One of our writers gives an account of the realities of job hunting, unemployment and the anxiety issues that come with it...
Friday afternoon, and I’m racing out the door to get home. Hop onto the bus and then a dart. It’s only when I’m on the bus, I realise I have forgotten my dart fare, left safe in the drawer at work. I pray that my Leap Card might let me through, alas no joy. 
 
A call to my Dad and he can’t pick me, car is out of petrol, and my Mum’s out but forgot her phone.
 
 I message friends to see if they’re around, no joy. Time to get my walking shoes on and head in the direction of home. 
 
Tired and frustrated after the week, it isn’t long till emotion takes over and I have a little cry walking down the road, trying to be inconspicuous but not really caring too much at the same time. 
 
The radio is my companion as I walk along my bus route, passing the affluent pubs and taverns of South Dublin’s Ballsbridge. 
 
Filled with the after-work crowd, slugging pints and various drinks. They’ll probably get chips on the way home, maybe a fancy brunch at the weekend. 
 
 My walkway lit up by traffic and street lamps. The odd jogger and dog walker. I try to remain positive, and remember that it’s Friday. 
 
I have control over my weekend and if I want to spend the next 48 hours or so job-hunting, I will. I have no money, not a cent.
 
I’m walking because I have no money and no other option. The situation really hits home. I’m grateful that I have phone battery and realise things could be much worse. I’m embarrassed, and feel silly. 
 
A friend reassures me that “these things happen” but internally it’s knocked me for six.
 
I’ve been unemployed for nearly a year now, since I left a steady job at a café in town and went climbing the career ladder. 
 
Jumping at a job too quickly. I completely regret leaving, but regrets are no good to you.
 
 I’ve done odd jobs and internships, and I’m now on my second unpaid internship. To say it is tough would be an understatement, but then again it’s given me more strength than I ever thought humanly possible. 
 
I was never high-maintenance, wasn’t into extravagant purchases. I just wanted enough to live and have some semblance of a life. Now, I’m 25 and still living at home. 
 
My younger brother has basically flown the nest, so it’s just me. I never how I envisioned my mid-twenties. Unemployed and living my parents. 
 
I am blessed though that I have one of the most wonderful relationships with them, they understand the job market is tough and have provided me with unending support and a lot of hugs. 
 
The thing I miss most about having money is the independence. Relying on others for things and not having the freedom to decide what I want. 
 
I miss seeing my friends as much as I used to and look forward to a time when things go back to normal. 
 
There is a tiny little part of me that’s terrified this won’t end and it’s a permanent state. It’s a tiny voice, and I silence it. I refuse to let it get the better of me and who I am. 
 
I am trawling through jobsites day in day out. Applying as fast as I can, applying to anything remotely in my field. 
 
After two unpaid internships I simply cannot afford to take another one, even if expenses were provided.
 
I see friends moving out and growing up, it’s hard not to be envious. I can’t plan or look ahead because until I get a permanent job, I have no income, therefore I am extremely limited.
 
I’ve sat in the dole office, filled out forms and had frustrated conversations down the phone. I couldn’t smile when they took my picture for my social-welfare card, I had no energy. I had promised myself it wouldn’t come to this, but pride had to be pushed aside. 
 
A man sat next to me, early fifties perhaps, close enough to my Dad’s age. He was waiting to get his photo too. 
 
My heart wrenched as I felt for him. Two people, opposite end of the age-spectrum and yet here we were, sitting side by side waiting.
 
Unemployment is a real problem facing so many young people. You have this wonderful ideas and notions that you’ll walk straight from college into a job. 
 
The harsh reality is completely different. It requires a lot of work, many eyes on your CV, websites, word of mouth, connections, and perseverance. 
 
It’s something that has come damn close to breaking me too many times. I have a degree and a Masters and still cannot find anything. 
 
Remaining positive is one of the things I’ve found toughest. I have anxiety and it’s certainly heightened it a bit, the added worry of the future and what will happen. 
 
Working keeps me sane and on a path, and regular sessions at the gym too. I enjoy exercising in the gym because I feel like after I’ve finished, I’ve done something worthwhile and achieved something. 
 
I’m not naïve to think that everything that’s going on hasn’t taken some kind of a toll on me. It has, but I manage it as best I can. I take time off from searching, and watch my favourite things on Youtube. 
 
I know my confidence has taken a battering, but I like to think that it’s merely having a rest.
 
My friends, family and boyfriend deserve the biggest thank you. I wouldn’t be able to function without them, they are so crucial. 
 
They take your mind off searching and while, yes, it is always in the back of your mind, it’s great to be able to focus on the conversation to hand as opposed to what’s on Jobs.ie. 
 
My advice to anyone in a similar position to mine is, don’t give up. Attack the job-market, if people offer to have a look at your CV, take them up on it-the more eyes on it the better. 
 
Stretch yourself as much as possible, it may not be your dream job but could lead someplace else or provide you with some new skills. 
 
Set up job-alerts so you don’t miss anything. Keep busy, routine is wonderful and you’ll thank yourself for it. 
 
Never stop looking, jump on any connections you have and don’t be afraid to push things a little bit. 
 
Most people have been unemployed at some stage in their lives so the majority do know what you’re going through. 
 
Stay positive, it’s hard but celebrate the little mile-stones like securing an interview.