Gaming has always been a hobby, an escape and a social meeting arena for me and my friends. Gaming has provided me a place where I can go and not bring any other thoughts with me, my own personal sanctuary…unemployment briefly changed that. Unemployment has a tendency to twist the things you enjoy and turn them into moments of self conscious periods of doubt. Unemployment is a computer virus on my hobby.
Gaming in the evenings, after a day of stressful and frustrating work, was end-of-the-day therapy for me. Coupled with a hard workout, gaming was cure number two for the weekly grind. As long as I could get in 1 1/2 hours of gaming every two days, coupled with an hour of working out a day, I could usually go to bed and rest. I could usually make it to the weekend and be able to let everything go and enjoy those two precious days that start with a “S”. You would think with more time to enjoy my hobby then all the better?
For the first time, the first weekend not being gainfully employed, gaming did not bring the same meditation it once did. About 5 minutes in to my pastime that Friday afternoon a storm stealthy blew in and within its lightning strikes rode the unemployment virus striking out at my lightning rod brain. I immediately began to doubt the efforts I put into job hunting over the last two days. I questioned if I saw and applied for all the new jobs posted that week that even remotely related to my education and work experience. I immediately worried that I had missed touching base with someone in my network. I would worry that I wouldn’t hear back from someone in my network. I would worry, I would worry, I would worry, I would… die, in my game. Distracted and infected with the unemployment virus I let the walls to my sanctuary crumble and fall, making a ruin of my once great gaming monument.
I had to take a step back. I had to refocus my thought process. I had to be able to enjoy one of my favorite hobbies again. I had to reassure myself and cure this unemployment virus. The first step was to look at my job hunting process I set up. I looked over the spreadsheet I created (complete with columns for links to job descriptions, company names, date applied, follow up dates and contact names and their numbers/emails) and the jobs I had already applied to. I reviewed my resume again, updated my LinkedIn profile and looked back over the two new cover letters (a generic and a targeted one) that I created a day before. I made sure I provided updates to all my social media accounts that had a place for a status – “Freshly unemployed and on the hunt. Any leads would be appreciated. Experience in journalism, marketing, corporate communication and much more. For details to my education and work history please touch base.” – was noted openly and hopefully. I realized I was organized and running hard as if I was being whipped by Ron Turcotte himself. I also realized that keeping organized and on a routine similar to a regular work week would help bring back my peace of mind.
That Monday I got up at 7AM as I would usually do as if working. I worked out, showered, made coffee and then set down at my desk for my new job… job hunting. I applied to new job posts I felt qualified for. I updated my spreadsheet and checked on follow up dates and made a couple of calls. I checked the social networks for any mentions of possible employment and to double check if there was someone I hadn’t reached out to that I should. I ate lunch then checked if there were new posts for possible employment or emails in response to earlier applications.
I did my new temporary job into the afternoon and then stopped. I saved my spreadsheets and other documents, logged out of my social media sites and closed down my email. I then started up Steam and joined a friend already in a Team Fortress 2 game. I shot ‘noobs’ in the face and burned their backs with a flamethrower. I destroyed sentry guns and teleporters. I checked for spies in our base and air pushed back temporary invulnerable opponents. I sneaked out a doorway and off a ledge, burned half the opposing team to death from behind and pushed the game ending bomb-on-a-cart to victory as the hated pyro.
I did all this and thought about nothing else. I cured the unemployment gamer virus with organization, practical effort and the reassurance that I am doing (and will continue to do) all I can to once again be a gainfully employed gamer. I enjoyed gaming.