Are you currently unemployed? Are you currently on benefits and struggling? Applying for jobs but getting no responses?

In October 2015, unemployment in the UK was at a percentage of 5.4% (jobless rate). The number of people out of work between the months of June and August was 1.77 million, this was the lowest rate for 7 years but still a high percentage. (The Office of National Statistics)

According to The Guardian Newspaper the top 10 worst areas for unemployment are as follows;

  1. Hull
  2. Grimsby
  3. Birmingham
  4. Liverpool
  5. Middlesbrough
  6. Hastings
  7. Rochdale
  8. Doncaster
  9. Bradford
  10. Dundee

However, there are large numbers across the world let alone the UK, struggling to find work. Back in April 2013 Tesco had 150 vacancies available at a new store, it was said that 4,300 people applied for the vacancies. This shows the dire state of Britain’s job market; it seems there aren’t enough jobs for all people who live here. Out of the 4,300 people, Tesco were able to offer 826 people an interview once they had completed an online questionnaire. This list of people was said to have included 55 long-term unemployed people who were guaranteed an interview through the JobCentre. (Mail Online)

How unemployment makes us feel

Being unemployed isn’t a nice thing at all. Although there are some people who do not want to work, most do and not having a job can make them feel depressed. An anonymous person was quoted the following when asked how it made them feel to be unemployed.

Freedom – No schedule, no deadlines, no reason to get up and get dressed. I can eat cereal when I’m in my bathtub at two in the afternoon. It can be fun but a little boring.

Frugality – No job means no money meaning no life. Unless you have a good amount of savings, it’s hard to afford a car, apartment, friends, relationships and pets without an income. I want a cat but my parents don’t want another freeloader.

Insecurity –  Getting rejected and hearing the same advice for the 100th time: network, apply broadly, be more confident, etc. Hearing these flaws eats at my self-esteem. It also makes me less confident in interviews, which is detrimental! It’s also difficult to gauge my self-worth when I don’t work or contribute to society. I don’t feel very relevant.

Anger – I went to a great school for undergrad, got a masters. I studied my butt off and continually sacrificed my health, sanity, and family time to get through my education. And now what? Was it worth it? Did I even get to enjoy my time in college?

Desperation – I apply to jobs I didn’t want in the first place. I stopped thinking about the dream job I wanted. I just wanted any job. I don’t even mind retail. I compromise. Application after application. The definition of insanity is repeating something over and over again, expecting different results… unless it applies to job hunting. I feel like I am definitely capable of proving myself in anything, but so far I haven’t been given a chance.

Sloth – I lost a lot of motivation because of the months of rejection and lack of affirmation. Sometimes I read a description and imagine all the reasons this company will reject me. If I ever get an interview, I practice the same answers to the same questions (what could I say or do differently that would get me hired this time?). I was also never a great self-starter, and it’s difficult to force myself to learn new skills without classes/curriculum.

Envy – I hear about people who didn’t study as much, didn’t go to as great schools, didn’t do competitive majors, didn’t get as good grades get hired. What did they do to get that job? And also, I hear about people who were actually very talented get amazing offers. God, I hate Linkedin.

Shame – I do feel like people are judging me because I am educated but not employed. I have distanced myself from using social networking websites like Facebook because I dread the question, “What are you up to?” (This also affects my ability to network, and the depressing cycle continues). I’ve become somewhat reclusive since graduation. My family sacrificed so much time and money supporting me, and I feel like I’ve let them down. It sucks not being able to be very generous with my friends and family.

Uncertainty – Back to college? Apply to university? Go travel? I tell myself I will have a good future, but the truth is, I don’t know how it will happen or when it will be.

I think the majority of people who are or have been unemployed can relate to all of these feelings; I know I can.

My experience of unemployment

I have been unemployed and had t
o sign on at the JobCentre before. I was so reluctant to do so, I felt like I would be embarrassed to be on the dole but I had no choice when I couldn’t find a job after leaving school and college. This was very frustrating for me as I worked so hard at secondary school and college where I studied business. I did a two year course in which I completed with three distinctions. At the time I was so happy and proud of getting this level, I then however decided against the idea of university, thinking I would go out and get a job. Little did I know how difficult this would prove to be. For the first 5-6 months after college I was being funded by my parents i.e. my food etc, whilst I was ‘job hunting’ online. I was looking for jobs in which I was interested (in business) as I spent 2 years at school and 2 years in college studying it and didn’t want my qualifications to go to waste. I had no luck in finding a job, I was rarely even getting a response from the companies when I applied and when I did it wasn’t good news, I failed to even get an interview. This got me down a lot, I just didn’t understand why when I had worked so hard to get my qualifications. I then had to stop relying on parents and get some sort of income.

This is when I signed on at the JobCentre. I was nervous because I was told by my brother from his past experiences that it was not a nice place, he was right. I hated having to go there as the staff seemed to think they were better than you, looked down their noses at you and honestly didn’t even help you search for a job. They literally made you sign a piece of paper to make sure you had done your job search then that was it, no more support. After a few months at the JobCentre, I was then transferred to a company called InTraining, I still had to do my job search and sign on with the job centre but I was offered extra support by InTraining. The first few months were brilliant, they offered me a lot more support and guidance than the JobCentre did, putting me on courses to make my CV better, to gain qualifications to widen my job range, they even got my job interviews by putting me forward for jobs they knew I would be interested in. I had a brilliant advisor there called Claire, she helped me a lot and never once treated me badly she was always so supportive and helpful. Then things changed, Claire was no longer my advisor and I was sent to another called Nick. I was the attending the same courses I had already completed, I informed him of this but he said that it would still help. This was frustrating as I felt like I was wasting time duplicating work I had already done when I could at least be searching for more jobs or doing new courses I hadn’t yet completed? He didn’t seem to care as long as he was meeting his quota. Eventually I stopped attending the courses I had already done as it was wasting too much time when I could be applying for more jobs, Nick then however then called the job centre and stopped my claim as I didn’t attend. Luckily I explained to the JobCentre the situation they agreed that I shouldn’t be repeating work/courses and made me complete a rapid reclaim where I was signed back on and repaid the money I missed out on.

I had interviews come out of InTraining, I was confident in myself going to these interviews as I believed I had the skills and ability to do the jobs. When it came down to the decision making, I didn’t seem to get the job as I have a ‘lack of experience.’ Again this was highly frustrating because how was I meant to get experience when nobody would give me a job?! I then got the opportunity to do some voluntary work at The AOC where I currently work now. It was in administration which I was more than pleased about and it would give me the experience I needed on my CV. That was possibly the best thing that I did, it turned into a part-time, paid job as I proved that I could do the job efficiently and Christian, my boss was very pleased with the effort and hard work I put in. I started doing it voluntarily from February 2015 and became paid part time staff in August the same year. It seems like a long time to be doing voluntary work but it was so worth it. I am now being paid to do a job I love and was given the opportunity to prove myself when other companies didn’t want to know. I would recommend looking into voluntary work to anyone who is unemployed as it gives you experience, builds your confidence, gets you motivated and there may also be a job at the end of it for you.