The work-and-seeking-work-life balance

February 21, 2012 § 5 Comments

In my last post, I talked about the sheer amount of time it takes to be an unemployed graduate. Unpaid internships in the day, followed by ruthless job hunting at night. With tailored job applications sometimes taking over an hour to write, it seems that having both a job, and a lack of job, has taken over my life! I used to read, I used to shop,  I used to update my blog more regularly than once a month! So… is it possible to find a work-and-seeking-work-life balance?

I’ve decided to use Lent to give it a try. People have suggested giving up my daily Diet Coke habit but I’ve decided it’s much more positive to start doing things again instead. Why give up yet another thing I love to do? So over the next few weeks, I’m going to forget applying to jobs and start living life again. A Saturday afternoon curled up on my sofa with the latest Lionel Shriver book is definitely a better use of my time. Catching up on the latest episodes of Gossip Girl and One Born Every Minute is, perhaps, slightly less justifiable.

I think that word there is the crux of the matter. Justifiable. Needing to justify my every action. Not to anyone in particular, but just to myself. After all, can I afford to sit for an hour and watch my favourite TV programme? What’s that adding to my CV? How will that help me get a job? It’s time to find some perspective and realise that we can’t be super-human and that it’s impossible to work 25 hours a day. Searching for jobs in today’s job market is a dismal thing, full of rejection, confusion and is ultimately soul-destroying. But if we’re not careful, we can become consumed by it and lose ourselves in the process.

After all, I am not just an organised, self-motivated, creative team player even if that is what job applications would have me condense myself to. No, I am a girl who loves reading excessively long and complicated novels, baking my amazing Celebration brownies and going out shopping with my mum, buying things I don’t need and can’t realistically afford. And that’s okay. It doesn’t make me a bad decision maker (although maybe I should try to stop spending all this make-believe money) and it doesn’t make me any less qualified for the jobs I’m applying for. It makes me an actual person. And probably a happier one at that.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to spend some quality time with me, rediscovering the things I love. Maybe I’ll go back to that Hula Aerobics class. Or maybe I’ll take my camera out for its first proper outing on home soil. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll have a quiet evening in, cookie dough by the sofa and a box set of Gossip Girl at my feet.

So will you be giving up bad habits or taking up new ones this Lent?

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§ 5 Responses to The work-and-seeking-work-life balance

  • Randy Pena says:

    I discovered your homepage by coincidence.
    Very interesting posts and well written.
    I will put your site on my blogroll. :-)

  • Mados says:

    Over the next few weeks, I’m going to spend some quality time with me, rediscovering the things I love.

    Job search is the most depressing activity I know, especially when it doesn’t lead to positive results.

    I spent months last year writing job applications and attending a few job interviews. I stopped because it was depressing and fruitless, so I decided to spend time on all the things I like to do and be more motivated and clear on strengths and deficits before resuming job search. To stop reading job ads and wasting time on empty, fruitless job applications helped me get back on my feet and feel more productive again. However, it didn’t help me get a job! An ongoing dilemma.

    • jennabirks says:

      Completely relate! Sometimes responding to job ads is a waste of time. Much better to spend the time actively seeking the jobs you want, networking, gaining work experience or working freelance. Good luck with your search!

      • Mados says:

        Thank you Jenna, that sounds like good advice. In my case I don’t know which job I want (can’t think of any job title that sounds approachable) and offline networking is not so easy in my case, so what I go with is: ‘gain work experience by working freelance’…

        I find that to write a blog to reflect and work towards solutions is highly motivating and developing… both through writing it and through networking and communicating online and learning what others do and how they cope with the obstacles they face.

        You blog seems to be determinately targeted towards finding a job and conveys the impression of a job ready, well articulate and highly motivated person. I think it will help you towards the job you want.

  • CallumRaines says:

    Probably should give this approach a try, either that or give up Diet coke as advised! Nice post

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