Unemployed and unwelcome?

Nearherewayaway social distancing 3Many have lost their jobs and some of those who have been able to keep their jobs are unable to work during the lockdown.

Now that the feelings of boredom and frustration of not being able to do anything productive are familiar to most of us in COVID-closure countries, I’m going to share my experience of pre-pandemic unemployment.

I live abroad, and even after several years, I often feel out of place here. Last September I finished my studies and moved from a town in the south of Scotland to a city in the north of England. Not very far at all. But I was (and still am) struggling to feel at home in England. It feels different. People are different. And, suddenly, I had no purpose.

I thought it would be easy to find a job in communications since I had two communications degrees and relevant work experience. However, I could not get a job. I was sending job applications to every direction. Nothing. No one wanted me. I couldn’t even get a job in a café in my new hometown.

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Of course, I started to think if Brexit had something to do with it. Is it because I am an immigrant? Is it because of my name? Is it because of my native language? What can I do in this country if I can’t earn enough money to get by?

I was stuck here. Feeling unwelcome. Waiting.

My life shrank. I was only socialising with my boyfriend and occasionally a few of his mates. I didn’t have friends here, so I had no reason to see anyone. I left the house to go climbing or run along the river. I tried to fill my days by learning French, practicing shorthand writing, reading and rewatching my favourite series.

It doesn’t sound too bad, but now that the pandemic is forcing more people to live like that, it is easier to understand how frustrating it is.

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I want to be useful. Usually, work or studies fill that void.

I found those long months of unemployment incredibly difficult.

I finally got a job here, but when the lockdown was announced, I was afraid that I’d have to go back to that dreadful day routine of unemployment. Luckily, I can work despite the self-distancing rules, but I am worried for the people who are isolating alone and those who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic. It can be hard. I do hope that this social distancing is worth it all.

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