FunemploymentHow Beyoncé Changed My LifeKaitlin Coghill

I’ve recently become more stressed than usual about my finances. This is most likely because I’m going to have to start paying some of my student loans next month, and also because I had an expensive post-Halloween-celebration-hangover-breakfast that included a $10 Bloody Mary (woops). I think it’s safe to say that my college education and a night out with my friends were both money well spent, yet I still feel guilty and have unsubscribed from banking alerts that tell me when my balance is dangerously low, solely because they make me cry. This may or may not be a good thing.

So what did I do to fix this? I watched the 20-minute Beyoncé documentary, Year of 4. Though I didn’t make money while watching this gem of a short film, I was reassured that because I am a strong-willed, hard-working young woman who knows what her passion is, I can and will succeed in whatever I plan to do with the rest of my life. I never thought a documentary about a world-famous pop star would inspire the likes of me, a former indie-music snob who refused to listen to Top 40 radio and made fun of people who did (my outlook has recently changed, and I love Beyoncé, Britney and Rihanna equally), but Beyoncé truly has a way with words. Here are some quotes from the film that really made me fall in love with the extremely talented musician, as well as my current lifestyle and future plans.

1. “I don’t need people to think for me.”
Everyone has something to say to those of us that are unemployed. Though the things they say are often words of encouragement, or the common, “You’re not the only college grad in this position,” others are full of advice. Trust me guys, I know that I can search Craigslist and LinkedIn for jobs and that new ones come up every day, and that I should just apply to everything because it doesn’t hurt, and that I should check in on resumes I’ve sent out and that I shouldn’t give up. I, like Beyoncé, don’t need people to think for me. When they try to do so, it simply makes me feel like I have to prove myself to them or defend my actions and let them know that I’m already doing what they tell me to do. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate their interest, but what I’d appreciate more is an actual job. So, advice-givers, how about an entry-level position at the company you currently work for? That’s what I thought. I’ll find the right job when it’s the right time, and I’m already doing my best to make this time the right time. It’s tough out there for us writers and editors fresh out of college, but we’ll find a way to make it work. We always do. Please note, however, that there are certain types of advice-givers that are exempt from this, and they are named Mom and Dad. Their advice is different than that of New York Times columnists and 20-somethings who work for their parents. It’s much more relevant because they know you better than anyone else, especially when it comes to how hard you’ve worked to get where you are today.

2. “You can’t be too comfortable and too confident [in your line of work].”
One day I will not be unemployed, and I’m sure that on that day I will feel a lot more comfortable with my financial situation, and a lot more confident in my work abilities. But hearing Beyoncé, who is essentially a walking empire, say that you can’t be too comfortable and too confident was eye opening for me. Just because someone will one day want to hire me doesn’t mean I’m the most skilled in the field or guaranteed to have that job forever. If I were to become too comfortable or confident, I would most certainly lose sight of what was important, and what is important is to continue growing as a person and employee. We can always do better when it comes to our jobs, and its unsafe to think otherwise.

3. “You should be doing it just because you love it.”
I decided a long time ago that I didn’t need a job that would enable me to make millions. I realized that what’s important to me is happiness, love, relaxation, comfort and being satisfied with my life outside of the workplace. While money can certainly help with some of those aspects, it’s not necessary. This is why I’m happy with my life right now. Though I barely make enough to get by, I’m doing things that I love to do on a regular basis. For example, I don’t get paid to write for this website, nor do I get paid to write for Cat Tales, a non-profit newsletter for a non-profit, no-kill cat shelter in Escondido, California. But being able to write for these two outlets is so unbelievably satisfying that I put my heart and soul into the words I type, and talk about them incessantly to my friends and family. These two writing gigs are what make me feel like I’m doing something with my life, and it gives me hope that I will always be happy as long as I’m writing.

Watching Year of 4 while drinking coffee and taking notes on my server notepad was a really important moment for me. It revealed to me in the clearest of ways that writing is what I want to do, and a writer is what I am. But most of all, it showed me that even if I don’t get paid to do what I am most passionate about, every article, column and story that I write is still an accomplishment that I should be proud of.

The documentary also reassured me that it’s okay to be taking time off between working hard in college and working hard in an office. I used to feel guilty about not yet having a career job, but I now see that I earned this break and should be using this time to learn more about who I am outside of school and work. Trust me, I’m learning a lot.

Thank you, Mindy Kaling, for recommending this documentary on your blog. It forever changed my outlook on what it means to be successful, and what it takes to get to where I’m meant to be.

Check out Year of 4 here.

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  1. Just read all of the articles you’ve posted for HelloGiggles and loved all of them! This one, however, is really amazing. It contains everything I’ve been feeling recently about my life, especially the parts about everyone giving you advice. I’m 21 and have been unemployed for a while and I’m sick to death of everyone giving me the same unhelpful advice! I’m also looking for an editing/publishing job and have been writing on the side. I’ve been one of those people who are in it because they love it, not to make money. Anyway, loved your blogs!

  2. WOW! I love this post. And I found myself more than just a few times while reading it. Beyoncé also inspired me in many way watching her ”Year of 4” documentary, it made me feel stronger, probably wiser and more mature, and take my life in my hands, and listen to my inner voice, beacuse life is about doing what you love, setting your own limits and living it your way. I was tired of people thinking for me and letting themselves tell me what to do and giving their life perspectives as they know what life should be and should not be, and this documentary just came up in perfect time for me to actually realize all this. And no, NOBODY knows and can’t tell you what life is or what it should be, except for you!!! We definitely should consider other people’s opinions, the ones that actually matter, but eventually, we ourselves should be the rulers of our own life, and that’s the only way of living life completely free.
    And this is how Bey inspired me.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

  3. I sent this article to my mom because we’ve been arguing and this explains exactly how I feel better than I could’ve ever said it. Also, I love that Beyonce documentary.

  4. this is the story of my life. i have not finished college but i have been working since i was 16 years old and my passion is to work in film and i also have a huge passion to live in NY. so right now I am looking every single day to find a second job to make my dreams happen. and it is so frustrating because my one job barely pays the bills and continues to put my dreams on the back burner. but reading this tonight reminded im not alone out there. and even though i only work three days a week i am still job hunting and on my off time taking time for myself whether it be reading or watching my favorite shows that teach me something new about film or acting, either way like you said we have the little free things in life that are keeping us going and keeping our passion alive and eventually we will make it where we are meant to be when the time is right. im going to watch that documentary after dinner. i love finding new things that inspire me :D so thanks <333

  5. I am right there with you. 22 year old unemployed college grad who just wants an entry-level job already. thanks for writing this.

  6. great article

  7. I’m in the exact same boat. Nov 3o can’t come slow enough. I just graduated from film school, but live in Alabama, so chasing that dream has been very difficult. Every job that I’m remotely interested requires over 2 years of experience, but they’re considered entry-level positions? So many Catch-22s for us Grads! My goal is to run my own design house someday so I’ve been keeping busy building my portfolio. What you said about doing things that give you purpose couldn’t ring more true for me. My parents and I don’t see eye to eye on that idea. I think it’s a generational thing. To fulfill this sense of purpose while unemployed, I’ve decided to start the inside out project in my community to raise awareness about the problems many people in my county have faced because of the immigration law here. Even when you’re broke, like me, there’s always an opportunity to make a difference :)

    • the exact same thing happens to me. all of the jobs that are even a little bit appealing require two years of experience, REAL WORLD experience that is. all of the hard work i did on my college’s newspaper as an editor for four years don’t even count towards the experience these places want. it’s extremely heartbreaking sometimes. but then i watch uplifting things online and do some charity writing for a cat shelter and i feel tons better. i think it’s great what you’re doing with your spare time. you are not only bettering yourself, you are bettering the lives of others. you are definitely on the right path!

  8. I have been wanting to watch this too upon reading about it on Mindy Kaling’s blog. Brb, googling it nao.

  9. I feel like you knew EXACTLY how I was feeling and wrote this article for me! :) I am in the same situation and I am figuring things out as a I go along. Why didn’t anyone tell me that a BA didn’t guarantee employment? Your 1st point could not be more true. I am watching this documentary at the moment and getting some Beyonce inspiration. However, it must be nice to take some time to “find yourself” with millons of dollars to toboggan the Great Wall of China and scuba in the Red Sea. I guess I will have to settle on finding myself through my Kindle and Starbucks lattes :)

    • haha yes, a cushion of millions must be a great comfort. but i too find myself through caffeinated drinks and, my personal favorite, netflix watch instantlies. i think that we are on the right path if we are already seeing the value of “the little things,” and one day we too will be able to take advantage of priceless, worldly things. it will all happen when it’s supposed to! we just aren’t meant to have fickle entry-level positions at companies we aren’t whole-heartedly in love with.