Tuesday, 04 January 2011 16:45 Written by  Priya A. Shah

Sucks is the only word that I can think of to describe unemployment. As a writer and recent college graduate, my vocabulary should sound a little more mature and sophisticated. But when days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months, there is no better choice of words than “this really sucks.”

However, some people know how to turn a negative into a positive. I recently came across a blog, www.mscareergirl.com, about helping young professional women find their path to success and happiness. I’m one of those sappy people who believe your line of work and happiness go hand in hand. But don’t we all believe that? Don’t we all want to do something that we love? It doesn’t necessarily have to put a smile on your face 24 hours a day, but it should be something you want to be doing.

I got in contact with Nicole Crimaldi, founder of www.mscareergirl.com, who has put together this website to inform others about topics such as life after college, career advice and personal finance. After explaining my current situation and my endless string of misery, she asked me, “If what you're currently doing is making you unhappy, what you can get rid of to make yourself happier?”


The more I thought about this question, I realized that it goes beyond just job searching, but it applies to a person’s lifestyle. Honestly, job hunting for eight hours a day will make any person insane, which brings me to passion projects.

In Nicole’s blog, there was an article called “How Eight Months of Unemployment Turned out to be a Blessing in Disguise” by Srinivas Rao, who talked about passion projects. We all have them. Passion projects are our one days… “One day I’ll go rock-climbing.” Passion projects are things that we’d like to do but claim that we don’t have time or resources for. I’ve mentally stored away numerous ideas for passion projects throughout the years. Granted I had school and internships to focus on, I’ve used the excuse of not having time more than I should have. I can’t argue that I don’t have the time now because time is not a problem for this unemployed girl. Some passion projects may require some funding such as traveling. However, there are plenty of inexpensive passion projects that people can do. Exercising was something on my list, so I joined a gym a few months ago. It beats sitting at home doing nothing all day. Srinivas took up surfing. “When I was unemployed, I literally would spend six hours a day hanging out at the beach and surfing,” he says in his article. “I’m healthier, happier, and have way more energy because I found this outlet.” He states that finding an outlet that will get you through the unemployment period will be much more effective than sending out a million resumes every day.

My very good friend Helen Gebregiorgis recently graduated Columbia College Chicago after studying film. She’s in my situation; however, she’s using this time to work on her own passion project. As an independent filmmaker, she and a friend are currently traveling for about five months to document life in East Africa. They will travel to Eritrea, Egypt and Kenya. They’ve been very determined about rising money with bake sales and starting a funding account on www.kickstarter.com called ‘Cornucopia of Africa.’

This proves that passion projects, no matter how expensive, are possible. And I encourage all of you who are currently out of work and sitting at home doing nothing and complaining about how much it sucks to be unemployed to pursue your passion project. And please don’t say you don’t have one because we all have them. You can take one of mine if you’d like.

Priya A. Shah

Priya A. Shah

Priya A. Shah lives in Chicago. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2010, where she studied magazine journalism and fiction writing. She has been a staff writer for GMO since 2007. She’s written and interned for various media outlets such as India Tribune, Today's Chicago Woman, Tribune Media Services, GlossMagazineOnline and Echo (the student produced magazine for Columbia College Chicago). She’s contributed to A Fresh Squeeze (afreshsqueeze.com), an online publication for green living in Chicago, and her school newspaper, The Columbia Chronicle.

Priya can be reached at Priya@glossmagazineonline.com or Priyaashvin@gmail.com