Stephanie generously shared her recent experience with being laid-off, how she’s managing to stay within a budget, and how she’s learning to thrive in her new unemployed status.
Stephanie is a musician and writer from New York City, and while she has recently been displaced in the 9-5 sense, she has shown a knack for web-programming and has been performing regularly in NYC. Stephanie can be found on her website and on Twitter @radiomorillo.
Enjoying Life Despite the Stress of Unemployment…
In the last post of a three-part series on unemployment, I will discuss how I keep sane and rediscovered my passions. This post is all about how I’m thriving, and not just surviving despite my unemployment.
When I was employed full-time, I would often grumble about how I had no time for the things I wanted to do. I live in the outer-borough of Queens, about 35-45 minutes outside of Midtown which meant I’d have to leave home around 7, 7:30am to arrive at work on time and I wouldn’t arrive home until almost 7pm. That’s almost 12 hours outside of the house, and (not surprisingly) I’d come back very tired. All I wanted to do was be a zombie in front of the TV, eat dinner, chat with my fiancé, and then sleep.
It wasn’t always this way; I used to make time for the things I loved, sleep be damned. I used to blog, I used to record, I used to do lots of things, but in the months leading up to being laid off there were things that required long-term commitment and full attention. I had started doing research about computer and web-programming, and realized I wanted to switch careers despite having very, very limited knowledge about computer programming. I also wanted to return to school to take German classes as I plan on applying to graduate school in Germany next year. I wanted to volunteer, and of course, there was my music, which had always been an afterthought and never the BIG ENCHILADA like I wanted.
So it comes as no surprise that these were the very first things that came to mind when I got laid off. I finally had time! I can work on my projects! Aaaah! Aaaaahhh!!
Time. The most truly priceless thing in life.
The Things I Love- Finally, Time For My Projects…
Thankfully, I had registered for my German classes a few weeks before I was laid off so I didn’t have to pay with the few precious dollars I still had coming in. Also, one of my closest friend’s husband is a self-taught web developer and recently nabbed his first job as a developer, and he offered to give me lessons. I’ve been taking classes with him for two months now and at his behest I started a blog about being a beginner web developer called Ruby Wan Kenoobie.
I wanted to continue to build my portfolio using the communications skills I already had so I signed up to be a pro bono communications specialist for free through Catchafire; a website that matches professionals in numerous fields to non-profits who need pro bono work in areas such as graphic design, marketing, business development, etc. I figured it was a way to network, use my skill set, volunteer while working remotely, and to fill that hole in my resume that all displaced workers fear. And then, another cool thing happened: I was matched with the New York Open Center to be their pro bono social media specialist. Things were starting to come together…
Finally, my passion, music. Shortly after I got laid off in March, I started sifting through posts on Craigslist looking for focus groups or nab an extra $20 by helping at an event. I answered an ad from a musician looking for a female singer to record a duet with, and it turned out to be a phenomenal opportunity with a talented musician. A month after we recorded his song, “Mighty High”, and he invited me to perform with him at two excellent venues in New York City. I answered another craigslist ad, which resulted in me becoming a backup singer on the set of a music video for a pop artist!
Because of my unemployment Ive been able to focus on the things that make me really happy; the things that make me, me. While being unemployed isn’t ideal I’m making the best of it and really enjoying myself in the process.
Thank you Stephanie!
Have you been unexpectedly laid-off? Did you get to tap into the things that you truly love that had might have fallen by the wayside because of being too busy or did the stress of being unemployed impair your capacity for pleasure?
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