On unemployment, national television, volunteering, and not knowing what you`re doing with your life

I have been unemployed for the better part of two years now, straight out of graduation in 2012. I`ve had the occasional job, sure. I worked a lot through job centres, spent some time at a callcenter, had seasonal jobs or part-time jobs.

Yet most of my time in the last two years has been spend at home, unemployed, and without money to go and do things.  

When I tell people I`m unemployed, the first question they ask is often “so what do you apply for?”, as if to suggest I`m simply applying for the wrong things and if I just refocus everything will be fine! Never mind that I apply for jobs that I studied for, jobs that have nothing to do with my study, jobs that I think are interesting, jobs that are way below my level, jobs that are slightly above my level. I apply for jobs where I tick every box of requirements, and I apply for jobs where I have to be very creative in writing my letters because I only tick one or two of the boxes.

I get rejections on a regular basis. Not enough experience, not the right profile, someone else with more experience, too many candidates, too highly educated, not enough commercial passion. I`ve heard almost every excuse by now.

The next question I often get is “then what is it you want to do?”, which is a very tricky question to begin with. How many people do you know that actually work in a job they studied for and wanted? I’m not naive enough to assume I’ll be able to get a job that’s exactly what I want to do. It would, of course, help if I knew what I wanted in the first place.

Because there’s the next problem: what do I want? I`m not sure. There are a lot of things that I like, and I thought for very long periods that I knew what I wanted (making tv, making movies, becoming a youtuber, writing a book), but now? I have a lot of interests, but nothing that really gets me in a “that`s it!” kind of way. Which is problematic, to say the least.

I`m doing some volunteers work at a union, although I`m not sure yet what I think of it and if I really enjoy it. I`ve done other volunteers work before, including things that I do enjoy but couldn`t do every single day for years on end. I`ve done an internship that I enjoyed surprisingly much, more than I expected, but at the same time it was so, so hard and I ran into a lot of problems. Plus my internship place doesn`t even physically exist anymore, and has developed a bit of a bad reputation in my country, so that`s not helping.

And so here I am. Still unemployed, without a clue of what it is I want to do. They say it`s normal for people my age (I`m 24) to feel this way, to set our first steps into the Adult World and suddenly realise that we have no clue what we`re doing here.

The reason I`m writing all of this, is because tomorrow morning a tv crew from a Dutch nation-wide channel with a fairly popular news program is coming to my house to film. I`ll be interviewed, to talk about my long-time unemployment and what it`s like and what I would like to see done about it. And I`ve had to answer questions like the ones up there several times today, and probably will again tomorrow. And once it`s been aired on national television? Who knows how often I`ll get more questions (I`m not expecting too much).

Also I`m kind of nervous and worried that I`ll screw this up. Several people have told me this is a really good chance to set myself in a positive light for the job market, which increases my stress by tenfold.

My story for tv tomorrow will be different from what I post here. I will try to present myself in a different light there. But I am definitely worried and anxious about this.

(“So why did you accept the offer?” I can hear you all ask. Because of `just say yes`, because I want to take more opportunities. Doing scary things is good for you, after all. It might help massively with my anxiety if this goes right and I don`t, you know, keel over and die.)

Wish me luck for tomorrow morning? 

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