Depression Amongst The Jobless
Adibah Iqbal discusses the dirty secret about unemployment… it’s actually depressing. Why does no one tell you that?
‘One in five young people is now unemployed’
(Office for National Statistics 2012)
This is just one statistic that shows young people are struggling to find work. Sucks right? And on top of all of these statistics, young people are being demonised as lazy and lacking in motivation.
Being unemployed for one whole agonising year, I remember opinions and statistics like these really getting to me. They implied that I, because I was young, wasn’t interested in working and if I did want to, I had a very slim chance. The only thing that cheered my up was talking to other unemployed people, because I wasn’t alone; other people were feeling depressed as a result of unemployment. So, if this is such a common thing why does no one talk about depression amongst the jobless?
I talked to Tomorrow’s People, an organisation that aims to get young people into employment. Will, a Task Force Leader of Tomorrow’s People’s Working It Out programme told me
‘It’s not about young people not wanting to work, its about how they are made to feel for not having a job, Their motivation and self esteem to get a job just goes down the pan.We get these young people in, and we have to start from scratch and build them back up again.’
Tomorrow’s People recognise this and so they aim, not to just find work for young people, but also to prepare them for work. This involved activities that get back their confidence, social skills and passion.
Step 1: You’re unemployed and ready to start your new life. This is the time for you to do everything you’ve been interested in doing: start up at a new gym, learn how to tap dance, watch loads of Tedx Talks. Finally, the most important, job search every day till you find your dream job. So you pick up your laptop and search, ‘steps to employment’ or ‘how to get a job.’ They tell you things like, ‘list your skills’, and ‘before handing in your CV, research the company’. You send out a few more CVs each week. You hear nothing back. Now you’re puzzled and your ego is hurt.
Here’s how Tomorrow’s People could help you out of this sticky situation. They have a course in Bristol named Working it out, which is ‘a life-changing programme for unemployed 16-24 year olds. It will give you confidence and motivation and get you ready for work or training.’They will help you create achievable steps and using the contacts that they have with employers, to set you up with links around Bristol. It’s true what they say, its all about who you know then what you know. Will the Task Force Leader of Working It Out says,
‘Use the skills set that the young people already have and direct them to trainers, but young people can chose what to do. They are given the opportunity and they say yes or no.’
Step 2: ‘It was soul crushing’ is what my friend said when I mentioned the word benefits. That was the same feeling I got walking to the Job Centre. Benefits advisers tell you to check job sites everyday, be flexible, make sure that your CV is catered to every job you apply for, and extra things like hide my date of birth and address, as the employer might discriminate based on this information. Making all these changes I still had no luck in finding a job. Speaking to the young people at Tomorrow’s People, I could tell there was a real sense of support from project managers like Will. They help you with claiming benefits and go through all the nitty gritty details, making sure you understand your rights
Step 3: Wake at 12.30pm, eat a breakfast the size of a dinner, put the TV on and watch ‘The Mindy Project’ repeats. That how I spent most days. My bum was imprinted on my favourite spot on the sofa. At 5.30pm, when my sister came home from work, I had to put on the charade that I had the most productive day. I became a master of deception. Even though I could convince others that I was using this time of unemployment usefully, I couldn’t convince myself. You stop socialising as much, and then eventually it becomes a hard thing to do.
I wished I had known about Tomorrow’s People when I was unemployed. I think it would have provided me with things to do during the day, rather then be bored to death on my sofa.
I wouldn’t have slipped into bad routines if I knew that I would have activities to take part in.
They would have helped me socialise with others, rather than become anxious in social situations. Al from Tomorrow’s People says ‘I had lost my social skills, I was seeing no one. When you haven’t socialised for so long, it’s a big thing to do’.
I really struggled being unemployed for so long, although it felt like such a long and stressful time. I managed to find a job, not just any job that I had to settle for, but a job I had always wanted, something that challenged me, but also nurtured me.
If you’re interested in Tomorrow’s People, don’t hesitate to drop them an email or call:
Telephone 0117 924 6815