A (F)Unemployment Survival Guide


10 steps to coping with a pandemic job loss.

One month ago I lost my job; one month later, I have started a new one. Others are not so fortunate in this dumpster fire of a year that is 2020. When a pandemic rips the carpet out from under you it can be a terrifying ordeal, particularly for folk who may be, shall we say, as mentally unstable as myself.

Fear not! I have the answers – credible or no – on how to deal with such misfortune. And should these in fact be more of a subconscious rambling than a productive precept, well, hopefully you get a laugh out of this piece. Ahem, let us begin:

1. Commiserations! You’re not ‘usefully employable’ anymore (I kinda think Jobkeeper should change their lingo to something less belittling). The first thing you’ll need to do is try not to cry.

2. Cry anyway. Stay in bed for days lamenting how worthless you are. (I only did this for a few days, promise). Clearly you were expendable. Clearly nobody liked you and they all just played nice to your face. There is absolutely NO other explanation.

3. Follow the Kubler Ross stages of grief. You will probably do this without even realising – I know I did.

-Denial: I was having a busy week, now I’m told not to come to the office anymore? But who will finish what I was working on?

– Anger: how could anybody do this to a person? The business world can be so mean!

– Bargaining: look, maybe if I beg, make myself look as pathetic as possible, they’ll feel sorry for me and invite me back?

– Depression: nope, you’re out in the cold. And you know what? This pandemic will probably last forever and you’ll never have a job ever again.

– Acceptance: I am more than my work. We are given one fleeting, whimsical life. Perhaps moving on is a good thing.

4. Resist the urge to do any of the following:

– burn bridges.

– go completely postal.

– hold up a liquor store.

– complain about the price of blueberries at the grocery store.

(I only did one of these things; try to guess which one).

5. Check your old email account! No seriously, it was still there for a bit… Message your work friends and tell them what’s going on. They might be wondering where the hell you’ve been. Tell them you’re busy solving all the world’s problems when in reality you’re playing video games in your underwear.

6a. Take up new hobbies. Rekindle old ones. I rediscovered the simple joy of sitting in a cafe. I realised how much I missed tinkering with my guitars. 

6b. Connect with old friends and colleagues. It’s probably where you’ll find the bread crumb trail to your next job.

6c. Watch your little children prattle around, their tiny minds oblivious to the stresses of life thanks to you. Then panic a little when you realise you still need to provide an income for them. Time to take action…

7. Get a vasectomy. Realise you can’t afford anymore blessed little darlings (especially now!) and remove yourself from the gene pool. I did! I hadn’t planned on being unemployed while doing so, but here we are. 

“Hey Pat, what was the worst thing that happened to you in August – losing your job or losing your nuts?”

8. Consider other options. I nearly sewed myself to a university degree before realising I’m a time-poor father of two who hates studying. Maybe I should travel? Oh wait, pandemic… Plant flowers? Only if they’re 1.5m apart and wearing face masks. Hrrmmm. 

9. Clean your house. Rearrange shit that has bothered you. Shave your lockdown beard. You’ve got interviews, damn it. Nobody will hire you if you look like a nineteenth century bush ranger.

10. Land that job. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s hard starting again, and you will doubt yourself and everything around you, but change is often for the best. Lean on your friends and family. Someone always cares, and someone will always want to help you.

The month was a rollercoaster. I saw happiness nestled amongst some of the most despairing sadness I’ve experienced. But I did realise I was a barnacle rusted to a ship. This is my personality, and I don’t believe there’s too much wrong with it. I was comfortable and I didn’t want change; a happy little limpet in my introverted shell. I needed at least one part of my life to be predictable (because parenting certainly isn’t, and neither are pandemics!). Don’t be a barnacle. Be a squid. They can at least swim as well as stick themselves to things.

And guess what: you’re ok. So is your previous place of employment. So is your new digs. I loved my old job. And I’ll love my new one too. And if you’re still in a pickle because of the pandemic, don’t fret. We’re all going through it, and everything will pick up soon. Don’t hold grudges. Be thankful for what you had, have and will have. Swim off into the sunset, noble squid.


Published by P. S. Clinen

Official website of Australian author, artist and musician, P.S.Clinen. He has published two novels - Tenebrae Manor and The Will of the Wisp, as well as the illustrated poem A Boy Named Art. His most recent release is a poetry collection Vignettes - An Anthology. All of his works are available to purchase on Amazon. He has several albums available on Bandcamp and other streaming services. Check back often for more by this author, including poetry, short stories, new music and other updates.

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