student life

Resolutions to help lose the unemployment blues

This January it was only too easy to make New Year’s resolutions: get a job, move out, and fully seize independent adult life.

This January it was only too easy to make New Year’s resolutions: get a job, move out, and fully seize independent adult life. But these resolutions reveal my current driven state of mind, one projected away from this year into what I want to achieve by the end of it—a teasing vision, perhaps inviting disappointment. 

Crucially they are about what I want to attain, not enjoy. Let’s pause. Add a new one: to be cheerful. To stop fantasising about the future, living vicariously through a better, older, yet-to-be self, and, instead, still make those applications, pursue those contacts, but appreciate the time in-between.

The chance to be kind. How often do you get that? To focus on others when you’re not so caught up in a 9-5 ‘you’, followed by the rush-hour ‘you’ and then the evening post-work recovery. Yes, we (hopefully) think of ourselves as good people, but there’s bound to be room for improvement—maybe the state of unemployment is that room. 

A problem with my generation of the educated unemployed is that we feel entitled to success. Time and money have been invested in us, we are cautiously aware we are good enough, and yet here we are slowly getting addicted to daytime TV. 

It frustrates me immensely that dynamic young people across the country are left without an outlet—festering at home, becoming insomniacs, depressive, without even the money to go to the gym and work off some of the disappointment. 

Yet all over the globe, there are millions of parallel lives – young people just as smart, just as capable, never once offered the chances of education, success, hope. To push yourself and aspire for a better life should never be disparaged, but maybe the negativity accompanying a sense of entitlement is what we need to drop.

Forget the all-inclusive sparkling gym package: let’s kick on the trainers and go for a run.

I’m bored of the stereotype: instead of the over-grown, family-coddled ‘Harry Potter generation.’ Perhaps we should reinvent ourselves as the age of young philosophers. Forced into a position to watch, critique, and, crucially, enjoy the world around us. 

We’ve taken down the Christmas decorations, now it’s time to de-clutter the mind. Instead of incessantly combing the news and job websites till your brain melts into a twittering wreck. Stop, look around you. 

‘Happiness is like a butterfly that if pursued is always just beyond our reach, but if we sit patiently, may alight upon us.’
Nathaniel Hawthorne

I write this short piece to remind myself more than anyone else about these things. It can be so hard to stay present and value each unique day when you spend most of it in futile job hunts searching for a future that remains tantalisingly elusive. Your mind becomes a bundle of frenetic activity, pirouetting off into the beckoning ‘New Year’ prairie. That is why I will focus on five tangible resolutions, not grandiose ones for that mostly-beguiling, sometimes-imposing year ahead, but ones I will try to apply for the New Week. 

And of course, should that job of dreams descend, or whether you are older and unemployed, or safely installed in a job, I hope this attitude will still be useful. 

My New Week’s Resolutions:

1. Learn to cook a new delicious meal. 

2. Fix my neglected bike and go for a country ride.

3. Visit my grandparents and learn from them.

4. Read a brilliant novel.

5. Try to send out a good thought to everyone I meet or think of.

I am resolved … and it feels good.

What are some techniques you use to keep calm and carry on? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.