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Unemployment - It Doesn't Have to Mean the End

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Lately it has come to my attention that the media portrays unemployment in a very negative light. Perhaps it's because the latest figures have just been released, putting the unemployment rate for the UK at 8.4%. Or perhaps it's because society has trouble accepting and understanding unemployment. In any case, whatever articles you find, they are far from cheery.

This article, recently published by the BBC, portrays unemployment as being the end of all goals or ambition in life. In entertainment, the film The Company Men, portrays unemployment as one of the most humiliating things that could ever happen to someone. Whilst this article: Emotional stages of a job loss, sounds a bit too similar to the "The 5 stages of grief".

What is wrong with these images just mentioned? Are you unemployed or just about to be? Essentially, these articles won't be helping you take a positive or pro-active approach to it, they're more likely to push you further down that long dark tunnel than help you to keep your head above water.

But what if there was another approach to be had? What if unemployment didn't have to be the end of everything, and instead you could seize it as an opportunity and turn it into something positive?

Not enough articles exist to tell people how to take a pro-active approach to unemployment. But if the media spent more time highlighting positive stories, rather than feeding us more doom and gloom, perhaps people would be finding jobs and leaving unemployment faster.

Even if you have lost your job against your will (which is generally the case), try not to see it as a failure, but rather as an opportunity for you to use your time as you would like to.

Of course, not all of it is going to be easy. Signing up for unemployment benefits can be a nightmare, as is worrying about financial security and having to reply to thousands of similar job adverts to no avail. But hope can be found.

So what exactly is good about being unemployed? There are several answers.

For a start, it is a fantastic opportunity to have spare time to do what you want. For example, having a baking day, going on a day trip, catching up on reading or even rediscovering your neighbourhood, are all things that suddenly become available to you when unemployed.
It's a great way to learn to slow down and enjoy life. Being unemployed can help you learn to balance your priorities with your relaxation time. Once out of work, learn to enjoy and take things on, one step at a time.

The key of course, is to strike a balance. Repeating the same daily routine of getting up late and watching movies in your pyjamas is not going to help, but if each day is filled with something different then suddenly it becomes more interesting.

There is also a sensation of freedom, as you finally feel liberated from a lot of constraints. You don't have to get up in the morning to go to a job you might not enjoy. You don't have to worry about deadlines, or about everything falling apart if you go on holiday. Essentially you're free, you can engage in any activity you want.

It's also a great time to engage in volunteering, discovering new areas of interest, or carrying on in old ones. You will not only feel useful, but you will keep yourself busy, use your skills, and make sure that during your unemployment you haven't just been sitting at home feeling depressed. Through volunteering, you can keep your network active, learn new skills, and much more.

It can also be a time to figure out what you want to do with your life and give it new direction. Perhaps you're just starting out and you can decide what exactly you want to do with you career. Or perhaps you have a bit more experience and you're thinking of a career change. No matter what stage you're at, it's a great time for you to take you career into your own hands and shape it as you want.

Of course unemployment also has its negative sides, it goes without saying. But the point I'm trying to put across is that if you use this time wisely and think of the opportunities that are opening up to you, then unemployment can be a positive change.

Let's try to portray the positive sides of unemployment, and use it to our advantage. Enjoying your period of unemployment doesn't mean you want to stay unemployed forever, it just means you have managed to find the good aspects and make the most of it. Let's stop the doom and gloom, and start the cheer!