Things I wish I Had Done When I Was Unemployed

Last year I moved to New York with only a dream for success and two suitcases.  I didn’t have a job lined up, or even any interviews to go to. I just kind of hopped on the plane and hoped for the best.

Well, it took a long time to get to the best. Almost a year to be specific. So what did I do until I became a full-time wage slave?  Not nearly as much as I should have. Sure, I worked a lot of odd jobs (telemarketer, waitress, temp), but I was not as constructive with my free time as I could have been.

I wish I’d had a little more fun, and worried a little less.  It wasn’t until much later that I learned taking the time to enjoy some activities that make you feel good about yourself and what you are doing with your time is a good thing. Here is what I wish I had done with my time:

Updated my skills by taking a class.
When money is tight I know it can seem like you shouldn’t spend it on anything that is not necessary(food, shelter, new underwear), but I would argue that taking a class to update your skills is a splurge of the good variety.

Learned something totally new  from a book or an online guru.
There are so many free resources available if you really search for them. These day you learn a variety of things without even leaving your bedroom. Want to know how to whip up roast chicken?  The One Pot Chef teaches you how. Or perhaps you want to learn web design-there are resources galore for that too.

Explored my city
I moved to NYC during the winter, so I really only got out when I needed too, but when it started to get warmer I wish I had gone out and wandered around more. I still haven’t been to the Bronx Zoo! Sure you need to spend a significant amount of time on your job search, but being a shut in isn’t healthy. Go outside and discover new things about the place you live.

Catch up on the classics.
Can you believe I have never read Romeo and Juliet? I know, I know, how did I bypass this one? Everyone has a list of books they have been meaning to read. Now is the perfect time!

And what I wish I had done most of all….

Spent more time celebrating me
It’s easy to start feeling  “woe is me” when you are unemployed. Even the strongest of job searchers have their bad days. When those moments strike, it’s okay to be upset. But it is also okay to seek out an activity you really enjoy. Dancing is my anti-drug.

Any ideas? Please share!

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  1. #1 by jessJ on October 15, 2010 - 6:51 pm

    When I was unemployed a little over a year ago, I wish I’d spent less time worrying too. Somehow we always make it, right? I did a LOT of networking and odd jobs and discovering my city, I wish once I got a job I’d kept it all up though.

    • #2 by amberinnyc on October 15, 2010 - 9:44 pm

      Hindsight is always 20/20 eh? I too wish I kept up with all of my networking once I got a job. But it’s never too late to get back into the habit, right?

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