Much like a first-time mother who swore she’d never use television as a babysitter and then discovered the glorious slice of peace that Sesame Street can provide, I had so many illusions of what it meant to be a gainfully employed, generally successful person. As such, I had an equal number of illusions of what it meant to be out of work.
All of my assumptions were wrong.
Employed Me vs. Non-Employed Me: A Comparison
Past me: If you need a job, you just have to work really hard every day. If you are not finding success, you aren’t trying hard enough.
Present me: Dear past me: you are an asshole. I’m trying harder than I’ve ever tried at anything. I’m trying all of the things. I’m applying for all of the jobs, I’m InMailing all of the hiring managers, I’m Tweeting, I’m resume-tweaking, I’m cover-letter-writing. And I am finding no success. Unemployed does not equal lazy.
Past me: Get educated! The best way to ensure that you become and continue to be successful is to get a good education. With advanced degrees, all things are possible! Yay education!
Present me: Aww. That’s cute. You thought your masters degree would help you? Ha! Stupid girl. You’d think you’d know better, educated as you are. Dumbass.
Past me: When applying for a new job, you should aim high. After all, a job that you are totally qualified for will become boring quickly.
Present me: Any. Job. Will. Do. Would you like fries with that?
Past me: When you are not working, you do not deserve any nice things. You didn’t earn them.
Present me: I just really want a haircut that I didn’t give myself.
Past me: If you are not working, it is because you did something wrong slash generally failed at life.
Present me: Really shitty things happen to really good people. Hard work doesn’t always pay off. And more often than not, it has nothing to do with you, your work ethic, your skills, your experience, your education, or your will to kick ass.