Being unemployed is like being single. For the first time in a long time, you are completely untethered to any person or full-time employment. You may have ambitions for what you will do during this brief time in your life. Maybe you’ll travel around Peru, finally write that novel or even, if you’re feeling really adventurous, join a local football club.
But even if you go through bursts of energy where you do want to Get Out There and make the most out of being single/unemployed/both, there will also be long periods where you fall into old lazy patterns. Instead of going to that football club you joined, you stay in and sleep off your hangover. Instead of travelling to Peru, you will spend hours on a single job application. And rather than going out on a date once a week, you binge-watch How I Met Your Mother.
This was the Single/Unemployed slump I was in. It was like that bit in 500 Days Of Summer when Tom stays in bed and bounces a ball all day. Even when I was out of bed and applying for jobs, I was not full of the joie de vivre that belongs to the newly unemployed/single. I was burned out with juggling socialising with applying for jobs and I just wanted to stay indoors all the time.
That is, until two weeks ago.
I got a job interview and it was fantastic. Much like going on a date, I had to be charming and really get out of my shell. I was awake, dressed and prepping for my interview most days from 8am.
And then I got another interview, and another. And now I’m no longer in that depressive slump where Netflix was my portal to the outside world. Instead, I’ve noticed my confidence has improved – I made a few interviewers laugh by comparing Brexit to Eastenders. I’ve had lovely chats with top journalists about the future of media. I still don’t know if I will be unemployed indefinitely, but I feel I’m making steps towards my goal of finding The Right Job.
Interviews are like dates. You put your best version of yourself on display and hope that someone will want to see more of you and perhaps commit to you in the long-term. But it is a two-way street. When you go for an interview, you are also interviewing them – if they’re offering you a zero-hours contract with no sick pay and a boring job role, you’re entitled to say no (just as you would on a date with someone who said they “don’t really get the whole #MeToo thing”).
And it seems that every self-help book I have ever read was correct. Once you start feeling confident, people can sense it and it attracts them to you like a millennial to Infernos.
In the past three days, I have been invited to another interview and, at the same time, started talking to five different guys on Hinge – one of whom loves chicken nuggets and Star Wars, so I think he might be The One. I have also been asked on a date and asked out at a bar.
All that has changed is that I found the confidence to ‘put myself out there’. I now realise that I am funny and bright and that I need not be single or unemployed for much longer.