For years, I defined myself by my job. From blogger to content marketer. You can imagine that I went through a bit of an identity crisis when I first realised I would be unemployed for a while.
Wanting to pursue my creative dreams, I decided to call it quits at the job that didn’t give me the fulfilment I was looking for. But for the first time in my career I didn’t have a backup plan. So unemployment it was. While I welcomed the time to properly apply for jobs, I did feel quite useless at the beginning. Like I wasn’t amounting to anything. What I didn’t realize back then is that the time off would actually help me find the real me.
In the past, if you would ask me to describe myself, my default answer would always be my job title. In fact, I once was asked this exact question during a job interview (way before this specific job hunt). What I could tell them about me that wasn’t on my resume. I totally froze and eventually gave the most awkward answer ever (being that I’m weird, which in my defence, I am). But it begs to question: who am I without a job?
The thing is, when you’re busy slaving away, you get too caught up in the jist of it all to even be able to define your true self. So yeah, I was my job. But being without a job, I finally understood that I am much more. Always eager to learn (yeah, even in my free time, ask me anything about my favorite bands), happy to help my friends in a pickle and always in for a laugh. That’s the real me.
On top of that, in general, there are a lot of stereotypes when it comes to unemployment. I myself am guilty of this. Back in the summer, I thought being unemployed would be the worse thing that happened to me. That I would come off as lazy, unambitious, … The truth is, being unemployed didn’t make me less talented or hardworking. In fact, it actually gave me the chance to spend time on developing my skill set. I took up numerous courses: from French to video editing. Basically, all the things I had been wanting to improve upon for years.
So yes, how weird it may sound: I am grateful for having been unemployed for a while. I really do think I found my true self because of it and that consequently helped me land my current job.
I wrote this column as part of my challenge of the month for March. Want to see the other challenges of the month? Discover them all here.