Career Magazine

Guest Post for GoThinkBig: The Definitive Guide to How to Be Jobless

By Howtobejobless @howtobejobless

 Published 27/03/13 on GoThinkBig

Guest post: The definitive guide to how to be jobless

@howtobejobless has given herself a year to find a job in journalism before chucking the whole thing in. And of course, she’s blogging about it. Here’s a guest post, her definitive guide on how to stay sane, stay amused and keep going when you’re jobless.

Have you noticed that no one ever says, “You did invite Jobless Sad Steve, didn’t you? His whinging is epic, yo. It shall be the highlight of our shindig.” I started HTBJ because I was Jobless Sad Steve, full of negativity, egged on by the press and the babyboomers patting us on the head with, “Our bad…good luck!”

But hear this: we’re not screwed. This is just our revolution, our down-and-out transition before we change the way things work. And that starts with pointing and laughing. No one said it better than George Orwell, the man who made it cool to hate CCTV: “Every joke is a tiny revolution.”


How to be jobless…and amused

Laugh about it

Really. It’s comedy gold.

How are we going to keep a straight face as we tell our kids about the ridiculousness of 2013? We’ll have to tell them, as we point out their lack of awareness at having been born, that we spent our youth in one of two groups: unemployed and desperate for work or overworked and desperate for help.

And we’ll have to pretend things like social media, cheap flights and cancer cures weren’t invented until later, so we don’t sound too whiny.

Take hilarious revenge…

There’s no pick-me-up like revenge on The Employed. Join rush hour with a wheelie suitcase and a crying child. Queue up at Starbucks, get to the front of the queue at 08:56 and say: “Umm…what’s actually in a latte?”

Parody The Employed

Aspiring to get a job does rather put The Employed on a pedestal. Ooh, you say. Look at him. He has a suit. So does she. Maybe they’ll get married and have tiny suited babies, who I will also revere in the future while sitting on a bus.

But what does it take to be like them, really? Apart from, you know, having somewhere to be? Scrape together enough coinage for a latte then order it as if you’re in a hurry. Buy a box of Krispy Kremes and say “The guys are gonna love me!” to the utterly indifferent cashier. Hell, find a pub on a Friday evening and just join in with someone’s work drinks if you like. Say you’re from accounting and watch them pretend to remember that time you met at the water cooler. Oh, the times you guys have had, apparently.

How to be jobless…and miffed

Overdone steak is tough – the job market is tooth-breaking

If I hear ‘tough economic climate’ or ‘competitive job market’ one more time, I’m going to strip naked and run around quacking like a duck. I’m not sure what it will achieve, but it’s happening.

The babyboomers insisted we had it good – so good we “didn’t know we were born” – and promised if we did our exams and got a degree and paid for our Masters, we’d get jobs, houses, cats, and ulcers.

Unfortunately, 40 per cent of the population had the same idea and now we’re all queuing up for the same ride.

“It’s not personal”

Of course it’s not personal. We’re not even personally addressed on the rare occasions we get a response.

It can seem like our main contribution to society is being statistics – one of the 500 applicants, one of the 993,000 unemployed youngsters, one of the 3 out of ten who feel their job prospects are permanently damaged by the recession. So how do we keep our chins up?

How to be jobless…and motivated

Chin placement

Received wisdom says one should keep one’s chin up in trying times. However, received wisdom can’t even make its mind up about whether eggs are good or bad, so received wisdom can just eat me.

Chin down, everyone! Right down. Stick your entire face in a pile of dirty laundry. It doesn’t even have to be your own. Smiling all the way through a job hunt could turn you into one of those people who breaks down, stabs the biscuits in Sainsbury’s and tuts on the tube.

Wallow in self-pity, just until you bore yourself; then return your chin to the elevated position.

Side project

Writing cover letters and tailoring your CV to job after job can send you a bit POTATO CAKES BANANA HEAD crazy. Start a side project – a blog, a website, an exposé on the Sainsbury’s biscuit stabber…

It will keep you occupied. It will keep your journalistic skills sharp. It will show employers you’re entrepreneurial and passionate – when you couldn’t find work, you made it.

Looking for work is work, so demand perks

Google “how to stay motivated during your job search” and you’ll find bloggers saying, “Looking for work is a full time job, so get up and get dressed as if you’re going to work. You’ll be more productive and in the professional mind-set.” These blogs are written by bastards. Bastards with yoghurt for brains. Get up at 8am and wear a tie just to scroll through Gorkana? Testicles to that. Testicle festivals. You’re not getting paid, you don’t get vacation days, no one brings Krispy Kremes or offers you tea 37 times a day…sleeping in and wearing pyjamas are the only perks of this “job”.

I’m not saying snooze until lunch, watch Jeremy Kyle, eat everything in the cupboards in bizarre combinations and pass out moaning in the same spot you woke up in. Not every day.

I’m saying sleep in just a little bit longer than The Employed. Set the alarm for 09:31, and get up as if you’ve got your inheritance coming. Sing Mamma Mia as you check your emails. Do a roly-poly, it’s been years.

Then, apply for jobs until you can clock off after The Employed are home, have watched Come Dine With Me, eaten everything in the cupboards and passed out moaning in the same spot they woke up in.

Top 3 places to jobhunt

1) Twitter; lots of media companies advertise positions on Twitter. If you’re an emotional cutter it’s always fun to search for someone tweeting their joy at getting the job you applied for, and never got a response for, even though you totally nailed the interview and THAT PERSON HAS A STUPID FACE AND HIS BIO TOTALLY ISN’T FUNNY.

2) Guardian jobs; because having the word ‘Guardian’ on the screen feels like someone’s looking out for you.

3) Your friends’ offices. Seriously. Nepotism is still more powerful than any CV. So hold onto your friends and be nice to them. Be the kind of person people wouldn’t mind seeing across a desk. Also, maybe don’t start a blog that makes you Mr or Ms Unemployed.

Or if you do, keep your identity a secret.

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