What to do when you’re broke and unemployed


SO you’re 20-something, you made it through the ball of confusion that high school was, you made it into your dream university then discovered it was actually hell to go through, you embraced the sleepless nights doing assignments and studying super hard and you’ve finally reached the finish line, graduation.

Good for you, you’ve already done better than all the people just sitting at home, doing nothing with their lives, right? Well, you could say that. Now you’re out in the big bad world but as smart and hardworking as you are, you still haven’t been able to land an interview, call back or even a “we regret to inform you” e-mail from the hundreds of companies you’ve applied to.

So, basically, you are sitting at home with your virtual diploma or degree right now. You are broke because you don’t have a job and your parents have no reason to give you money anymore because you’re off campus. You probably have student loans that need to be paid and social media is the worst because you are lying in bed watching some of your classmates get their dream jobs and start their lives officially, and you? Well, you’re slowly but surely sinking into discouragement and depression. Life sucks, however, it doesn’t have to be this way.

There are many things that you can do to get your mind off the failure you feel is ahead of you, while preparing yourself for your turn to shine in your career path and I am going to give you pointers on how to achieve this.


The temptation to sit around and feel sorry for yourself can be so strong when you feel you have done all that needs to be done to be employable but to no avail. The important thing to do while you are still trying to bag your dream job is to do as much of the work you want to do in your own capacity. Give yourself deadlines and do various tasks related to your work


Ever seen a job advert that is asking for a really young person with years of experience? Seems ridiculous, right? It probably isn’t. If you’re still at university or in high school, it is probably best that you start volunteering at a place that you will give you experience in your chosen career path. If you’re already a graduate, it is still not too late to start. If you’re studying teaching, for example, offering your services at a local school free of charge would be beneficial to you and your career. You will be gaining work experience and put yourself in a position where the company you are volunteering for could end up hiring you too.


“Fake it till you make it,“ should be everyone’s personal mantra.

Building work relationships with people who are a success in the profession you want to go into is key. If you’re a photographer, make sure you have a long list of professional photographers who you speak to, meet up with or learn from on a weekly basis.

If you’re an architect or lawyer, make sure you know professionals in those fields who can share their knowledge with you, inspire you and teach you the tricks of the trade, so to speak.


I can be very stubborn at times and this worked against me when it came to compiling my CV. I was so convinced that I was doing my CV the right way that I hardly ever asked for any help with it, until one day I realised that I wasn’t getting call backs from the places I applied to. So I decided to research what companies expect from a CV. I was “shocked!” I had been doing my CV wrong the whole time. I swallowed my pride and decided to do thorough research on how to perfect it. I read a book from UCT on how to compile the perfect resume. I changed my approach completely and in less than a month, I got called for my first interview; now that was encouraging.


Not having money can be quite stressful when you’re in your 20s and have so many things to do that require an income. Firstly, whatever you do, do not put yourself in unnecessary debt. You can do without those Adidas Superstars, you can do without that iPhone and you certainly won’t die if you shop at Mr Price, Jam, thrift shops and second-hand places. Sometimes that is where you find the coolest clothes, believe me. Never break your bank to show off because those people won’t be there when you’re blacklisted.

Don’t become a dead weight, swallow your pride and do whatever you can to be something in life. There’s a reason Drake or his ghost writer wrote Started from the Bottom.


A good friend brings healing to the soul and a funny one at that can lighten up your life. Life can get really dark when you’re broke and unemployed. You need a good, solid support system that will provide constant encouragement for you.

Friends who support you through your hassle and know how to get your mind off the worries of life are what you need during this time. These friends also need not be a distraction from your goals but they must be strict when it comes to your development.

Go out for drinks once in a while, eat together and share memes and vines. Go dancing and pull pranks on each other, don’t let life bring you so down that you forget to live. Go to your place of worship and pray with them too. This will keep you hopeful and full of life because no one who is sure that God is for them will ever be down in the dumps about what may be happening in the present.

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