Unemployment can be scary, frustrating, downright confusing and just about any other negative adjective out there.
And if you're a Millennial fresh out of college, with big ideas and even bigger goals, a fruitless job hunt can really start to bring you down.
But consider this: The time between graduation and landing your first post-grad job doesn’t have to be such a nightmare.
You’ve probably heard this before, and for good reason. You are in uncharted territory. For the first time in your life, society isn’t dictating what you have to do.
Yes, getting yourself a job to start your career is the typical path to follow, but there are a few things you might not be considering.
1. You are free.
This could be the last time in your life when you have nothing tying you down to one place.
If you don’t have kids, a significant other, a mortgage or a steady job, the possibilities are endless. You can travel, make a big move or take on a new hobby without neglecting other immediate responsibilities.
Maybe that means accepting a temporary job or living with Mom and Dad for a while to save some money, but don’t be afraid to try.
2. You have time to be introspective.
You can learn a lot about yourself when you have little else to do other than ponder your own thoughts.
Whether you’ve been unemployed for six weeks or six months, this can be a stressful time. What you choose to do in the face of that can help you better understand your goals, and what you’re willing to do to reach them.
Maybe this is a time to rest, or maybe this is a time to test the skills you’ve acquired over the years. It’s ultimately up to you, but it’s important to follow your instincts and be true to yourself.
3. You don’t have to settle.
Assuming you intend to use your college education, you want a thriving career.
That doesn’t mean you have to settle for a job you aren’t happy with, and you shouldn't neglect other ambitions because you feel obligated to work right away.
This could be the perfect time to work or teach abroad, or this could be a chance to volunteer for a cause you care about. Doing something you find fulfilling will help give this in-between time value, and maybe even something to add to your résumé.
4. It’s okay to be indecisive.
You don’t have to know exactly what you want to do right this minute.
Remember when your kindergarten teacher asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? Chances are, your answer was very different from what it is now, and it could still change in the coming years.
But that’s okay! You can explore different industries and positions before you decide what works best for you. The career you have should be a good fit not only for your skills, but also for your long-term goals and who you are as a person.
Get out of your comfort zone, and give the unknown a chance.
5. You are not alone.
The good news? You are not the only unemployed graduate out there!
Stop driving yourself crazy by stalking your employed friends’ social media posts. Stop keeping track of exactly how many days it’s been since your last internship. Stop comparing yourself to others.
This is normal. Talk to people you know with jobs, and see just how long they had to wait. Better yet, ask people with successful careers how long it took to get to that point. You can bet they didn’t do get there overnight.
Being unemployed at this point in your life does not make you a failure or an underachiever; you’re still learning how to do this adulthood thing. It’s up to you, though, to make something of this time.
Push yourself to new limits. Take some chances. Stop worrying about what other people think. And decide what’s right for you.