Woes of the Unemployed

I am currently an in-betweener. I am looking for more work/another job. I’ve luckily been able to attain some rudimentary editing and administrative work, enough to buy me saadevich-e zaboon (tongue sandwich) on the weekends, but not enough to survive long term.


The highs and lows of looking for employment are incredible. People tell me that…

Looking for a job is full-time work.

They’re right. But no one is paying me. In fact, coffee shops are charging me $1.95 to leach off their internet for three hours. I’m not working forty plus hour weeks, which makes you feel unproductive in North America. I’m also not working towards a doctorate and receding hairline, which makes you feel unproductive in Iranian North America

I’m working about ten hours of freelance, volunteering another ten, and I have a full set of hair.

The first issue, when searching for work, is dealing with lethargy. The thought can be so overwhelming, that your body and mind completely shut down.


You need to find a way to get past it.

Second issue is dealing with rejection. You likely won’t get the first job you apply for. Or second. Or sixteenth. But you keep pushing forth. I’ve been getting interviews, which is great news, but for some reason I’m not a great interviewer. I can’t seem to master the art of selling oneself in under 30 minutes. Last week I tried picturing my interviewer naked, to ease me a little, but that made matters much worse. Why was there a naked man asking me questions? Why was I suddenly hungry?


Our generation’s, and perhaps older generations’, greatest fear is telling people they’re unemployed. 

“What do you do for a living?” – is a standard question in North America. Firstly, because it’s a very easy conversation filler. Secondly, we judge ourselves by comparing and contrasting what we do to others.

When you’re an in-betweener, and you tell someone that you’re currently unemployed, you get reactions such as “That’s okay, you’ll find something” or simply “Aha.” People decidedly show you empathy – whether it is heartfelt or not (pseudo-empathy?). This is where a dichotomy comes into play. You’re always told to do what you love, and search for what it is that makes you happy. Yet, when you’re looking and searching, and you’re unemployed, all of a sudden you have no idea what you’re doing.

Do note: in no way am I suggesting you will always do what you love. I also am not suggesting that you should keep waiting until the time is right. I believe that you can take a position that isn’t nearly a dream job or industry, as long as you’re moving forward.

You can get great experience and wisdom from a job you hate. And every job you end up doing, no matter how mundane, is new/more experience in your pocket.


I’ve been under-employed (yes, I’m counting my ten hours) for about four weeks now. The anxiety of not finding work does show itself, but there are positives about my current experience. Before, I was working close to 60 hour weeks. I didn’t have the luxuries that I do now. I wake up early in the morning, and go to the library for a handful of hours to apply for work. I then go to a coffee shop in the afternoon and leisurely read. I go to the gym afterwards, and then cook myself a dinner.

I’ve read more in the past month than I did in the previous year combined – discovering my new favourite authour in the process. I get to spend time with my dad, which is really important for us both. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been…for a Persian who loves rice. And, although my chelo kabob diet has not slowed down, I’m eating plenty of vegetables with dinner.

To whomever is an in-betweener. Enjoy what’s in front of you. These opportunities don’t present themselves often. Ensure you’re moving forward, however, do not stagnate. Even though it may sound condescending, insincere and dishonest, it is true what they say…

“You’ll find something.” 

But you have to make it happen.





NIMA نیما

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  1. This is great. I’m an in-betweener, as well. But, I’m also a soon-to-be-mother, which makes my experience extremely confusing. It is so important not to become stagnant. Thank you for sharing this, and for reminding me that this too shall pass. I will press on. Good luck with your job search!

  2. This is so amazing. I have been feeling like this for the longest time: dealing with rejection, putting my heart and soul into applying for jobs, etc. And it always sucks when people ask me what I do and I always change the subject and say I’m “in between” jobs. But seriously, this article made my day because sometimes I feel like I am the only one but I’m not.

  3. Katherine: Thank you for sharing. Although I definitely cannot speak to what you’re experiencing right now, I’m sure it is scary and exciting. Good luck in the coming stages. I’m certain you’re life will alter in the most rewarding ways.

    Nadia: I’m very happy this article helped – even if just a little bit. You’re definitely not alone, and rejection can be very tolling. Life is ever-changing. Remember that no matter how ‘low’ or ‘high’, you’re experiences shape who you become.

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