How I Talk Myself Down: An Unemployment Checklist

Ovid Quote
Ovid is my homeboy.

There comes a time in every job search when you start awakening with a start in the middle of the night, covered in a sheen of sweat and vague recollections of a nightmare about working at Starbucks and maybe at some point you were bottle-feeding a kitten that morphs into a baby piglet. This time usually coincides with the last few weeks of your unemployment checks, right around the time you're cataloguing every mistake you made looking for freelance work during the past seven months and my God, why didn't you apply for all the jobs, just to be safe?

Gentle hints from loved ones about maybe getting a full-time job and freelancing on the side will also start making you reach for the Xanax you don't take because you're an alcoholic and as such have forfeited every privilege involving anxiety relief except for yoga, and let's face it, yoga is a bunch of bullshit when you're contemplating admitting you're a failure because you're nothing if not dramatic when you're panicking. Also, you're conveniently sick, so physical activity of any kind is strictly out of the question.

Never fear, reader, because I have a fail-safe plan for talking yourself down from the recurrent thoughts of how to instigate your own death and make it look like an accident.

Take twenty deep breaths and slow exhales. For reals. Then, remember these truths:

  • You are not going to die from unemployment
  • There are worse things than working as a barista at 29 31
  • You're not in rehab
  • You're also not drunk, so go you!
  • Praying makes you feel better, so go do that for a while
  • Music makes you feel better, too. Put together a playlist that makes you insanely happy, the songs that make you feel like you can do anything. Even if that list includes Katy Perry, no one is judging you (and if they are, well then fuck them). You're trying to save your ass while minimizing the frequency of panic attacks, and if that means bubble gum pop music that offends your snooty musical preferences, then shut up and stop being a neurotic priss about it.
  • You are not going to die from doing stuff you may not want to do. This includes reformatting your resume for the eleventieth time and perhaps squeezing back into your business casual slacks for more nine-to-five. You may hate it, but you won't die. Maybe you'll even collect a good story about which you'll write your first bestseller, because deep down beneath all the cruddy crud you're secretly an optimist disguised in a dark swathe of irony.
  • You have already lost everything once in your life; if you had to, you could do it again.
  • You are the queen of your own life, so start acting like it

Perspective, bitches. That's what this is about. When you're about to throw in the towel and indulge in a nervous breakdown, remind yourself that nervous breakdowns are a luxury working class stiffs cannot afford. You should know, you had several during your twenties and each time you had to wipe your tears, tie on that green apron and go make the rich ladies lattes from four in the morning until nine am.

Remember, you've done harder things than this. You're made of strong stuff. You've got this.

Now do this twenty times a day, or however many times it takes for you to not freak the fuck out.

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