Part and parcel of job seeking and being unemployed is living at home with your parents.
It was a prospect I initially chose not to acknowledge and avoid thinking about for countless days and weeks – stretching my savings as thin as they’d go before sucking it up and admitting defeat.
Looking back, I’m not entirely sure what was so scary about going back home, and staying there for more than the obligatory Thanksgiving and Christmas trips.
Part of me thinks I viewed going back home as a step backwards into the past – somehow negating all of the hard work and adventures of the last five years.
There’s a sense that going back home is especially detrimental to aspiring wannabes, somehow depriving them of opportunity and experience. To a point, I think there is some truth in that feeling, but it’s easily counteracted by remaining productive and ambitious.
Just recently our generation was dubbed the “unemployable generation” and somehow moving home is the epitome of that.
In the US press over the past few days there has been a good bit about our generation and the idea of moving home and settling down with the parentals for a little while.
This American Life did a great piece on the subject mid-week, and at the end of the week statistics were released that just 74 percent of Americans aged 25-34 had a job – and among them 14.2 percent are living at home with their parents. That’s up from about 11 percent in 2007.
It’s different living at home – without a doubt. Not all of us have the ways and means of being able to jump from school, facing unemployment, but being able to remain at University, or move to bigger cities with more opportunity.
Going home is the stark reality that we do face these days.
I’ve only been home for a few weeks now and it’s not been as bad as feared. For one, there are the lovely benefits of home comforts: food, a nice warm bed and being around the people you love (it’s almost Thanksgiving, so I get to be corny).
Another point, and one relevant to most of our financial circumstances, is the ability to be thrifty and save what little money we can cobble together, in hopes of the day we finally we move out.
Professionally speaking though – there are still opportunities, but they require some ambition and creativity.
A few things you can do, and I’ve tried to do, to stay on top of things are:
- Contact your local paper and try to set up some freelancing gigs
- Think of projects you can do yourself – local angles of national stories are always a good start
- Spend some time trying to teach yourself new skills – I’m still attempting to teach myself basic aspects of data journalism and scraping web sites
- Stay in touch with old employers and old work experience/freelance gigs for possible freelance stories
Being home ain’t all that bad – and while it is a weirdly concrete and transitory stage of the job seeking process, it can prove to be beneficial and even an opportunity to pick up some extra cash, clips and skills.
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