The Fear Sunday #3: Unemployment & Moving Home, Is It The End of the World?

This week, Jean Louise from Cork takes on two big struggles plenty of us in our twenties and thirties across the country are either dealing with, have had to deal with or may have to deal with soon. If it’s not us, it’s one of our friends. I don’t think any of us grew up expecting to find ourselves unemployed and/or living at home at this stage of our lives, so while it’s fairly common, i think it can still be incredibly difficult and throw up lots of unexpected tears. Jean Louise shares the areas that were positives for her within it. Because she is a trooper. as are you.x

Jean Louise McCarthy

The Joys of Unemployment and the Move Home to Mammy and Daddy

By Jean Louise McCarthy
Primary School Teacher at Department of Education and Skills, Ireland
LinkedIn | Twitter

If you talk to any 20 something year old in Ireland these days, there is a common thread among us all, well common, at some stage of our short existence to date. We have all struggled in one way or another with unemployment and the prospect of moving home to Mammy and Daddy. For some of us the, mere idea of moving to back to the mother nest sends shivers down the spine while for others it is a natural progression after college with no job in sight. For me, it was slightly…who am I kidding, completely different this time.

I worked on and off for the last three years as a substitute teacher but got by with grinds and hours of hockey coaching on the side. I was finally working full time as a teacher but that was short lived. I fell unexpectedly in my classroom in May, damaged my back and haven’t worked a day since. I moved home to Cork after six straight years in Dublin and struggled to remember what living at home was like… but I’ve learnt that the positives greatly outweigh the negatives, let me tell you that.

Forget about the negative connotations

De gnáth, ‘unemployment’ has negative connotations but I have chosen to see the bright side and the light that is shining in my favour. Firstly, I have learnt a whole lot about myself in the last few months. I have always prided myself in being fiercely independent but moving home allowed me to revisit parts of my personality that I had closeted for quite some time, I have taken up an old love of mine, singing, started to learn a language and rebuild my emotional state that had been knocked.

The freedom of learning what I want

My free time has allowed me to begin on my conquest to learn German. My brother lives in Austria and I would love to be able to communicate with the locals and relations when I am visiting. I started taking a night class in German to get me started on the right track. From having very little prior knowledge of the language, I now have the basics skills of a conversation, I would feel confident in simple conversations such as ordering in a restaurant, asking for directions and a simple polite introductory conversation. It’s a lot more than I had a few months ago! I’m now teaching myself from books and a brilliant little app called Duolingo and the freedom of learning what I want and when I want is pretty refreshing!

New people, new hobbies

When I moved home in May, a stark realisation hit me, the majority of my buddies from school have moved to Dublin. As much as I love spending time with my wonderful parents, I needed to socialise with some people my own age. I began to sing with Choral Confusion in Cork and I have never before found such a diverse group of accepting people in my life. Wednesdays are a highlight of my week where for two hours we sing to our hearts content and laugh uncontrollably at the string of jokes that naturally occur. You might even find us rewarding ourselves with a pint of some sort in the pub afterwards… it is always deserved! Joining a group was both freeing and daunting all bundled into one but I’m glad I took that dive into the unknown.

Time with your parents as an adult

While moving home has been a change for me it has also been a blessing in disguise. I have always had an incredibly strong relationship with my parents but living at home as an adult you learn a lot about your parents and yourself in a different manner. I have built an even stronger relationship with my Mammy and Daddy and their unconditional love for each other and me is overwhelming! They love me whether or not I am working and only wish the best for me. They have been my support for the last 25 years but they developed into my backbone these last 7 months. If you had asked me a year ago about moving home, the mere thought would have been shunned and removed swiftly from conversation. Now, the idea of moving away from my parents and Cork seems overwhelming, daunting and a prospect I’m not willing to consider right now. It’s funny how things change right? The Three Musketeers will stay together for a while yet!


Tips from other GirlCrew girls for those of you who have a wee bit of ‘free time’

  • Join GirlCrew!!
  • Take up a hobby
  • Learn a new language
  • Join the gym, great for you both physically and mentally
  • Read the books that are gathering dust
  • Volunteer to walk dogs from a dogs home
  • Volunteer at a nursing home
  • Reconnect with old friends and make some new ones
  • Working is fulfilling but there are many things that bring fulfilment, joy and positivity when we aren’t working. Be who you are, be happy, be positive and be grateful because we all have something going for us. 
  • You are who you are. Not the work you do. We define ourselves by other’s criteria. We need money to fulfil basic needs so in that sense it’s important. But they don’t put your job on your gravestone, if that’s not too morbid. They put who you were to other people.’

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