11 Tips on How To Survive Unemployment


During this pandemic, not just people’s health being at risk, but also the economy. And with the economic downfall, one of the victims is the employees. Ever since Covid-19 was declared as pandemic, the number of unemployment in many countries is rising (it still is).


I have known a lot of people and companies that actually created something that may help jobseekers out there. Whether it is a free platform to get freelance work, helping to promote their profile so that companies that are hiring can spot them, providing free classes, and so many more.


Some of them that I know :

-If you are a designer, follow @marvelapp on Twitter and they will retweet your job seeking post.

-Download the app Qoorio and get paid by sharing your knowledge

-Recommend.my is giving free listing for freelancers : https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdF_z_W-pGDQCmuVqQErYdRSxMJ2J_eFVPEf3n-GusFJ9fn7Q/viewform

-FREE UX Masterclass at https://uxdesignmasterclass.com/ with the promo code : CARE


I know how it feels to be unemployed. I have been there before. Certainly not a good experience at all. I feel you!


Being jobless and surviving it (doesn’t mean I won’t be in the future!), I decided to share these tips on how to survive unemployment.


Back in 2019, I was not working probably for 6 months.

By not working, I mean I was not working full time for any company.

There’s more to my status, which I will explain later.


But first, let’s take a look at my tips on how to survive unemployment!


1. Do what you can to survive.

The first few months of me being unemployed, I kept troubling my family by staying at their house, eating their food, and sometimes even asked for their help. It felt really bad that I can’t contribute but instead I am taking up their resources. I know you would feel that, too. You feel that you are supposed to be useful and contributing. But at this point, I advice you to swallow that shame and bad feeling and ask for help if that helps you to survive. If it means you have to stay with your parents, please do it. Just promise yourself that once you get out of this sticky situation, pay their kindness back.


2. Make something.

So this all happens when I am jobless and staying with my family. I luckily have some savings for myself. With that, I decided to watch YouTube videos and learn how to make items myself. Surprisingly, some of them are super cheap and easy to make. To be honest, I did make some mistakes while learning and caused problems! But you have to accept that is part of learning, it is to fail.

Here are some things I made myself : Dishwashing soap, environmentally friendly laundry detergent, DIY compost bin, and natural soap-nut floor cleaner. Some failed ones are, lotion bar (mom didn’t like it), oil-based shower gel (making it from cooking oil, very very difficult and almost running out my budget).




I actually sell the dishwashing soaps and environmentally friendly laundry detergent and make money out of it! I produced lots of it and am proud to say that my family doesn't have to buy them for a long period of time.



3. Sell what you can sell.

I came from KL at the time and live with my family in Jakarta, Indonesia. Before I came to Indonesia, I bought some items from KL that I think have some demand and value in Indonesia. I made lots of fortune from it. It actually helped me to feed myself and no need to touch my savings for 1 month. Other than that, I also sell my clothes (yes, there is a market for secondhand clothes). I also helped my mother sell her phone which got myself a small commission. So, try to look around, see what you have (YOU have, not your family or other people have), and see if you could actually sell it. If you have books you don’t read anymore, sell it. If you have electronics you don’t really need anymore, sell it. They are cheap, but they are much better than nothing.





4. Start a YouTube Channel.

I also started my YouTube channel several months back. It was actually a way of me to train my confidence and speaking skill (which I am lacking of). I didn’t say to start YouTube to get money. In fact, I never recommend youtube to earn money. If you want to start YouTube, don’t do it for the sake of money. Money is just a bonus. Do it because you have to look at yourself, inspect yourself. This is a level above self-reflecting. Sometimes we have to see from other people’s point of view how we brought ourselves, what can be improved, etc. The question is “why can’t we just do it in the mirror or record it but not upload to youtube?”, the answer is because you need a certain motivation and clear goal. When you have the clear goal to upload to youtube, you make yourself have to edit it, find a way to improve its value etc. This is one process that you have to also go through. If you don’t know how to edit, you will learn it. So from this process, you learn several different skills to achieve 1 goal. If you do it regularly, you will find yourself improving.



5. Microtasking

There is a platform out there that lets you earn small money by doing small tasks (microtasking). But this requires internet connection and a laptop/pc. The small tasks are something like drawing a box when you see cars in that image (for example). Or key in the correct data for the field. Before you asked, no, this is not the scam data entry lol! It is more like machine learning and data categorising. Some companies that I know doing this are : Scale.ai , AMT (Amazon Mechanical Turk), Odetta.ai , fancyhands.com , and many more. Some of them are hiring and some don’t, so make sure to find that out first. I actually never do this but I know some people who do and they make decent money out of it and they can choose their own working time.





6. Learn Art

Some people might think that learning art is difficult. But it’s actually not really. Art can be learned by anyone at any age, no matter what your background is. Art is not just drawing, but also singing, acting, writing, making music, and photography. Try to pick one and learn it. Use whatever resource you have, avoid buying expensive items at this point. For example, if you want to learn photography, try using your phone camera first. Once you know that you want to pursue it seriously, then only get yourself a decent camera. Girls and guys, you can also learn make up, manicure, and hair styling. The reason why I advise this is because art is a very human thing. It is not going to be replaced by any robot in the future. So it is always nice to keep a skill of art in handy. Plus, art is fun! So you will also have fun doing it.


7. Ask your friends around

I know that this is a lame advice, but there is really no harm to ask your friends if they know any freelance work. Some of you might be very shy to ask that. But this is not the time to be shy. This is the time to get yourself out and try, be brave! I was really lucky to have a month of freelance work because of a friend of a friend. That one month salary helped me for another 2 months feeding myself, how cool is that!





8. Don’t beat yourself up

You sometimes might be very depressed and think, “I must be so bad that I got into this unemployment!”. I have those thoughts, too. My mental health was the worst the first few months when I was not working. I hated myself more than I hated anyone else. I think of myself as the worst person ever. I kept blaming myself. Until I talked to some people that I thought “they are so good” and they told me that they used to be in my position, too. I can’t believe it, they used to be also retrenched? But they are SO GOOD! Here’s the reality, retrenchment does not mean you are so bad and untalented. Stop thinking of that and stop being so mean to yourself when someone else is already doing this to you. The last thing you need is you beating yourself up. What you actually need is your own support and belief. Believe that a better door will open. Believe that you did nothing wrong and that life has ups and downs. Believe that when you are at the rock bottom, the only way is up.


9. Be prepared to be rejected, over and over again.

The unemployment time really is a tough time. Here’s what might happen : you apply for jobs and you did the best you can, but in the end, they rejected you, they negotiated you, they act like you NEED this job. With all these bad feedback, it is easy to fall to the trap and think you are indeed, not talented. But this is the challenge. Stop thinking you are not talented. No matter how many rejections you got, you are talented! Here’s what I want you to do : every time someone rejects you, rise again and learn harder. Prove them that you are not that someone they think you are. You are more than what they think you are.





10. Don’t be trapped in another sticky situation.

It is easy to feel that you want to get a job and once you do get an offer, you are super excited that you don’t read the contract at all. My advice, please don’t let this fool you. Read the contract. You don’t want to end up being retrenched again, or worse, abused as an employee! I actually did get some job offers during my unemployment but after one of them told me that I am not allowed to read the contract, I feel it is best to protect myself than for the sake of getting a job (soon after, I found out that the company is operating illegally). This , the weird job offer, is part of the challenge. Do not be fooled and read the contract. If they told you that you can’t read the contract, question it. If there is a clause in the contract that doesn’t sound right, ask them.


11. Help other people as much as you can.

I know this sounds contradicting the first advice. What I mean in this is help as much as you can, not force yourself to help because you think that “you must be useful”, “you are supposed to be useful”, etc. There is a difference to them. Some example is : donate some money to the needy (the amount that you think is fine, it is really up to you, don’t feel forced to give a lot just because others give a lot), buy items from the small business, help your sister taking care of their children, help your mother cook, help your family to clean the house, share knowledge in YouTube, tip the e-hailing driver, give food to the neighbourhood cleaner, or even feed the stray dog/cat! As much as you can, that is the key.



That’s it! Those are 11 recipes to survive unemployment.

During this tough time, I hope this is useful to everyone out there.

Just know that you are not alone, you are strong, and you can go through this or any other hard challenging time!


Thanks for reading, keep fighting!




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Leni Tjahjadi

UX Design, Copywriting, UX Writing, Marketing Visual, and Branding

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