how much we were earning prior to being laid off.)

    xo Michelle

    • Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that 🙁 Being laid off from somewhere you actually enjoy is probably a million times worse. I can’t believe they ask you that! Even though i ended on bad terms with my employers, i wouldn’t talk shit about them in an interview because it reflects badly on me. Totally inappropriate.

      I wasn’t a saver before but i definitely am now. It sucks that it’s taken something like this to make me better with money, but i definitely never want to be in this situation again so will think more carefully about my money and how i spend it. We do have benefits but i haven’t looked into it properly yet, i should’ve done sooner. If i’m still unemployed in the new year, i’ll definitely apply for some but i’ve been very lucky to have my parents help and some money from instagram coming in.

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