Dear Ayana Iman: I am a 28-year-old woman who's unemployed and still being housed by friends. Does that mean I am failing at life?
I know this may feel like an isolated incident, but I need you to know you're not alone. There are plenty of smart, capable individuals who are unemployed. According to Forbes, there are more jobs than there are people… I hope this brings you some comfort to know that YOUR position has yet to be filled. However, they found people aren't bringing enough technical or soft skills to the job market. This information is your leg up.
Rejection is rarely personal and you have the power to change your circumstances.
Identify the position that you want by researching titles and companies, and then identify the skills you don't have. Next, create a list of those skills and research them. You may find basic tutorials online, as well as on YouTube. Spend an hour to two hours daily studying and increasing your knowledge so you can confidently add it to your resume. Also, libraries and your local unemployment office have free resources to help you. Did you attend college? If so, they have alumni services that can enhance your resume and network. I suggest using Canva's templates for a modern resume. Ask for help and have a professional review it. Documenting the right key terms on your resume is critical to get past the automated system and attract recruiters. Don't forget to enroll with a staffing agency to aid you in your job search.
Unemployment can take a toll on your mental health. If you have health insurance, I suggest seeking a therapist to help you address any anxiety and negative self-talk. If that's not possible, start a group chat with a few of your close friends and set the rules of engagement: "This group chat is a safe space for transformative conversation, positivity, and inspiration."
You need to talk honestly about what you're going through – you need the human contact – and you've got the time. Also, treat everyday as an opportunity to greet the sun with a smile. Get up, brush your teeth, and get dressed. Even if the day is spent on applications, you must put in the effort to keep yourself together. I find it lifts your mood and is a part of self-care, which also helps keep you prepared. Remember, inactivity further devastates morale.
As inopportune as it may seem, you must find gratitude in your current situation. Start with your friends who have so graciously supported you and given you a place to stay. Hell, thank the person that held the door for you today. Ask how you can help out more around the house and offer to take the lead. Help isn't always in the monetary form, sometimes it's in the form of chores or administrative tasks; whatever it is, it will be appreciated. Be present and be conscious of the energy you put out into the universe.
Staying positive will allow you to attract exactly what you need. Taking action will allow you to get results.
To go back to your original question, no, you are not failing at life. You are currently experiencing the valleys of life. We all have them. How you get through this is to just keep going. You may be unemployed right now, but that does not define you. It takes courage to ask tough questions, like you've done in this segment. It shows you are determined to be a better person and committed to finding the answers. You are who you've always been — smart, capable, and filled with potential. Give yourself some flowers.
Ayana Iman xx
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