Chap. 32: How to stay motivated and happy when you’re unemployed

We’ve all been there. That transition period between one job to another. Sometimes it’s smooth and anxiety-free. Other times, though, you have to deal with that time hump where you’re neither at destination A nor at destination B. What I’m talking about is the long (almost eternal feeling) period of time when you’re unemployed.

Almost everything gets questioned during this time. From your education choice to your upbringing to your very existence, you lose sight of who you are and what you want in life.

It’s a very dangerous rut to get caught in. You can easily fall into the trap of endless negative thinking. You might even lose hope and wonder if there’s a point to your life.

However, the time of unemployment doesn’t have to take the downward spiral path. It can be a growth period full of motivation, happiness and even excitement!

Here are some ways to make the best of this transition period:

1) Set a quota

Finding jobs is like working full-time. It takes up so much time and it can feel like it will never end. While you’re unemployed, you tend to be conflicted between trying to search for some source of income and taking the time to relax while you have the chance to.

This is where setting a quota comes into play. Instead of desperately spending each waking second looking and applying for jobs, which is extremely draining to say the least, decide how many you want to try for in one day. For example, when I was unemployed, I had a tendency to spend every moment trying to get a job lined up for me. Then I realized that I rarely slept well and I became very depressed. So I told myself everyday that I would only send my resumé and/or cover letter to three jobs. After that’s done, I could do whatever I wanted.

2) Make a schedule of all the things you CAN do

The biggest challenge when being unemployed is having to orient yourself around not having a set schedule with deadlines and responsibilities. Listing three things you can do that revolves around either hobby or skill building each day will not only give you a sense of organized well-being but will also allow you to improve on yourself. Then when you get the opportunity to interview with a potential employer, you will have a proud response to, “what have you been doing during all this time?”

3) Surround yourself with positive notes and people

To ensure that you don’t get stuck in a whirlwind of negative energy, especially if you’ve been on a positive streak for awhile, you need to be around uplifting notes and people. Whether it’s talking to your friends, your old boss (if you’re close), your family, or simply strangers, as long as they’re positive you will feel a lot better about your situation.

Before I got my current job, I remember 30 minutes before my interview I went for a walk around the neighbourhood. I took a seat on a bench in front of Superfood Market. People walked past me and gave me a strange look as it wasn’t a street where anyone sat down to admire the view. All the view could offer was an architectural firm and a small clothing boutique. I felt tired. Exhausted. I wanted to give up. I had spent months looking for employment and I felt like a huge failure. Then a man’s voice broke me out of my reverie. I turned my head to the right and I saw this man in a casual t-shirt and shorts asking me if I had change for a Gatorade. I pulled out my wallet and started rummaging through my change pocket. He started telling me about how he was broke. And I replied, “me too.” Then he continued saying he’s been out of work for two months now and that he had been working all his life. I answered again with a small laugh, “me too. I actually have an interview in like 20 minutes and I really hope I get it. I just want to get started on something.” I gave him a toonie. He looked at it, then at me and said, “You know what, I’m not trying to say that by giving me this money that you will get this job. But I’m a firm believer of paying it forward. I really hope you get this job man. Thanks so much and good luck!” I wished him best of luck as well. After that quick exchange I had with him, I felt more confident like I had the energy back to try again. I did the interview and got the job. It is truly strange how the universe operates sometimes!

4) Exercise

Don’t become that stereotypical unemployed person who lies there and sulks. With the time that you’re blessed with, go and work that body of yours! Whether it’s strengthening up, getting some cardio down, or simply doing some calming yoga, you will do your body a lot of good. In fact, you can give yourself the right building blocks to be productive and happy! Besides, you want to look like you take care of yourself when you go for that interview 😉

5) Learn something new

Ever wished you had time to learn a new language? Or read a book that has been on your reading list for awhile now? Well this is the perfect time! Of course this takes discipline and passion. Find your motivation and use that as a sort of reminder for why you decided to educate yourself on something new. It can be because you want to experience a new culture, or you want to learn how to run a business, or you want to have some bonus points to add to your resumé. Either way, you’re doing wonders to yourself both on a mental point of view and a career point of view.

6) Network and volunteer to get some form of positive feedback

It is really frustrating to say the least when employers just don’t get back to you, even to tell you that the position you were interested in has been taken. It’s very discouraging. I remember sometimes writing an article on how it can be at least good courtesy for hiring managers to at least tell the applicant (who had been interviewed) that they weren’t accepted. While they’re at it, tell them what their good and bad points are. Then they can improve! But I get it, companies interview large quantities of people and just don’t have time for it. Maybe in an ideal world…

With this constant negative or lack of feedback, you need something that will help you feel important again. Join volunteer organizations and go to networking events to meet new people and take action for a certain cause. You are bound to have someone answering your questions and thanking you for the amazing service you offered them. This positive feedback will fuel your energy and give you the excitement to keep talking and reaching out. If you’re lucky, you will meet someone who happens to be hiring and really thinks you would be a good addition to their team!


So for those of you going through this period, don’t worry you’re not alone. And this time can actually be a very enlightening one. It really all depends on how you use it.

Don’t lose hope!! You’re right where you need to be. It is perhaps the higher power giving you a chance to understand more about yourself. You never know what you might discover!

May your life be filled with endless unicorn love and greatness! ❤



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