I hated my job, but now that I got let go, I feel even worse.
October 22, 2009 9:42 PM   Subscribe

How to deal with unemployment + feeling like crap? Just got let go last week from crap job I hated, but now feeling more miserable than ever.

I am the girl in this question that got a DUI a few weeks back and said my life is over. Due to this and me not being able to give definite answer about getting occupational privileges (in OH, where draconian laws just got worse) I was fired on Friday at 4 after busting my ass all day. They can go to hell, I was still doing my job. They were just looking for people to drop I guess, was convenient excuse for them.
How do people who were abruptly laid off/fired structure their days? I can't spend all day job-searching, how do you fill time?

My firing came after a several-months long bout of depression related to seeing everything fall apart at work. I should have dealt with it earlier, perhaps my life would not suck now.
However, I thought I would be happy to be gone from work, but I feel even worse. Before, I was just angry, now I am just miserable and have problems going to sleep because I am thinking my life is ruined forever and I am a total failure who should be really successful because I came from good family and went to good schools.

I would like to get this addressed medically since I don't know how else to feel better. I used to think job was what made me miserable, but I guess it wasn't all of it because I am just sad now instead of angry constantly like before.
I am delaying help because I don't know how to seek out a therapist (who would be best for me and not really $$) and a doc to give me meds. I'm also waiting to see if I can afford COBRA. I also have to rely on getting rides from family as I probably won't be able to get driving privileges since I don't work. I am in the Cleveland area in a place where I cannot walk or bike to work easily, especially as winter comes on.

I believe I was not let go with "just cause" so I believe I can get unemployment benefits in OH.
I know I sound like a whiny brat, but I would like to feel for one day I haven't completely ruined my life.
posted by greatalleycat to Human Relations (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
First, you have not completely ruined your life. You will have to work much harder to achieve that feat. Second, I recently moved across country with my girlfriend and have been unemployed for about a month now. I have tried my hardest to find different things to do everyday. Monotony is not a good thing. I have found that I need to accomplish things everyday and that I need to interact with people everyday. When I don't do these two simple things, I start to get down. So, I take my dogs to a park everyday. I talk to people there - dog owners love to talk about dogs. I find something to accomplish at home - do some laundry, clean something, try a different recipe for dinner. And, yes, I job hunt. But, I break it up. Don't glue yourself to a computer for hours on end. Give yourself breaks.
posted by AlliKat75 at 10:03 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sorry things worked out like this for you. I know what it's like... I've been there, and getting fired from a job, even a crap job that you hate, is a huge self-esteem hit. But if it helps, it'll get a lot better. Not to say you won't have job-related issues and disappointments in the future (duh, of course you will) but soon, you'll be back on your feet and able to look on this as something that happened and that sucked, but something you were able to get past. Learn from it, and come out stronger, but geez, in no way have you ruined your life. It's a setback. We all have 'em, but you really will get through it.

I don't have any advice on how to seek therapy and meds, etc, but definitely find ways to fill your time with constructive, beneficial things. By all means, look for jobs. Apply to everything you can, even stuff you don't necessarily want, and make your applications good.

But if you're not working, the key to thriving during unemployment is to find things to do with your time other than sit there and watch TV alone and be miserable. That is what'll sink you, and once you've fallen into that pattern it's hard to get out. So instead, do stuff. You've got all this free time to try all sorts of things. Use it! Like so:

1. Exercise. It's cheap (running, situps, pushups, any number of other things - all free) and one of the best anti-depression "treatments" out there. Seriously - feeling good physically takes you a long way towards feeling good mentally.
2. Learn to cook, healthy-style, which has the added benefit of encouraging you to eat right (which is the other half of being physically healthy).
3. Find a local rec center and take a class. Drawing or photography or landscaping or canoe building, whatever. Learn something new.
4. Volunteer. Homeless shelters, homes for troubled youth, etc all need people's time and talents. And there's nothing like working with people who really need the help to add a little perspective to your life.
5. Explore your city, if you can wangle some transportation. I bet there's a lot to it you've never seen. Go to local festivals; every city of a decent size has them going on all the time. Even if the topic doesn't interest you, going and just being around people often helps depression.

Those are just some ideas - but the key is to get out and do something with your time, even if it's as simple as just walking around. This time in your life can be good for you, and eventually you might even look back on it fondly. Really! Good luck - you're gonna be great.
posted by captainawesome at 10:15 PM on October 22, 2009 [4 favorites]

How do people who were abruptly laid off/fired structure their days?

I quit my job, but it was still an abrupt change of schedule that I had to re-adjust to. While I was unemployed I drew up a list of daily, weekly and long-term goals and tasks (including EVERYTHING - even the most basic item like "Do a load of washing" or "Check and respond to emails" can produce quite a sense of accomplishment when it has a nice fat tick next to it). The tasks would be quite specific. So often a daily plan would be:

9am onwards:
- Go for walk
- Clean kitchen
- Cook and grocery shop
After lunch:
- Spend 1 hour on big application
- Make 3 phone calls from job ads
- Do 1 chapter "What colour is your parachute" exercises... etc.

Boring I know, but somehow all the normal errands of life would seem more productive and intentional if I itemised them on paper and got to check them off.

My number one priority was getting a job, so I did spend at least a couple hours every day writing applications, making phone calls and tweaking my CV. But I also found whatever job I could in the meantime (flipping burgers and scrubbing pots in a take away shop). This gave me a sense of momentum and busy-ness, plus kept me sort of engaged with the world. Even though on one level it bored me senseless, it was a lot less agonising than lonely afternoons wandering about a very clean house! Subway, McDonalds etc are often hiring for these kinds of positions. Or, the odd bit of volunteer work can be useful, especially if you want to get out of your own head during the day.

In regards to trying to find a job that will make you happy, I found this and this post to have some interesting insights (sorry, I have linked to this blog a few times now!)

If you can't afford a therapist right now, would it be at all useful to call some free helplines such as (in Australia) Lifeline, just to have someone to chat to? What about getting hold of a couple of second-hand books with exercises you can try to help deal with depression?

Best of luck with everything.
posted by Weng at 10:19 PM on October 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

I am delaying help because I don't know how to seek out a therapist (who would be best for me and not really $$) and a doc to give me meds. I'm also waiting to see if I can afford COBRA.

How to Have Your Life Suck Less in Two Weeks:

1/ Ask your friends or the parents you live with for a referral to a GP. Failing that, open the Yellow Pages. Any GP will do; prescriptions for Prozac are not rocket science.

2/ Ask the GP for a referral to a therapist. You are depressed, you have been for a long time, you are under a lot of stress and uncertainty with the DUI, and you need some professional help at this point.

3/ Find a job, any job. Retail or Subway, etc are useful because you can usually trade shifts with other people to let you make court dates. If you have to cab it to work and you only break even on a shift, cab it to work. Working is better than not working.

4/ You can't NOT afford COBRA. If you slip on a curb and break your leg, you're fucked. This is not optional.

5/ Make sure you have a lawyer. A DUI is nothing to mess with.

So once those are all in place, it means you are taking some action to get your life back on track. Just doing that will make you feel better even if the meds have not kicked in yet. Once you are a bit more on track, you will be in a better place to organise a new job search.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:55 AM on October 23, 2009

You're in Ohio and it's late October. Have you considered the possibility that you are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder? Whether you have it or not make sure you get plenty of sunshine and exercise. The simplest thing is to walk for an hour or so every day. If you start now you'll build up to being able to do it when it gets seriously cold. Be sure to get up at a reasonably early hour every morning as if you were going to work. Don't get sucked into late night television watching.

As far as Cobra goes you might want to check out whether you'll be eligible for Medicaid. If your only source of income is Unemployment Insurance and you don't have any assets you might well be. Regardless of what happens with your DUI you need to seriously consider going to AA meetings. If you get convicted they may require you to go to them. If you haven't been to court yet you'll fare better there if you can say you've been going.

I agree with DarlingBri that any job is a good stopgap. You won't have to mention it on your resume, it'll keep you busy, and you'll meet people you would not have met otherwise.

Consider doing nanowrimo! Write a novel in a month, that'll keep you busy and it starts very soon.

Be well, be happy.
posted by mareli at 8:10 AM on October 23, 2009

And use the library as your office, go for a couple of hours a day and use their computers or your laptop and their wifi to do your job applications. It'll get you out of the house and maybe help you be more focused. Plus, they always can use volunteers.
posted by mareli at 8:13 AM on October 23, 2009

Response by poster: Good answers, I am going out to the library shortly just to get out of the house. My dad also goes to therapy 3x a week near a mall, so I will go there Monday to fill out seasonal job apps. Will get to doc, but takes forever to get in here, esp. if you want a full physical, which I need anyway. My insurance I heard covers some counseling sessions, so I'll look into that.
posted by greatalleycat at 9:44 AM on October 23, 2009

Volunteer. Benefits of volunteering: (a) it gets you out of the house; (b) it gets you thinking about other people instead of feeling sorry for yourself; (c) you get to be productive, feel good about what you're doing, and help another human being; (d) you will meet other people who may be in the same boat and may be of use in your job search; (e) you can volunteer in something related to your field so that it becomes a valuable experience that you can put on your resume. Try here:


Also, I know the RTA sucks and all, but my Mom got around okay for thirty years without a car. You can do it, even if it's not fun all the time.
posted by bananafish at 11:33 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I see you're going to check out COBRA, and yes, please do that, but like WCityMike says, it may be out of the realm of possibility. When my husband, who carried both of us on his health insurance, was laid off earlier this year, it was going to cost nearly $900/month to cover us. Yes, even subsidized. We looked for individual preventative/catastrophic care policies instead, and found them for about $130/month apiece.

I don't know anything about meds or therapy, sorry, but I can address some of the other stuff.

How do people who were abruptly laid off/fired structure their days? I can't spend all day job-searching, how do you fill time?

Right. When I was laid off last fall (it's been a really fun year around our house!), I was cautioned not to spend more than a few hours a day doing job hunting. So I sat down and made a list of all the things I never had time, energy, or opportunity to do when I was working. This included exercise, learning to cook, networking in my field, small household projects, finding new places in my city to bike and walk, volunteering, having lunch with friends, tons of reading, being able to take my dog to the park on weekdays, seeing my grandparents more, visiting museums (on free days, natch) and going on small outings in my city, and so on. Trust me, there was no shortage of stuff to do.

Optimally, these will be things that take you out of your own head and home and get you interacting with others. The more time I spent all alone listening to my tired repetitive thoughts, the worse I felt, and I wasn't even angry at my former employer or trying to deal with depression, as you are.

Also, things expand to fill the time allotted to them, and so filling the time wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Errands or outings that I crammed into mere minutes while I was working could take whole days when I didn't have anywhere else to be. Sometimes I'd spend a couple hours just wandering around the grocery story studying new ingredients and coming up with new cheap and delicious meals I could make.

In the mornings, I'd get up around nine and dive into the job hunting. And I mean I busted my ass doing it. I've never worked harder than when I was unemployed, and I got more done in that short block of time in the morning than if I'd spent eight hours sitting in front of the computer. At lunchtime, I closed up shop for the day, consulted my aforementioned list, and chose a few different things to do for the rest of the afternoon. Sometimes I'd mix it up, have fun in the morning and work in the afternoon. Avoiding monotony is key.

my life is ruined forever and I am a total failure who should be really successful because I came from good family and went to good schools.

AlliKat75: First, you have not completely ruined your life. You will have to work much harder to achieve that feat.

Quoted for truth. Nothing is ruined; all this is fixable, I promise. You still have the good family and the good education; use them. The anger at your job will fade. I know how hard this is to see, but it may be a good thing, you now have lots of time to refocus your energy and get your life back together without the distractions of a shitty job. Good luck to you—you'll be OK.
posted by anderjen at 3:03 PM on October 23, 2009 [8 favorites]

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