Unemployment in South Africa & My Experience

Losing your job and source of income sucks. We’ve heard so much about how it affects you financially but what about how it affects you socially?

In this country, there are high unemployment levels that are related to the high population growth, low growth of the economy and increase in technology. This has led to fewer production processes requiring labour

In case you’re wondering why I’m talking like this, it’s the economics I did at varsity kicking in…

With all that, I never thought I’d find myself in this position at this stage (or any stage in my life actually). But here I am!

I’m just as vulnerable as many other people.

Honestly, sometimes I get so lonely. 9 to 5 everyone else is at work, socializing with colleagues and I am at home job hunting on my laptop alone, all day, almost every day. My social interaction is so limited.

I don’t have money to go out for obvious reasons. Occasionally, I take a walk to buy whatever from the shop but even then, I don’t really talk to anyone because I don’t bump into people I know at that time – they’re all at work.

I also try not to go to the shops unless I have to in order to avoid spending the little money I have.

Sometimes I even run out of data and when the wi-fi wasn’t working I was truly at my loneliest during this time. I couldn’t communicate with anyone. I had to wait for people to call me and even if they texted, I couldn’t text back…

Even when my friends have free time, I’m a bit sceptical to let them come over because I don’t want it to seem like I have visitors all the time while everyone else is out at work. It’s just not a good look, so I only have people over every so often.

It’s actually even sadder to see just how many of us in my friend group are struggling or have struggled with unemployment. Imagine, I’m sitting at home facing 30 and I can’t even afford a cake for myself.

I’m even considering relocating to see if my luck may change because honestly, I’ve tried. That in itself comes with its own challenges such as relocation costs; which I can’t afford.

I have given my CV to countless friends and family, even people who come to do odd jobs around the house and still nothing yet.

Not so long ago, I was interviewed for a job I applied for in Port Elizabeth but I don’t know anyone there and the salary they are offering won’t be enough to cover my relocation costs or the cost of living.

It’s truly frustrating!

Before you start wondering, I have asked people I know if they can hook me up with a job and none of them knows anyone that’s hiring at the moment.

I’ve come up with my own daily routine to keep myself sane and try to use my time effectively by doing schoolwork and assignments during the hours I would have normally been at work.

Even though I’m not working, I try to treat myself as if I am by waking up and trying to spend the hours of 9 to 5 being productive whether it be job hunting, working on my blog, reading, etc.

Another frustrating thing is that when applying for jobs, you’ll see a job ad that sounds right up your alley… until you read specs. That’s when you realise “Oh shit, I’m too old!”, or you don’t have enough experience or sadly, you’re overqualified.

Job hunting photo by Viktor

Unemployment impacts people psychologically too.

According to various textbooks and articles I’ve read, these are some of the psychological effects of unemployment:

  • Depression
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Increased hostility
  • social isolation
  • decreased life satisfaction

I’ve personally experienced some of these; especially the decreased life satisfaction.

I often find myself feeling angry with myself and my situation. Oftentimes wishing I had done things differently or made better decisions to prevent myself from being in this situation. But it is what it is, I guess.

I have been unemployed for over a year straight. Let me tell you, it takes a lot of mental strength not to throw in the towel and bury my head in the sand! I have days when I feel this way but I tell myself I have to stay positive. This situation is temporary.

My unemployment is the cause of lots of major tension at home. Occasionally, it feels like I’m treated as if I’m not trying when I, myself, am having a tough time with the situation.

I miss those morning conversations at my old job with the boss and colleagues and office banter but hey… it is what it is…

It’s tough losing a job because finding a new one can take way longer than we would like. One has to find a way to stay positive and keep their head up!

Covid 19 has only made finding a job more challenging for me. When the pandemic started, people would morbidly say to me, ” Don’t worry, with all these deaths, you’ll get a job”. Well, THAT didn’t happen…

I have a few things I’m trying to earn an income from (monetizing this blog being one of them). But it’s not that easy and will take some time. I just gotta be a little more patient…

My ways of keeping busy are working on my blog, reading and getting out when I can. I’ve spent most of my days writing since losing my job and it’s contributed to me becoming a better blogger.

If you’re in the same boat, try not to let your situation get the better of you. Our next income opportunity could be closer than we think!

Read about my experience with unemployment here!

A true-crime-obsessed, quirky lifestyle blogger from the coastal city of East London, South Africa whose interests include reading, writing and fitness. Find me on Twitter @WeirdnLiberated.
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