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Lived Experiences / Maisha ya kila siku,  Maisha ya kitaa /Career Guide / Life after College

Lessons from unemployment

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I remember on the day of my graduation thinking how I was gonna conquer the world, how I was gonna start earning millions after being used to student loan money never did it cross my mind that I was gonna be broke begging mom for money to buy my essential needs.

It never crossed my mind that unemployment is real, that I am going to join the struggle of many youth in my country, in the world who are looking for employment.

I thought I was different, I’m different but maybe the real world doesn’t care.

So I spent sometime depressed and having suicidal thoughts when finding employment wasn’t as easy as I expected it to be, I spent sometime hating on my friends who got jobs, separating myself from the world, crying myself to sleep, uncertain and lost.

Being unemployed is hard, sometimes I don’t even know why.

Is it because you are broke?

Or you don’t have what the money provides?

Is it because of living with your parents while you are yearning for independence?

Is it because your friends are ‘being grown ups’ now and you are still living in your bedroom?

Is it because years are going by and you are achieving nothing?

Is it because you feel like your dreams are dying right in front of you?

Is it because you feel like you are late, your life hasn’t started yet?

Is it the society pressure where the whole world is waiting for you to get a job because that’s the next thing for you to do, or when you think you might be a dissapointment to your family but they can’t tell you that you are?

Or is it all of the above, weighing you down at the same time?

For me, some days it was all of the above.. Weighing me down at the same time.

I read a book called Life After College, and one of the things the author shared is how important it is for someone to have values before they enter the job industry, it was then that I decided to spend that time not only actively seeking employment but also working on myself, learning what lessons was that season teaching me, using that time for the better.

And these are some life lessons that I learned during my unemployment season:

Create your own life values

It’s easy to be one person in university and change completely when you get a job, creating values to live by helps guide your decisions even in the job market.

We think of employment as us needing the job because we need the money, but we forget to ask ourselves if we really do need that job, because life is more than just the money you make, are you fulfilled? is it a safe working environment? And so many other things can come into play.

When you have values, you think of a job as them needing you too, because you bring value to them.

– How to deal with Rejection

I always talk about this on my Instagram, I always advice people not to read emails in the morning especially when you are unemployed. Because if you read a rejection email in the morning, your whole day is destroyed. At least for me that was the case.

During that season, I learned to know that they rejected working with me (professionally), they didn’t reject me as a person. They don’t know me, and so I shouldn’t take it personally.

It was so hard at first but then later on I developed a ‘thick skin’, now I even respond to rejection email in an attempt to appear professional 🤣🤣🤣

– How to define success in your own terms

No other time do you have to spend with yourself than this, all your friends are either working or broke like you so you don’t go out much with them like in college, so then think.

What does success mean to you?

What will be enough for you?

What brings you happiness?

What are you looking for out of life? Out of a job?

What motivates you? And it shouldn’t be money please.

Deep, I know🤣🤣🤣 but you need to ask yourself these questions.

– Know that God takes care of you

God provides for us. He brings friends, family and strangers who hold us down during difficult times.

During unemployment never think that God is not working because He is, spend time noticing how He is.

And if you get money /employed/time make sure you are also God’s hands and feet to your friends who are unemployed or in need. Hold them down too. In this season, ask yourself how can you be of help to someone else?

Also it’s amazing how in our generation we get our value from what we do, our jobs are our identities.

And that’s why being unemployed is a big blow because your identity is crushed, questioned and unknown. You feel like you don’t have a purpose. So use this time to build your identity in who you are as a person, not in what you do or own.

– Life is uncertain and it comes in phases

Remember how I was certain in how I was gonna conquer the world, well life is uncertain. Life also comes in phases, in seasons. As much as this season is hard, it’s gonna end… Let me learn what I have to, so that I can use the lessons in the next season.

What have you learned when you were unemployed?



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