I recently had a talk with a friend of mine, someone I had gone to school with, who was in a similar predicament to another friend of mine. It seems to be part of a repeating pattern- that they just can’t find a job these days, even with the economy moving at a relatively steady clip back to pre-recession levels. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of young people in the same boat these days. It can be morally debilitating to have to wait, realizing that your skills are falling apart with every day that passes, and you become increasingly less and less employable as time goes on. With college costs skyrocketing, relatives getting huffy about living at home with parents, and no job outlook in sight, what can you really do if you can’t find a job? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t an easy one, and it’s an answer that won’t sit well for some folks, but sometimes it can be the tough answers that do us the most good. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the options you might consider if you’re stuck in your parent’s basement unable to find a job.
Move. Yep. You heard me. Sometimes, there just isn’t the industry to support everyone in a community. When that happens, it’s time to move on. One hundred years ago, two hundred years ago, our forebears looked at their current circumstances and chose to strike out for parts unknown to get a fresh start. Be motivated by their example. Look at how difficult life was two hundred years ago for immigrants coming to the United States, and then consider why it is you’re not willing to uproot fifty or a hundred miles to find a job in an area where your chosen field is actually located. It’s probably for comfort, isn’t it? You’ve grown comfortable, and possibly, if you can be honest, maybe a little lazy. We all get that way, it’s human nature, so don’t be upset about it. You just have to beat it. After all, if you don’t have a job, chances are you’re living with family or a roommate, aren’t you? You probably don’t have a mortgage, so why shouldn’t you think of yourself as being mobile? The better opportunities may be just over the horizon, so what do you have to lose?
Be realistic. Another friend was recently telling me about how he was upset about not having had a popular magazine call him back for a job. When I asked if he had considered freelancing to get started, he informed me that he didn’t want to be a writer, but a correspondent in one specialized area, and he had been waiting 15 years so far for that spot to open up. It was all I could do not to laugh! After all, you can’t start at the top, so think about starting out a little lower and working your way up.
Try another field. Sometimes, you’re just not going to get the opportunity. It happens, particularly in low-demand, high-skill fields. You may never have the opportunity to be a chef in your favorite restaurant. That’s life. Why not think about another field, then? Rack your mind to think of all those things you love to do and see if any of those might be somehow related to some available job that you could do. Do you love comic books? What about doing promotions for a local or regional comic book convention? The possibilities are endless, but you have to have the ability to see opportunities for what they are. Don’t be afraid to stretch yourself a little, and don’t be so dogmatic about sticking to some dream job that may never arise. If you make yourself more flexible in this fashion, you might be surprised how quickly you can find a job.