Social entrepreneur. Engagement consultant.
‘Being unemployed doesn’t have many silver linings’ but if you struggle enough you can find some advantages that will serve to your benefits later on. There’s no doubt that not having a job is one of the biggest challenges one could face.
The reason why I’m writing about unemployment is mainly because I’m directly affected by this whole European economical context. However, I get the fact that there’s a crisis out there and employers are reluctant to hire young (but skilled) people.
With few exceptions (e.g. Germany, Austria, Denmark) youth unemployment in particular is a major issue at the moment all over Europe. According to Eurostat, in 2012 the highest unemployment rate was recorded in Spain (26,6%) followed by Greece (26%). In 2013, in the UK almost one million young people don’t have a place where they can put their skills to work. And the future doesn’t look bright if I might add.
Let’s take my case for example:
I’ve turned 26 this year and I started working about 6 years ago. Because I have always put a high value on education I started off by selling clothes to pay for Uni. After that I sought further education, so I undertook two full-time master programmes. Meanwhile I co-founded two not-for-profit organisations with the purpose of developing youth-oriented cross-cultural events and programmes. It wasn’t enough so I worked in education for a couple of years developing educational e-content for the youth sector. I was quite a busy guy. That is before I decided to move to London.
Although the transition was smooth I found it to be very hard to find a proper job. I worked for a while within the Cultural Diplomacy Sector but discovered that it was not my cup of tea. Then I stumbled upon a self-development charity that needed some help in organizing a series of events. So I joined them as an Events Coordinator until December 2012. After one year our roads kind of split and as of then I’m on the lookout for inspiring organizations and projects to get involved with.
Being unemployed for more than six months is indeed the biggest challenge in my life so far. And I’ve been trough some tough times, that’s for sure. The feeling of joblessness can limit your horizon very much should you have self-esteem problems. Just imagine starting every morning by reading an email, which says that you’re not good enough for the opening you’ve just applied the day before. Every day for six months. It can shake you up really good if you can’t handle the emotional baggage that comes with unemployment.
Sometimes I think of it as being very similar with the emotional stages of cancer diagnosis. You start with denial (It can’t be true I don’t have a job with my experience) and continue with anger (It’s not fair. Why me?) until you’re completely stressed out (I can’t deal with this. It’s very sad). Then you go from fear (I’m going to be jobless for a long time from now on. And you start panicking, as you don’t see many solutions) to acceptance (Okay, it’s true I don’t have a job but complaining all day about won’t bring me one) just so you end up fighting and hoping that something will happen and you’ll get back on track.
A friend of mine said a couple of days ago that highly skilled people shouldn’t be out of employment no matter what the economy situation is. I share his train of thoughts not just because I’m out of work but also because I think that these kinds of people can add value to a company because they know how to deal with stress, they have perspective, they’re persistent, they know where they are and they know where to go.
‘What an industry needs is people who have no idea on how it operates. People that don’t know that there are any rules. While it is good to break rules and to push boundaries, it’s much better to just never know that any rules exist. So, when an agency boasts that they have years of experience in the field that your company is working in. Run the other way, cause that only means that they know the rules. You need someone who doesn’t.’ – Nils Sköld
Even though I’m not one hundred percent sure I agree with Nils Sköld, in some cases I think it’s a matter of not being able to recognize one’s potential to do great things. Without any doubts, in my case it will be a leap of faith on behalf of the employers, as my work experience wasn’t enough to secure a job so far. I guess I’m still working on being the right guy at the right moment.
To wrap this up, I have to mention that I am grateful for this period of joblessness as I learned valuable lessons from it. I know that I can be useful to someone, I know who I am, what I’m good at and more than that I know I have a great bunch of people supporting me. So, I guess that like all bad things this period must come to an end so I reckon this would be a really good time. All I need is someone to make a leap of faith ‘cause I have what it takes. With that in mind ‘in case I don’t see you: good afternoon, good evening and good night’.
– Catalin Parascan