Where Logic Meets Love

What Does Three Months of Unemployment Look Like?

Friday, October 5, 2012

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What Does Three Months of Unemployment Look Like? | Faith Permeating Life

It has now been three months since I left my job in Chicago. I made the leap to Whoville partly wanting to enjoy a break from work and partly scared of how long it would take me to get another job. It was undoubtedly the very best decision for us, but it doesn't change the fact that being out of work for several months is not a situation I ever planned to be in again.

What I've found is that employers don't care that I've been out of work for several months, or even that I didn't have the title of research analyst for three years, as most of the job postings say they want. I have the skills and experience they need, so they want to talk to me. I had two fantastic interviews this week and can't wait to see what happens next!

Because it has taken me so long to land a job here, I wanted to take the time to remind myself of all that I have accomplished in the past three months. This is part record for myself, to look back when I say, "What did I do those first few months after moving to Whoville?", and part to inspire those of you who might be feeling stuck and need a push to see how far you've come -- or remind you what you're capable of.

In the past three months, I have:
  • Moved across the country
  • Unpacked about 100 boxes of stuff
  • Updated our address on everything
  • Attended a meal with strangers and made some new friends
  • Converted our counter into a standing desk
  • Volunteered at the local food bank four times
  • Cleaned up all my old blog posts to not be giant blocks of text anymore
  • Opened a local credit union account
  • Changed auto insurance companies
  • Had one phone and five in-person job interviews
  • Met six local professionals for informational interviews
  • Scanned everything in our filing cabinet and recycled or shredded most of it
  • Attended a cousin's bridal shower
  • Analyzed focus group transcripts for a non-profit I worked with in Chicago
  • Researched my aunt's family tree
  • Been at the hospital for the birth of a cousin's baby
  • Bought a ticket, flight, and hotel for the Gay Christian Network conference in January
  • Edited a friend's book manuscript
  • Provided free consultation for a local health clinic's website
  • Obtained my new driver's license and state license plates
  • Typed up a bunch of my great-grandfather's letters and stories
  • Helped three people prepare for job interviews
  • Baked cookies for freshman move-in day
  • Taken our car to get detailed for the first time ever
  • Spent time with a cousin and her little kids
  • Attended a cousin's wedding
  • Started Couch to 5K and Zumba
  • Gained six pounds and lost four pounds
  • Attended a local Nerdfighter gathering
  • Bought four wedding gifts and two bridal shower gifts
  • Tagged all of my photos in iPhoto with their locations
  • Volunteered at a local vegan festival
  • Participated in Whoville's AIDS Walk
  • Attended an aunt and uncle's annual Oktoberfest party
  • Gave blood for the first time
  • Signed up for my college's alumni mentoring program (to mentor current undergrads)
  • Hosted a 10-person board game and potluck night
  • Written 30 blog posts on here
  • Written two blog posts for the local LGBTQ community center
  • Read 10 books

It's been a mix of necessary tasks, personal projects, and fun events. Some of these are certainly things I can continue doing once I land a job, but I've enjoyed having this time to explore, try new things, and tackle some projects that had been on my to-do list for too long.

On a similar note, check out my guest post over at Girl With Curls. She recently made a big move and asked for tips on exploring a new city and meeting new people, so I shared my experiences. See what you think!

If you've ever had a period of non-voluntary unemployment, what is your favorite thing you did during that time?


  1. I went through a similar period last summer when we moved for my husband's job. We initially thought I would take some time and really figure out what I wanted to do, but after a few weeks I was already antsy! I volunteer twice a week at a charity thrift store and ended up being in the right place at the right time when an administrative job with the organization became available. My span of joblessness was right around 3 months and, in retrospect, I wish I had done more with it! I went on a lot of long walks, and I started meal planning and cooking a lot more. I also got more into couponing and started my blog! So it wasn't a total waste, but now that I don't have that time I wish I had been more intentional about using it well.

    1. Now that it's looking like I may get a job soon, I'm definitely having that feeling of "I wish I'd done more with this time!" which is why I wanted to put this list together in the first place. For me, it's a good reminder that just because I have free time, it doesn't mean I'll use it wisely -- so rather than complaining about not having enough time while I'm working, I need to be intentional about how I use the time that I do have.

      One of the things I recommended on the guest post I linked to is volunteering -- both for meeting new people and, as you discovered, as a great way to find out about job opportunities and already be a known face in the organization.

  2. what a great idea! It's almost been 3 months for me also. It's been nice to have all this time, though I do know that I could have spent some of it more intentionally. I think I'll make a list also and figure out what else I can do.

  3. Once I finish my PhD thesis (hopefully in December) I have no idea what will be next, but several months of unemployment is quite a high probability. I'm glad you accomplished so much - hopefully I'll remember this in a couple of months if I'm unemployed so I'm productive instead of bored and worried!

    1. I basically just decided to say yes to everything and to seek out as many opportunities to meet people as possible. That's not my normal tendency, but I was able to push myself by reminding myself that I would probably be working soon and might not have the opportunity to do so much again. Good luck with finishing your PhD thesis and making the most of whatever follows!

  4. Hey I'm Jordan Sky from Deliciously Happy. I'm currently searches the corners of the earth for a job. It's a tough market and it's awesome that you were able to find one in a field you're good at. It's also encouraging to see you giving yourself a reminder of how wickedly brilliant you are. We forgot that when we're going though something like a job hunt.

    1. Well, I'm still waiting to see if I get a job offer from either of the places I interviewed, and if not it will be a bit disheartening to start the process over again. But it definitely helps to remind myself that I can make valuable use of my time whether or not I'm working. Thanks for your comment!


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