why don’t you do something?

This post is not about how much I think Britney Spears is a GENIUS-actually, hold on, let’s make it a little about that.  Talk about a career chameleon.  Even when the woman was walking around shoeless in public restrooms with the worst extensions I’ve ever seen on a human we couldn’t get enough. No one ever doubted she’d make a comeback, and she herself, even in the face of the death of a career, never stopped trying to claw her way back to the top. Unintentional lesson to be learned here? Even when things look grim, even if you’ve shaved your whole head in a fit of anxiety about (employers) apparent lack of interest in your antics (read: resume), keep your head up, things will get better.

To return to the original direction of this post- “Why don’t you do something?” One of the most important things you can do while unemployed is, quite literally, SOMETHING. I’m well aware that the many components of job searching occupy a great deal of time and energy, but there are always a few extra hours in the day. Aside from never wanting to answer a potential employer’s question, “So what have you been doing since graduation/your last job/etc.?” with a long pause implying, “Are you serious? Trying to get a job”- there are plenty of reasons to keep yourself occupied and productive during unemployment.

1. By seeking out opportunities to be productive you might actually produce something that will get you a job, and at the very least you’re doing something worth talking about.  You want to write for The New Yorker? Why not to write for your local newspaper? Start with a series of op-eds, ask for assignments, maybe eventually you’ll get a column.  These local small papers are generally not shining examples of journalism, but if your work is worth something it will be noticed, no matter the venue.  Lesson here? You have to start small, even while you’re aiming big. 

2. Maybe the hobby, internship or part-time job you’ve taken on will expose new areas of interest for you, or provide you with a useful contact in the industry you’re trying to break into.  You want to create ad campaigns for national companies? Check out that new yogurt shop that opened down the street and offer to create a logo for them, or a short for their website. Do something to utilize the talents you have, even if that ‘something’ isn’t earning you what you deserve.

The primary goal of doing something that is less than your dream career while you’re searching for it is not making money, but rather creating opportunity for yourself. An object in motion remains in motion, am I right? The world has more than enough opportunity for bright, creative, and motivated individuals, so while you’re staring out at your ‘green light’ across the water (Gatsby, anyone?) you may as well be putting yourself out there.  After all, yesterday I watched a man spell “married” “marryed” three times after I had corrected him.  Someone, soon, will recognize that you have something special to offer, but why not make their search for you a little easier by getting out and putting your work on the line? What do you have to lose?

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