Being a librarian has its perks, y’all. Working with books every day, getting people excited about becoming forever learners, thinkers and doers, working with books every day, making a difference in the lives of your students/patrons, working with books every day, the opportunity to work with some amazing people, and of course, getting to work with books every. damned. day. That being said however, it does have its drawbacks. A few which include tight budget constraints, strict funding and job security.
The former has made my heart so incredibly full, my life mucho happy. The latter on the other hand have made me something of an expert on the field of staring unemployment in the face like it’s the Reaping, and I, as Katniss Everdeen, have to somehow survive almost sudden death in the Arena of the Crappy Economy and No Jobs. While I’ve always been fortunate enough to find another job, it never becomes any more fun to embark on the risky endeavor of networking your ass off until you find something, anything, to help pay the bills. And not only that, but find a job that makes your heart smile, a job that you’re good at, a job that you’re excited to wake up in the early AMs every morning and go to. But first, before you ride into battle, you have to prepare for war.
The following is a list of suggested activities in which one can partake so that the first 24-48 hours (or in my case, three weeks) of impending unemployment don’t feel as unproductive as a “Holy chocolate-covered potato chips, Batman! I’M UNEMPLOYED?!?!” pity party.
- Mentally plan for the worst case scenarios first. How much could you make by selling your Brewers collector bobbleheads on Ebay? What if you sublet your bedroom and just slept on your own couch? Would your parents agree to “bankroll your groovy lifestyle” and therefore be awesome in your eyes even though, let’s face it, they probably want you moving back home with them as much as you want to move back home with them?
- Stare into the fridge as if you will never see it this full ever again. Good bye, six dollar bag of organic Kale salad greens potato chips from Whole Foods. It was nice knowing you, leftover Magnolia cupcake from that one time you decided to show moderation and only have half a cupcake. Soon, take-out containers and greasy bags of drunken pizza cravings will be a thing of the past because you are Unemployed and thus cannot afford to eat more than canned chicken-noodle soup with a side of misery.
- Eat other half of the Magnolia cupcake. Decide if you’re going to be poor, you’d better get as many calories in you now before you have to revert to living off of your own body mass. Debate going to get another cupcake, because one half really is never satisfying, like ever.
- Call your parents and let them know you’re out of a job because hey, it’ll make them feel appreciated and wanted and if you do have to beg them to pay for everything, at least this will give them prior notice. They, in turn, will console their baby — because you are still their baby, after all — and while you, blubbering and telling them that you’re “Trying To Make It Work!” and “You’ve got Prospects!” and “Ideas!” as to where to find a new job, might actually feel a sense of comfort you haven’t had since your favorite blankie was finally donated to the rag heap in the sky.
- Have pity party anyway. Dance around to some Hall and Oates and rock the ish out of said pity party. Invite some friends. And tequila. Just all of the tequila.
- Reconnect with anyone you might have ever known who could help you get a job. Become one of Those People who asks how somebody is only to follow it up with a “SO THIS IS WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR ME!” kind of remark. Don’t they want good karma? Won’t helping you find a job make them feel like a good person? Also, you should size up everyone on the street as to whether they work at a company that might employ you, or could possibly employ you themselves. Debate striking up conversation, because it’ll show you’re gutsy and outgoing and a go-getter! (Isn’t that what companies want from their employees, anyhow?)
- Update about it on Facebook and Twitter, because this is Reality and when you’ve got a cushy job with severance and slash or tenure 15 years later, you’d like to scroll down your timeline and remember those quaint days when you weren’t sure how you were going to make rent or pay your Spotify bill. Also, go through Twitter and rabidly delete any content a future employer might find unsatisfactory. Yes, even that 140-character rant you crafted on last Tuesday morning’s commute about how that bacon and egg sandwich from the street cart is going to eff you up so good.
- Break down your monthly expenses on a microscopic scale. Budget $40 a week for food, if you really make an effort to cook everything — and by “cook,” I mean, make half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for each meal. Call up your cell phone provider and explain that because you’re losing your job, you need a discount or even a free month of unlimited service because how else are you supposed to find a job (or play Words with Friends in your first few days of unemployment and doing less than nothing) if you can’t put a phone number on the top of your resume?
- Rationalize that you’ve worked really hard for a long time, so maybe a few weeks to yourself will be a good thing. You can mentally decompress. You can go to the gym you’re too busy to use, and you’ll impress your interviewers with a newly chiseled physique, wrought from the combination of making the gym your new place of pro bono employment and following the Too Broke To Really Eat diet plan.
- Watch too much television with characters that have jobs they constantly bungle, and wish life were that glossy. Because it’s not. Instead, you gloss up your resume a little, make sure your one blazer is lint-free, and take your risks with LinkedIn even though those emails reminding you to add Tommy with whom you worked on one project in Ethics class back in college to your contacts have driven you batty ever since you both graduated. And then you buy a cupcake. Because if you’re going to hoof it all over and be friendly and polite during your interviews, it’s probably a good idea to avoid being hangry while doing so.
These are all great tips to employ (pun intended) in your current state of pending joblessness, but probably the most important thing you can do during this suckier than a vacuum time my friends, is to never, ever never ever give up. Ever. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my time in the Arena, it’s that it’s okay to get frustrated, it’s okay to be scared and nervous, but you can’t lose that hope. You can’t take rejection as an end-all, be-all. Learn from every application, every interview, every time you came so close but weren’t close enough and use that as motivation. You’ve got this. You’ve totally and 110.9999784% got this.
And always, always eat the full cupcake.