What’s A College Grad To Do When The Creative, ‘Funemployed’ Life Isn’t Fun Anymore

visokdesign / www.twenty20.com/photos/ced6557b-5d3b-420b-b2b5-1656569ca27d
visokdesign / www.twenty20.com/photos/ced6557b-5d3b-420b-b2b5-1656569ca27d

We’ve all been there – a fresh graduate with no experience besides our internship, but oh so eager to explore the real world (as what adults would say back then). Some of us may have jobs waiting even before graduation, which is a relief. But for most people, they’re only left with two options: to enjoy the funemployed life, or to start job hunting.

As for me, I did the former. All I wanted back then was to rest for a while, appreciate life, and experience what it feels like to be out of college. I felt so free for the first time in years. I had nothing to worry about anymore, because I was done. I did what I was told – to finish my studies before anything else. There were no more rules, and I was finally on my own.

Little did I know that such decision was a huge risk on my part.

I remember starting to apply back in January of this year. Nothing serious, probably just sent out 2 emails here and there – hoping I’d get responses out of them. I’d like to think it was all too casual, but still professional. After a week of waiting, I decided to try job portals. Just maybe, I would have better chances there. After all, it’s like flipping through the classified ads of a newspaper – but a bit easier and hassle-free. So like a real adult, I did the nitty-gritty of finding a job.

To my luck, there were two – out of the 6 applications I sent.

I attended my first job interview, and it was nerve-wracking. Imagine having sweaty palms (but I rarely sweat), heart palpitations, feelings of panic and uneasiness – I experienced them all. With every step I made that day, came more negative thoughts. I get so anxious whenever I think about interviews, especially when there is a necessity to impress the potential employer.

At the end of that day, (not to mention after many hours of waiting) I was able to breathe and pat myself on the back. Anyway, I did my best no matter how awful I could’ve been back there. The whole experience made me reflect on how job interviews aren’t that scary at all. You just need to prepare well and pace yourself. As what people would say, dress up like you want the job. Plus don’t forget to show up on time – because nobody likes latecomers, especially in the corporate world.

Come March and April, I pretty much decided to continue seeking for a job while freelancing. I couldn’t just sit down and wait for the results (of my first interview) – so I sent 10 more applications.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being a photographer so much that I decided to take it up back in college, but it’s not enough at this point. Most people find it so brave for creatives to pursue their passion – to give up their day jobs, leave the 9 to 5 lifestyle to be their own boss. It’s what some call living the dream, as what most articles would tell us. I guess I’m not ready for such yet, but hey I’m not closing my doors. In the future, I probably will live and breathe photography – but not anytime soon.

It was already May when I felt that pressure, internally. It was all sinking in – I was still jobless. There were days wherein I would wake up on the wrong side of the bed. I felt devastated, maybe even on the brink of depression. I would repeatedly blame no one else but myself, for taking such a major – with no other career options in mind. However, there were also moments that I was optimistic about this whole search of what I really wanted to do in life. Maybe I was meant to go back to school? Take up another undergraduate degree?

7 more applications, 1 missed interview, and 1 declined offer.

I had to seriously do something already. I was slowly losing my sanity, not to mention isolating myself from people. It was halfway through the year that I asked myself, “What do you do when funemployed life isn’t fun anymore?”

Most likely, send in 36 more applications and expect half of it are nothing but rejection emails.

It’s almost July 11th, a year since I was officially unemployed by choice then by force. The whole introspection did more good than bad though. I was able to really figure out things, set priorities straight, and become more specific with my goals.

I was struggling for sometime, but I managed to pull through. It’s because I did not give up, even when I felt that the universe was already against me. No matter how much I disliked my situation then, I had no choice but to persevere. The only way out was to improve and work harder.

If I gave up then, I wouldn’t be where I am now – with a much better version of myself, and hopefully a career that I love. TC mark

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