You’re Not A Big Fat Failure

Photo Credit: Bleeding Edge

Photo Credit: Bleeding Edge

For a twenty-something white female in America, I’m doing alright.  I have a roof over my head, a great group of supportive friends and family, a degree with above average grades throughout schooling, and a fabulous career I love in which I am wonderfully successful at… or so I thought.

I recently got laid off from my full-time job.  Regardless of why or how it ended, I’ve felt like a miserable fat failure of a human being.  I had no back-up plan besides a side job or two.  How was I going to live with no income?  There is NO way I will ever file for unemployment because I was raised with the notion of “find ANY job to make ends meet and only use unemployment as a last resort.”

I decided to temporarily become a commercial driver to pay the bills.  Even though it’s been so much fun… I’m still feeling like scum.  Like less than a human being.  Like wasted space.  All because I am not employed in the field that I studied in and what I feel is my calling.

Let’s get this straight: there is nothing wrong with whatever job you have, period.  My point here is that I’m feeling underemployed and don’t consider it an enjoyable living for me.  If what you do is right for you and all you need, good for you!

But for those of you who feel low like me, there’s always hope for better times.  Stay positive and feel less like the miserable failure by following these tips:

1.  Don’t panic (even though you may have already).

2. Get prepared.  Get your resume, business cards, portfolio, and social networks like LinkedIn ready with the most up-to-date information and aesthetically-pleasing appearance based on your chosen field or where / who you’re applying to.

3. Apply to as many jobs as possible and then some.  Check all those job posting sites multiple times a day.  Sign up for email updates from these guys so you can get jobs delivered to your inbox.  Create job-specific cover letters and send as many cover letters as possible even when they are optional.  Broaden your horizons and search for all types of jobs you believe you can do and have the experience for and take a chance.

4. Network, network, network.  Reach out to and/or find mentors.  Send emails to former employers (were bridges have not been burned).  Always have copies of your gorgeous resume and business cards available at all times to give to anybody and everything who will listen without coming off as desperate.

5. Make sure your finances are in order.  Do you need to borrow money from friends or family?  Do you have enough money in your savings to get by temporarily?  Do you need to start making minimum payments or rearrange payment options with bills?  Can you cut back on unnecessary expenses for a while to help save money?  Do you need to find roommates to help with rent payments?

6. Beef up your side projects and/or hobbies while you’re in limbo.  Can that hobby of yours make you money?  Is there a project you’ve been neglecting?  Use this time wisely.  Once you’re back in that job, you’ll be pining for that free time.

7. Practice some self-reflection.  Is this a good time to change careers and take a risk with something else?  Would you be willing to move across town or across the country in order to get that job you’re in need of / want to have?  Only you know if what you’re searching for is really what is right for you.

Most importantly, if you act like a failure, you’ll be one.  No matter your experience or amount of failures you’ve had up until now, you are only the failure you think you are if you act like one.  Sitting around waiting for someone to hand you a job makes you a failure.  Lounging around at home not doing anything but collecting unemployment makes you a failure.  Setting your bar unrealistically high makes you a failure.  Staying positive and doing everything you can to get that job as quickly as possible makes you purposeful, driven, and not a failure.

About Mandy Norman

Mandy is a content manager and designer by day, and crafter/hobby writer/thinker by night. Her relationship with her cat, giraffes, music, and caffeine are borderline unhealthy, but nothing stops her from speaking her mind and “making things look pretty.” She mans two blogs in her spare time, whatmandythinks and whatmandyloves. See All of Mandy's Posts

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