How not to kill yourself when unemployed / by Charlotte Marriner

1. Don’t be a drama queen.

Ever, ever, ever. Even though your soul is dying a tragic and particularly long, drawn-out death; beginning to resemble that wrinkly grape you found in the back of the fridge when you were cleaning, you’re not actually dying. Besides, weeping and wailing all day is exhausting and will distract you from job hunting and playing Solitaire online. You’re also bound to get a sore throat and now that you’re an unemployed bum you can’t afford Strepsils, dammit. Which leads me to -

 

2. Stick to a budget.

No one is saying you have to stop spending money altogether. That’s silly. And quite hard. Just try to cut down on the things you don’t absolutely need for a little while. Maybe stop going to those fencing lessons. Hang around in coffee shops and pounce on people’s leftovers. (Five sips basically adds up to a small coffee - if people give you funny looks, tell them it’s the new Taster Menu.) Avoid expensive club entrance fees by standing outside with your ear pressed up to a glass on the wall instead. And so on.

 

3. Avoid Jeremy Kyle.

I cannot stress this enough. You think you’ll never stoop to those levels but there comes a point in everyone’s lives where, after flicking mindlessly through the one hundred and seventy six Freeview channels, wondering whimsically if you could perhaps pull off those jazzy looking clogs on the shopping channel, that you feel like it might, actually, be OK to watch Jeremy Kyle. Just for a minute. But that one minute turns into waiting for the lie detector results; which turns into seeing the next unfortunate lump of human discussing I’m A Binge-Drinker And A Crack Dealer But I’ll Be A Great Dad Honest; which inevitably leads to you, covered in Doritos crumbs, slathering over the eight-hour long marathon, squealing with delight as Jezza barks viciously at each poor sad sack, booing and hissing from the sofa like a deranged Panto-fan.

 

4. Wash.

I don’t think this needs explaining.

(Fine, a small bit of explaining.)

Sometimes you want to lie on the sofa, your paw pressed to your forehead, and sigh dramatically. You won’t feel like showering. Because, after all, WHAT IS THE POINT OF IT ALL. This is OK. But fling a bit of hot water and soap - you could even break out the fancy stuff and open that one with the ‘real fruit’ in it - your way every few days or so. You’ll definitely feel 3-15% better about yourself. Plus less people will reel away from you in horror when you stumble outside in your slippers to get more milk and lottery tickets.

 

5. Do some exercise.

Exercise releases endorphins and blah blah blah. Gyms are quite expensive, so to get around this simply ask one of your friends to run in front of you dangling a carrot (or slice of cake if you prefer) for you to gently jog after. If you have no friends because they’ve all abandoned you, simply knock on one of your neighbours’ front doors and yell something rude at their face. They’re bound to chase you down the street for at least five minutes.

 

6. Make achievable goals.

If your sole goal is to get a job, then you’re guaranteed to feel like a failure for a while. Create small, achievable goals on a little list that you can extravagantly strike out in big, red pen. For example: Wake up / Carry tea back to bed without spilling any of it / Sing first verse of Baby Got Back to self in the mirror / Put socks into matching pairs / Lie on sofa and think about life for 10 mins / etc. Ticking off each task will do wonders for your confidence and ensure you don’t accidentally start watching Jeremy Kyle. (See point 3.)

 

7. Have a back-up plan.

Is that dream job simply failing to materialise? You need a back-up plan. Yes, yes it’s all very well and good to aim for the stars and go for your dreams, but being an architect is hard and requires at least five hours of thinking a day. There’s no shame in picking up a leaflet from your local Chicken Cottage or checking when the circus is next in town. Or -

7.ii. Eliminate the competition.

Don’t actually eliminate anyone. This is even more distracting than Jeremy Kyle and slightly more awful. If you find you’re not getting a job because a thousand other people are clamouring for the same job, why not invent a new one? Then you will get both the satisfaction of proudly telling people you’re a VIP Artisan Jaffa Cake Consultant, as well as the relief in the knowledge that you’re the only person who can get that job. For now.

 

8. Don’t be proud.

No one likes to admit that they’re poor - no one likes a peasant - but pretending that everything’s fine and dandy and that yes, you will split a bottle of Prosecco at the engagement drinks in the bar you’re pretending to afford, thank you, is not big nor clever. In fact, the only thing worse than the bubble-induced hangover the next day, is looking at your wallet and weeping over the fact that you spent your whole week’s grocery bill on FAKE CHAMPAGNE.

 

9. Have a hug.

Hugging gives you all the feels, as well as making you feel less like an empty shell of a human being. A little hug about two to twelve times a day will reinforce these feels. If you’re that person who needs to be chased by their neighbours because all their friends abandoned them (keep up), then simply stand in the middle of Clapham Junction* platform between the hours of 7am and 9am, or 4pm and 7pm. This is as close to a hug as you will get. However - bonus point - you may get yourself a cheeky fondle too, depending on how busy the station is.

* You may vary the rail/tube station depending on your location/whether you’ve been to the same place too many times and commuters are beginning to recognise you and panic.

 

10. Avoid sharp objects or tops of buildings.

Just in case.