5 Things To Do When You (Feel Like You) Suck At Everything

Have you ever have a day when you wake up and feel like a total failure of a human being?

Yep. Welcome to the land of the unemployed.

I’ve been out of a full-time employment for over a year now. While I have been freelancing steadily since August, it was never an easy transition to go back to sending out resumes, waiting by the phone, and getting rejections.  And when working on-and-off like I have been, constant fights with EDD over unemployment benefits never helps either.

After so many turn-downs and/or lack of responses, not only I start to doubt my work experiences and professionalism, but I also turn to criticize myself as a human being. My inner monologue goes from “How BAD am I as a marketing/communications professional to NOT get a job by now?” to “Holy hell, I SUCK at everything I do!”

Couldn’t get in the community laundry room to do laundry today? I suck. Didn’t wake up to send off the husband to work this morning? I suck. Singing along to the radio a little off key? Gosh, I really suck. Apartment manager couldn’t understand me over the phone (because apparently I’m that Oriental Wife of the former Marine so I must not speak English). I might as well just stop talking.

And then I’d check my email to find no job lead and the phone hasn’t rang all day. …sigh… Right. I suck.

Is that you nodding along I’m seeing? Welcome to the pity party bandwagon, guilt tripping west.

I am no psychologist but I know this wagon ain’t going nowhere good. And I’m sick and tired of being on it.

The only way to NOT suck at everything is to keep doing SOMETHING. Anything. Especially now that all I have is time.  By keeping busy, I won’t be wasting it sitting around and thinking about how sucky I am at doing what I just did.  And with all this time on my hands, there’s a lot of things I can accomplish.

I just have to get off the wagon and get dirty.

Photo credit: keanoross. @ flickr

There are many sites and articles about what unemployed folks like me should be doing like keeping the resume alive (Volunteer! Take classes!) or keeping myself sane (Treat yourself! Work out!). Since I know ME best, here is my list of what I plan to start doing on Monday to dig myself out of this funk.  This may just work for you as well.

Make a To-Do List of Chores AND Things You WANT to do

Sure, I have a list of all the projects I want to get done in my head. Now I’m going to put it all down on paper. Everything I want to accomplish from chores like reorganizing the pantry and the spice cabinets to finally learning to use Indesign (Helloooo Lynda!) and bake my first pie.

But then, writing the list down and actually working on the items on that list are two completely different things. Therefore…

Put that List on your Calendar and Stick to It

Outside of my food choices, self discipline is not really my strong suit. Ask Brandon. I need motivation and some training to keep me in line.  Some of my unemployed days were easily wasted away with me trolling around the internet half the day or feeding my television addiction another half of the day.

But if I put my mind AND my Google Calendar to it, I can stay on track. Keeping myself on a set schedule will at least get me to finish something. A sense of accomplishment is a great thing to feel these days. Every little triumph helps.

For example, my Monday is going to look like this.

  • 8:00 a.m.: Out of bed, sleepy head!
  • 9:00 a.m.: Internet time – email, do your mini side job, social media, job search.
  • 11:00 a.m.: Web work.
  • 12:30 p.m.: Lunch & TV break.
  • 2 p.m.: Check with Brandon about dinner. Do a donation round and hit grocery store if needed.
  • 3:00 p.m.: Attack the pantry and spice cabinets. If enough time, also reorganize cookware.
  • 5:00 p.m.: Snack break / Start dinner.

Now I just have to MAKE MYSELF follow this outline I set up. Then I plan the next day, and the day after that. No more idle time to think negative thoughts. I’m gonna keep myself BUSY!

Schedule in Lunch/Drinks with Friends

The belt has been tightened around the house for sure, but social interaction is crucial to not feeling like a loser. I’m quite a social butterfly. Not working means that I’ve lost a good part of my daily dose of interactions. Getting my lunches and happy hours in keeps me connected to the world. THAT is my main goal. Some people would say reconnecting with folks is the best way to network your way into a new opportunity. It’s not my main goal here, but I surely don’t mind the windfall.

The husband is also very thankful that I talk to people other than him during the day. LOL

Fill the House with Music

For me, a quiet house leaves me too much to my own thoughts during the day. And you know how idle thoughts in these difficult times can quickly turn poisonous. So, I want to keep music going around the house.  When I’m at my desk, Pandora is on. When I’m in the living room/kitchen, the cable music channel keeps me company.

As a matter of fact, I work best when I sing along to the music. Singing keeps me focused on other tasks at hand. Yes, I am weird like that.

Sure, I probably sound like a miniature pig being strangled when I sing. But as long as the neighbors haven’t called the cops or animal services on me, I’m going to keep singing. Besides, how else would you get better if you don’t practice, am I right? 😉

Write the Blog. Write a Note. Write Everything!

I’ve taken to  writing in the little journal I carry around in my purse these days. Getting all the thoughts out of my head seems to help keep my mind off of the situation. Heck, this post came out of my idle time waiting at the optometrist office the other day!  Gosh knows what else is rattling around in my head that never had a chance to come out!

I have neglected my blogs quite a bit even though my 2012 goals were to write here once a week and on Food.OakMonster once a month. This is the perfect time to get caught up.

Now that you’ve seen my list, please do share your experience. Any tips and tricks I should add?


  1. Pingback: Managing my time so that it doesn’t manage me

  2. Annette   •  

    I should have read this earlier, you could have helped me unpack all this month!!! Or least talked while I unpacked. I get distracted too easily.

    And you don’t suck. Anything but.

  3. anonymous   •  

    I apologise but organization will not help the fact that I suck at everything I do. Btw, I have a very high self esteem

  4. OakMonster   •  

    Hey. You have high self esteem. That’s ONE thing you don’t suck at!

  5. Just Another Kid Cursed by ADHD   •  

    As much as this could help, it really doesn’t apply to me.

    Where I am if you are ADHD you are very looked down upon. I’m considered a freak show cause I can’t pay attention very well. It helps that all I get are comments saying how stupid I am and how ADHD kids are mistakes.

    Thanks for trying.

  6. A M GOMEZ   •  

    Explain how this has to do with unemployment? There’s alot of other factors that contribute to said feeling of doubt. Please be more specific with this blog for people that are employed but can’t do anything right.

  7. OakMonster   •  

    I think I was pretty clear at the top of the post there how my state of unemployed made me feel–useless and a failure. Idle hands, and all that. I find busy work to do and things that make me happy, and I did it. By doing something–anything–got me out of my funk. Things aren’t going great, change it. I hope you find your own way.

  8. Athena   •  

    Hi, yeah, I still suck at everything, I have nothing to do with my life,I don’t know what to do as a job, I cant read write draw or sing which is basically all i enjoy in life, I hate exercise and all my friends think i’m depressed, any suggestions?

  9. Vinny da Freak   •  

    Thanks this helps


    Hey this is great, keep it up!

  11. E   •  

    This has really helped me. I am also unemployed right now and feel like I suck at everything. One tip that I am going to practice tomorrow is to give myself a break and not apply to any jobs because I keep just wearing myself. I feel after doing this I’ll be reconnected to what I am good at and most importantly brings me joy outside of work.

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