Bored as Hell Unemployed? Trying to Find a Job You Like? 7 Awesomesauce Tools You Show Know About

by Alexander Heyne · 12 comments

I know what it’s like to not have a job for long periods of time (3+ months). It’s boring first of all. Second of all, it’s depressing as hell.

I’m a college grad, from a top 20 school, with a “real” degree (biology), and I speak Chinese.  You’d think that would matter.

In any case — my story is not that unusual these days.  There’s a ton of reasons why unemployment sucks, but one of the worst parts of it  is the sheer unhappiness that accompanies too much free time. Your mind wanders. You wonder what the hell you’re doing with your life.

You take up old habits again (Smoking, drinking, video games, generic time wasting), and pass the days in a kind of haze.

Not having work is more emotionally draining than anything else — it kind of kills you inside. There’s this old saying that “a man without a job is a man without a purpose.” And I agree.

But one of the cool things I realized though is that it’s matter of learning to use this period to do stuff you couldn’t do otherwise. 

I have a ton of free time now. So what should I do, that normally I couldn’t do?

Before I talk about the seven cool things you should check out, I want to briefly talk about how I managed to keep my mind busy during one of those long stretches of unemployment.

The Art of Being a Curious Bastard

Back when I first came back from China, I was looking to re-enter the job market. I had no idea what industry I wanted to be in, which kind of worked to my advantage, so I looked in every industry.

I looked for entry level business jobs, personal training jobs, secretary/computer jobs, temp jobs, teaching jobs, and pretty much anything else I could try out.

Not even the temp agency could find me much work, so I spent a lot of days sitting at home bored as hell, and sleeping in because I was getting depressed with my entire life.

And that’s when I decided that instead of being a lazy bastard (which is highly unlike my usual self) I would do some 30 day skill learning.

I came upon this video on TED called Try Something New for 30 Days  and figured I would do something like that myself.

So over the period of a  few months I set aside one hour per day (for 30 days) to learn some skills:

  • Improving my handwriting / calligraphy
  • Giving myself a Flow test
  • Meditating for increasingly long periods of time
  • Testing various Teas

As it turned out, I ended up having so much fun that this is something I still do — next month for example, is going to be all about wine.

I’m gonna grab a copy of The Wine Bible, and then each day try a different kind of wine with dinner.  Talk about an awesome excuse to get drunk with dinner…

In any case my point is that you have to be creative about keeping your mind active.  And I suspect for 20 somethings this lack of jobs won’t get any better, so hopefully these suggestions help.

So, without further ado, I present these 7 awesome websites and tools you should check out. They just might preserve your sanity and maybe get you a little closer to work you actually enjoy.

7 Awesome Websites & Tools

#1 Jobstr

Jobstr is pretty awesome.

Think about all those taboo questions you’ve always wanted to ask people about a job.

Ever wanted to ask a gynecologist if it’s awkward as a guy?

Ever wanted to ask a video game tester if the job is actually fun or sucks over time?

Ever wanted to ask a Starbuck’s barista what’s the most bizarre thing they’ve ever seen?

Jobstr has it.

Jobstr is basically everything you’ve always wanted to know about a profession but were too afraid to ask. The cool part is that (to my knowledge) there is no other website or tool like it.

And they already have a massive list of people and professions you can learn about – ranging from dating coach, to dominatrix,  and many others.

Beyond the obvious use for people who are trying to figure out what  to do with their lives, it’s one hell of a good laugh.

#2 Rework

Rework.jobs is basically a job finding tool, where you match your passion to a job.

One thing that is particularly cool about this is that the jobs Rework links you to are mostly “why” organizations, meaning they have some kind of deeper core purpose or mission.

Ever worked a job that had no purpose whatsoever? Like Advertising? Or any kind of money management? Or a cubicle job where you felt like nothing you didn’t make any difference whatsoever in the universe?

That’s the exact opposite of what Rework.jobs aims to do. Check out the picture below:

As a cool alternative job search tool, Rework.jobs is something you should check out if you’ve exhausted the traditional avenues or they just aren’t working (which they probably aren’t).

#3 Yr Doing a Great Job

“Yr doing a great job” is basically a blog where people with interesting jobs get interviewed a couple times a month.

Just at a quick glance, here are a few people that have been recently interviewed:

Adult website talent booker, robot developer, and ice cream flavor developer. 

Like Jobstr, if you’re ever curious about jobs and want to see see what they entail, or if these are jobs you’re seriously considering, you’d be a fool not to check out Yr doing a great job.

#4 One Week Job

Know that feeling when you read a book or hear about a project and think: “shit, I should’ve done that.. that’s a freaking awesome idea.” 

That’s what I thought when I heard about One Week Job.

Basically, this dude Sean was trying to figure out what his passion was, and wanted to see what kind of work he would enjoy.  Like me, he was into trying everything to see what would stick and find out what he was really into. Except he did it to the extreme.

Sean decided to work a different job every week for a year (52 weeks). 

He worked everything from being a Cowboy to a firefighter, astronomer, teacher, pizza maker. The list is pretty cool to check out.

His project got a lot of publicity and now he does speaking gigs for universities and high schools.

You might even consider doing your own One Week Job experiment.

#5 Fiverr

Fiverr is basically a marketplace to sell your services (like Elance) but only for $5.

I recommend Fiverr for a number of reasons:

#1 You can make some pocket change if you’re smart about your services. Thousands of people will pay for hilarious services like this Welsh guy singing happy birthday in a thong.

If you’re unemployed and bored, that’s some pocket change, not to mention one hell of a portfolio and something fun to keep you busy.

#2 it’s a ton of publicity and free marketing if you’re smart about your service.

Trying to get people to find your new startup, blog, or organization?  Do something hilarious on Fiverr and point them back to whatever your project is.

Worst comes to worst, it’s hilarious to see some of the things people are doing:

Just check out some of the people with useful services, regarding business services.

5,000 transactions. Sure you make $5 a pop, but that’s $15,000. Maybe you’ll even figure out what you love doing in the process. Half of these people acting like fools on Youtube seem to end up making six figures anyway…

#6 Taskrabbit

Taskrabbit is basically a website where you outsource errands to “task rabbits.”

First things first, if you’re bored and unemployed, you should try to become a task rabbit if it’s available in your city.

I was totally excited to be someone’s pack mule until I realized they aren’t really that close to where I live. If they are close to where you live, when you become a task rabbit you help people out with a couple things:

  • Moving/loading and unloading
  • House chores
  • Shopping/Delivery
  • Office Help
  • Handyman help
  • Virtual Assistant Help

And these aren’t $5 gigs like Fiverr. Some of these tasks pay a couple hundred dollars, so they will pay you as good as a temp agency might pay you to do a day job.

Of course, if you run a startup, you could always use these Taskrabbits to quickly and cheaply outsource tasks (that you need done in person),  in order to save money or potentially lead you to new people to hire.

#7 Skillshare

Those of you who know me know that I have a lot of love for Skillshare. It’s kind of the startup I always wanted to run but I showed up to the game a little too late.

There are two main reasons that everyone should check it out:

#1 If you have a massive love for learning, you can learn just about anything, from anyone, ranging from making flower arrangements to starting up a business.

The five main categories from the site are Creative Arts, Culinary, Entrepreneurship, Lifestyle and Technology. Use your imagination – you could be learning forever.

#2 If you’re trying to start your own business, Skillshare is a way for you to market yourself and potentially get your first few clients while building your list. It’s also a good way to build up your street cred.

Basically anyone can start a class and start teaching – and can earn money for each student that shows up.  You can also quickly establish yourself as an expert or at least as a knowledgable person, and then launch a full-time biz from there.

One of my friendsJeff Ramos,  taught a highly rated branding and PR course for people. He eventually used this to build up his list, hype, and launch his own branding business.

Skillshare, like Taskrabbit and many other services, is also new so it’s not everywhere yet. Some classes are digital, some are in person. So check out if there are any classes closed to you –

The unemployment (or underemployment) bitchslap

Alright. Aside from not getting paid when you don’t have a job, the worst part is the accompanying “what the hell do I do with my time/life” depression that sets in after about two weeks.

The most important part is to view this as a period where you have a shit ton of time (and you do) to do whatever you want. The trick is to learn the art of the hustle — that’s the most important life skill anyway, isn’t it? Adaptation? Resilience?

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Shayna @ Adventurous Soul October 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Sweet list, Alex. Learning and trying new things can awaken new passions and interests that could unlock new ideas and job possibilities. Unfortunately, as you’ve mentioned in other posts, a lot of our generation seems to get sucked down the black hole of TV, video games, and entertaining iPhone apps. I was actually made fun of in college a few times because I didn’t follow any of the “cool” shows or understand a lot of pop-culture references.

By the way, how are things? Are you still in Asia?

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Alexander Heyne October 22, 2012 at 11:43 am

Thanks Shayna !

Just figured out my comments thing, apparently i didn’t renew Akismet, so in retribution they put all my comments as “spam” , wonder how many I erased over the past month or two *sigh* .

Yeah absolutely! I have a huge passion just for learning new skills, hence my 30 day skills I usually engage in. The other purpose (that I mentioned) is that i don’t have a freaking clue what my “passion” is. No work to me seems enjoyable enough that I could do it forever.

And I was the same as you — I was made fun of a few times for not knowing pop culture references. Now I’m a bit more relaxed – I still watch a whopping 0 hours of TV per week, but I try to briefly catch up on crap, or ask my friends what they mean when they say something I don’t catch.

However, that “Black hole” that most youth fall into today is scary. It really scares me. Everyone is consuming and few are producing.

I think that’s the big thing I’ve realized… if you spend your time producing and not consuming, you’ll invariably get where you want. For example, I just got an iPhone (finally) and I got instagram. My girlfriend and many people I know constantly check their phones just to see their instagram updates.

I’m making a rule for myself that I won’t check any other people’s instagram – just produce. Not consume. Consumption takes too much time if you want to be a producer.

Things are in an interesting place — I decided not to move to Asia because there is only one overwhelming goal in my life – get some kind of business started. It’s that one thing I talk about all day and all night — it’s like the only thing my soul wants right now, but there is massive resistance against. I guess that’s how life is, right? When we see that long hard road ahead we try to fight it as long as possible – EVEN IF it’s the thing we know we want more than anything!

Starting anything is easier in the USA. Traveling or living abroad would give me more to worry about right now — so I’m going to be starting some things while my life is somewhat stable. Things like visiting people in person, cold calling, et.c are also way easier in my native country. But in 2-3 years I will for sure be moving out somewhere new.

How is your English project going? Any new updates? Any new projects you’ve started?

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Shayna October 26, 2012 at 6:44 am

If I were you, I wouldn’t worry too much about work that’s “enjoyable enough that you could do it forever” – keep in mind that you’re likely to completely change careers several times over the course of your life.

It’s like how with relationships, some people believe there is “THE ONE!!!” and fret about finding that ONE person who’s the perfect fit / soulmate / whatever for you… my view is rather that each person has many great, compatible partners who could make for a happy relationship, and thus many possible “right choices.”

One thing that Dan Andrews says is you need to have a passion for business and helping meet people’s needs… not necessarily for the specific topic area. That doesn’t mean topic doesn’t matter at all; however, from my experience, you’ve gotta pick something not so much that you “love,” but something you are willing to stick with and keep working on even when it’s not fun anymore. Maybe that’s some deeper kind of love :-p But I find there’s a distinct difference between these two reactions:

1. “Man, things are tough and I’m not enjoying this… but I’m willing to tolerate the suckiness and push through to brighter days ahead.”

2. “Man, things are tough and I’m not enjoying this… I want out. Now. I can’t visualize a situation where this would ever NOT be sucky.”

The English project is going well, this was my best month yet :-) I’m running a paid Business English course and I love putting the lessons together; however, they are really “meaty” and I’m wondering if I’m overwhelming my students (it’s 30 lessons in 30 days). The pace is nearly killing ME doing all the research/writing/recording. However, the fact that I have paying customers waiting for each new lesson to be published every day is ALL the motivation I need to get it done!

No new projects at the moment… in fact, I cut out a few projects to focus exclusively on getting this one consistently profitable. Although traffic is increasing and customer feedback is good, the whole project still sometimes feels “fragile” some days, like… is this really gonna grow, or is this month just a fluke? Am I really capable of producing material whose quality is up to the level I envision? But each iteration gets better, so… that’s encouraging.

Liz October 22, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Interesting post. I totally agree that most of our peers are wasting their life stalking people they don’t know on social media… I like to think of the iPhone as the adult pacifier. “Get the phone? Got the right app? Got it in your ha”d now? Everything is good!’ Ha. What an epic lie people are paying millions to believe. (That being said, the iPhone can be great, if you use it instead of letting it use you.)

On the subject of jobs: Who says you have to find a full time job if you’re not ready to commit? Ok, ok, I know. Society. But seriously, I work three totally different jobs by choice, and I LOVE it! It feels like I’m constantly on vacation! I’ve had opportunities to work full time that I’ve turned down from all three employers, because I’m just not ready to commit. Another thing I do is work some hours on the weekend, so I can get to chill and take time off in the middle of the week. Basically, I have two mini work-weeks, instead of the full 5 day one. I still get 40 hours per week in paychecks, but I’m playing the game by my rules. And I love it.

In case you wondered what I do? I help manage a restaurant, quote jobs for a commercial contractor, and screen and approve clients for a private real estate investing firm. And on the side I’m studying computer software and Spanish. Life is crazy, but I wouldn’t want it any other way!

P.S. I was the high school joke too, for lack of interest in Angry Birds and too much interest in the Apple OS, and I’ve lived to say that success is truly the best revenge.

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Alexander Heyne October 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Hey Liz !

Yeah, don’t even get me started on iphones hahaha. I just got one (finally) a few days ago, and it does make life easier, but I make sure to be very aware of using it as little as possible.

Haha we’re obviously on the same page about the not committing to jobs thing. I also do one part time job, while I test out other things to see if I like them, and learn about other entrepreneurial things.

You definitely do seem to be a go getter! Got a ton of stuff on your plate, and hey, as long as you’re having fun you are definitely doing something right ;)

Iphones didn’t exist when I was in high school (neither did facebook.. *gasp*) hahaha so our jokes were a little different. I’m not all that old tho! 25. Life moves so fast these days.

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Torbiey February 25, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Ths website is very encouragin wit al ds impresiv advise i really wud av needed

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Gen April 18, 2013 at 9:48 am

Awesome! I’m unemployed and have been keeping busy with multiple projects. Example learning how to make homemade paper flowers, making my own stencils for my paintings and learning new vegetarian meals to stay on my very limited budget, etc. now I have new websites to look into! Thanks for sharing! Che Che ni!

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Alexander Heyne April 24, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Hey Gen -

Yeah it took me a while to realize that this is a PERFECT time to start learning stuff you were always curious about.

You’ve got time, and the internet has all the info in the world – so why not, right?

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Mark May 27, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Hey nice article man, I enjoy your sense of humor in suggesting that biology is a “real” degree!

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Alexander Heyne May 31, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Hey Mark – haha no problem.

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Alexander Heyne October 26, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Hey Shayna — yeah I think this is really good advice.

I’ve been prone to “soul mate syndrome” before — whether it’s with my women or with ideas. I think part of that perfectionist thang ;).

I agree that loving solving problems is a great mindset and a great “passion” to have — but even so, I can solve a lot of small entrep’s problems with some basic internet marketing, and I started doing consulting for that and even though I was good I had no energy to really invest more time into it. Wasn’t willing to. That was a good sign to get out.

Agree 100% on those two types of reactions you mentioned. “but I’m willing to tolerate this for now and push through to brighter days,” is definitely a good mindset. Sometimes though you start things strong (and even for a few months, tolerate it), and one day realize you couldn’t care less about the project. What sucks is that I didn’t realize that at the start — I invested a lot of time and work before it really clicked with me.

And that’s awesome news about the English project!

Yeah that is awesome that you have paid customers already. You were wondering if it was overwhelming – what if you implement a system where a student “checks in” to class, and you can see how much they get done? You may realize you only have to do 50% of what you’re currently doing in order for it to work.

Lol and I hear that “fragile” feeling.. I feel like that’s the anxious life of an entrepreneur :/ . Just had a conversation with Frank of Jobstr yesterday in NYC and we spoke about that constantly fragile feeling.

Hey, if the interations are getting better, you’re doing something right. Keep at it, and lemme know if I can help!

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