What do you do?
This is a question we are all acquainted with. Jobs come with labels and labels create a perceived form of identity. Most of us don’t know who we are but ask ‘what we do’ and you will get answers.
We seem to have our identity tied up in what we do.
This is why becoming unemployed can be a devastating blow. Our economy is so uncertain and at any moment you might be struck by unemployment. How do you deal with it?
Unemployment simply means that there are no jobs. Jobs are tasks that one can engage in to create value that can be paid for or not paid for.
In that sentence joblessness and unemployment mean the same thing. This may put you in a position where you cannot fit within structured job environments (organisations/companies) because they do not have a vacancy for you but that is not the same thing as saying there is no need for your skills in the market. It just means that opportunities within existing organisations do not exist.
Say Hello to self-employment…
For instance, just because that supermarket in your neighborhood has no vacancy for a digital specialist does not mean that they do not need you as a young person who understands online spaces and marketing and how they can leverage it for profitability and growth.
The informal sector has openings for those who would leverage themselves and add value to in one way or the other to society.
Whether you are wired for entrepreneurship or not, with the rapid evolution in technology we need a mind shift and look at our employers as clients we offer a service/ add value.
I became unemployed last year when I left my job soon after campus and for a while it seemed like I had lost my identity as well. I was no longer referred as a journalist, there was no more ‘meet our reporter’ or “he’s a writer/journalist at company or organization x”.
It was my identity. People identified me by the position I held and I had lost it. I was lost.
I am currently employed but I found out that the being unemployed didn’t leave me jobless as our culture makes us believe.
The following are suggestions to keep you afloat when Unemployment strikes:
Keep evolving, keep changing
Being unemployed may be a wakeup call that the economy has changed and is evolving. New opportunities to earn money are created in the market. There are jobs or positions that we will keep losing due to new competition in the name of Artificial intelligence.
You have to change how you see yourself or how you define your profession. The accountants, marketers, sales managers etc duties today won’t be the same tomorrow if we don’t change how we define what we do or who we are. Reflect on the viability of your career going forward otherwise you risk being unemployed in future.
ACT NOW , Do something:
If there is one thing we need to divorce- its procrastination. There is no ideal time for you to act. Being unemployed doesn’t take away the fact that bills will still be knocking at your door. You have to make ends meet.
Take small steps leading you into the path of employment or self-employment.
For example, I used to wake up, send emails, attended conferences, connected with friends and kept in touch with my potential employers. Don’t sit back to sleep all day long. Get off your bum!
When you are not earning you should be learning.
Its time for building. Skillset , new ideas, bases for future things.
As source of cash inflow, and way of honing your skills. Plus it’s a job. I know of friends who decided to quit the usual 8am-5pm jobs to delve into freelancing, some as Twitter and Facebook influencers and they are making money from that.
This is one of the things that give you a sense of usefulness and importance. Hence boostingyour esteem while contributing to the life of others. For my case, Draw A Smile Uganda did that for me and I still volunteer here because I found a family away from home. It is also a good Networking platform so don’t trash that volunteering opportunity because you need a paying job. No!
Tarmac/ Hit the road.
Make job searching your job.