So, What Is It Like To Be Unemployed?

OMG… SO glad you asked.

I’ve been told over the course of these six months that “I’m really lucky” to have been laid off so young. That ~*lucky day*~ for me happened one month and 10 days after turning 26.

I went from being on top of the world at one of the most influential urban publications in media, with my own podcast and a growing resume, to being forced to give back my company-provided computer with its fast as all hell Spotify service, having to pack up my Kanye West tweet-inspired mugs in a super flimsy, white shopping bag (Heaven forbid they BROKE on the way out? Coulda been the Kanye Worst amirite ladiessssss), and thanks to protocol, I had to be escorted to the elevator and chuck, chuck up the deucesssss merely an hour-and-a-half after coming in.

Podcast? gone. Work email? Obliterated. Trust in the system? I don’t know her. Talk about a case of the Mondays.

Lots of stuff happens when you’re unemployed. You not only lose your job: You lose stability. You lose your confidence. You may lose your purpose. You definitely lose your access to the #lol Slack chatroom because you don’t have that connected work email. But if you’re anything like me… you use that anger, that frustration, that uneasiness, to level up, and step into your zjughe (zhjuge? zzujghe? You know the word) as THAT girl.

I allowed myself one, 1, wun day to be super sad about being laid off. That evening, I went to one of my best friend’s apartments, took a bottle of Pinot Greej to the face, and watched Beyonce’s Homecoming for the (then) seventh time. And then the next day, after dry-heaving at 6 a.m., I got to work.

I wrote down exactly what I wanted out of journalism (hey guys… I’m a journalist). I wrote down the stories I wanted to tell, the publications I wanted to pitch, the people I wanted to write about. The world was entirely my oyster at this point, and I was ready to stop pigeonholing myself as “Just J’na the hip-hop writer.” I knew I could be better than that.

I reached out to contacts who could help. I e-troduced myself to as many people as I could. Some editors even reached out to me with ideas. Since that fateful day, I earned six new bylines, one of them being the publication that has been my dream place of work since I was in elementary school. Three times since then, I’ve provided commentary and showcased my interviewing skills on television, and I was tapped by BBC Radio to discuss a topic that I’ve steadily built a reputation for writing about. Jolly good indeed..

This is not to say I don’t have lazy days. Of course, there’s been days on this journey where I would find the most delight staring at my ceiling, eating Trader Joe’s Kettle Corn straight from the family-sized bag, and watching old footage of legendary musicians being shady. Freelancing can be a very slow hustle, and when she’s slow… she’s slow, sis. Then, when work is slow, you can feel like you’re not working hard enough, and it feels like an ENDLESS FXXKING CYCLE of inner and outer frustration. As you could probably imagine (and as you’re likely experiencing right now… shout out to CORONAVIIIIIRUS), being home all day doing absolutely nothing is not legit, and needs to quit (It’s been just six’ish days on quarantine for you normal people, but for me it’s been six months and six days. Imagine doing what you’re doing right now… for six months). But instead of letting the inner pain, the frustration and the sadness consume me, I used it as fuel to go for what I truly wanted.

I may be young but I’m readyyyyyyyy to keep working towards my goals and to push fear to the side in order to achieve them. Am I where I want to be? Oh HAAAAAAAAIILLLLLLLLLLLLL NAAWWWWWWWWWWWW. Absolutely not. But I’m getting there because I’ve been able to zone in on what’s important to me and my career. What’s not important to me (or my entire being) is wallowing in self-pity, and it shouldn’t be for you either.

So to round this up… being unemployed is only the pits if you let it be the pits. You have the absolute power to make a shitty situation no-so-that with the right mindset, the right attitude, and the right idea of how you’re going to change things around. In the words of the great Sagittarian prophet, the legendary Ms. Britney Jean Spears… if you’re in a space where you’re not satisfied about life, your situation, etc…you better WORK towards the life and situation you want.

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