Take a chance....It's time to move forward!
Updated: Nov 11, 2021
This article is a representation of how I have been coping through my days being unemployed and continue to do so, till an opportunity comes my way (hopefully sooner, than later)! Through this article, I'm hoping that some of you who are going through a similar situation will be able to get some inspiration, learn something new or come up with new ideas to share.
I’ve spent a lot of time indoors in the past 1.5 years and it has taught me a great deal about myself. I’ve also realised that I’m much stronger than I think :) Of course, some days are better than the others. I'm a person who thrives on learning new things, problem-solving, coming up with concrete and creative solutions in different areas, such as improving employee engagement, organisation culture, art & design and recently it has been Coding! Well, I like to be diverse and keep myself engaged as much as I can. Having said this, I would like to share a few things that I've worked on and I'm continuing to do to stay optimistic.
Acknowledgment and Reflection:
It's okay to not be okay! I realised that it is always good to acknowledge how you feel, especially when times are tough. This has helped me to become more aware of my behaviour and actions and work towards helping myself-which can be challenging. For this, I try to set a routine for myself which helps organise and re-organise my thoughts better and fill in the gaps by trying to do meaningful things each day.
Writing down my thoughts is also a way that has helped me to reflect better. It’s nice to write down what you’re going through, why do you feel a certain way and what would help you change how you feel and move forward. It’s also good to write down your achievements and give yourself credit for them.
Going out for a stroll or a bike ride among nature or sitting outdoors for a few minutes (by maintaining social-distance!), really helps me clear my mind. In these times, it would be difficult for many, but it’s amazing how just sitting at your window, watching channels like NatGeo, Animal planet or listening to playlists of nature sounds (however ridiculous this sounds!) can calm your mind down and make a difference.
Music and podcasts:
I spent my mornings switching on and listening to random Spotify playlists of all kinds of music - English, Dutch, African, Indian songs and songs from the 90's! I listened to a few podcasts too - Armchair expert, Ted talks, HBR, etc. I realised the impact this had on my days and how this action helped me cheer up.
"Try to find something that is enjoyable and works for you."
I did not understand the impact of volunteer work until I started being a volunteer myself.
My experience with English Academy for Newcomers helped me use my existing skills in Human Resources and understand the impact of my small contribution towards a newly-founded and constantly growing and developing NGO. It helped me realise how fulfilling it is to support and give back to a great cause. I will always be grateful for this experience!
Don’t give up on your passion:
I've always had an interest in Art and Design. During my free time and in between looking for jobs in the Netherlands, I decided to create my own art page YellowandNew. Little did I know that this would open up my exposure to art and some really talented artists to learn from. I came across Seeyouatart on Instagram and I am so glad that I received an opportunity to volunteer for them. Seeyouatart works towards the development of artists and others interested in art to discover and express their story through their artwork, which is something I resonate with. This experience helped me develop my creative side and also learn a lot through observation, organisation and expression through my artwork.
"Take a chance, try something new, you never know what you will learn from this experience. New skills, connecting with more like-minded individuals.. it could be an exciting new journey after all."- Vanessa Christina DSouza
Social Media networking:
I'm not as active as I used to be on social media. But strangely enough, when I was a bit more active it served as a great advantage in getting so many things done for me, especially when I lived in The Netherlands. Through Facebook I was able to get my volunteer role at EAN, as well as a part-time job at Firestone! Even my exposure to art and exhibitions through Seeyouatart foundation was through the help of Instagram! There are some amazing people out there who are ready to help. I also met a lot of great people who supported me through my good times and bad. Therefore, my opinion is that social media can be your best friend if you choose to use it wisely ;)
Being a master graduate in L&D, I absolutely acknowledge the importance of keeping your mind active, learning from others and learning by doing. As adults, we are responsible for our own learning journeys. In the past few years, I've completed many online courses on topics that I've found interesting. I’m currently in the process of completing courses on HR analytics and Art-Therapy. The most exciting new project that I've given myself so far, is learning how to code. This might sound random to you (looking at my work profile) but, I’m confident that someday I will be able to integrate these skills with the work experience that I have and find my way. #transferable skills
When I was writing this article, I realised how much I have achieved during my free time. These are things that I still have to reflect on more and continue to work towards each day. I try my best to follow what I have done, but sometimes it gets really tough.
I also believe that we all have different ways of learning and there is no one solution fits all approach. My advice to myself is: Don't beat yourself up by comparing yourself or your journey to others. If you are not able to go out for a run or achieve that goal that you set for today, it is okay! Take your time to sit back, relax, breathe and focus on moving forward than getting stuck in a rut. I'm optimistic that all the steps that I have taken are moving me in the direction towards working in an organisation that values creativity and versatility.
Here’s to staying optimistic and grateful about what we have today.
Thank you for reading!