What It's Like to Be Unemployed During the Pandemic

Ashley Lynne


Many Americans are finding it hard to make ends meet as their income has dwindled down to a few hundred dollars a week. While some are able to make do by tightening their belts, others are on the verge to become homeless by Christmas. There seems to be no end in sight.

I am one of the few that have managed to maintain some stability. Thanks to my partner who is an essential worker. It hasn't been easy but it's better than nothing at this time.

In 2019, I was set to start a freelancing role as content manager for a non-profit company. Then the pandemic hit and the job was canceled. Many companies are becoming unrealistic when choosing candidates, which makes job hunting a crapshoot. I was lucky enough to get unemployment from my previous job but life has been stagnant ever since.

Every day, I try to find the motivation to get out of bed and be productive. Besides keeping the house clean and looking for work, it's difficult to find any other reason. My partner owns his own business, so many days are spent alone with my Chiweenie.

I have a "the Universe will provide," type mentality and know that things with work themselves out eventually. But the biggest thing that has really bothered me is how incredibly boring it has been this entire year.

I'm starting to think that I'm putting too much pressure on myself to be productive while feeling guilty that I'm not doing enough. But what exactly should I be doing during a pandemic? There's nowhere to go, nothing to really do, and job hunting is met with a lot of unprofessionalism and ghosting. Plus, the constant isolation is messing with my mental health.

As much as I am an introvert, I don't like not being able to go to a bar or a crowded nightclub with my friends. I have depression and anxiety and spend most of my days cycling between the two. Top it off with insomnia and it becomes a recipe for stress.

There are some things that I try to do with this excessive amount of free time. Exercising to Chloe Ting, learning how to do my own box braids, and occasionally doing some online shopping. But after a while, it gets old. This entire year has become a remake of Groundhog Day, except I'm not enjoying any of it.

Here are a few things I've done to curb the boredom:

  • Create a routine- Making myself a cup of tea and putting on some daytime clothes helps me feel motivated for the day.
  • Keeping a journal- Sometimes it feels good to write down my thoughts and really put things in perspective to curb the depression.
  • Start a project- Even if it's something small like cleaning out the fridge. I find having little projects here and there gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Until then I continue to find out more about myself in this chaotic time. Like the fact that being a housewife definitely isn't for me. I can clean my house within 3 hours and the rest of the day is spent going stir crazy. I don't know how those women do it but bless them.

Being unemployed isn't all bad. It gives me time to reflect on what I really want in life. I got into marketing after college because the market for journalism was completely saturated. While I'm glad that I was able to make a way for myself as a digital content manager, I really don't have the passion for it.

Plus, I'm not that good of a butt kisser.

So, now I am at a crossroads. Do I continue looking for work in a field I don't care about? Or do I take a risk and go back to school? That will be for a different article.

The holidays will be especially hard for many people as the pandemic and lack of funds will keep families apart. With all the commotion concerning our government and the Federal Reserve, we will have to see what the plan is going forward. Will we get another stimulus package? An extension on unemployment? Or will the job market change for the good of all?

I don't even know what the plan is for me and my family. It would be really great to get a break from the mundane boredom that comes with not finding work. I miss my mom and childhood friend. Phone calls aren't the same as being with my loved ones.

I really hope that people get back on their feet and life can continue as normal. I think everyone is ready for 2020 to be done and just start over. Whatever happens, I think we're going to be okay. We will be okay.

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A writer, artist, and spiritualist just making a way for myself.

Atlanta, GA

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