‘Misfits’ Erase Stigma of Unemployment

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There’s no point in sugar coating it – being unemployed sucks. Aside from the fact that you’re not getting a paycheck, there is also this stigma that comes with being unemployed. Unemployment has this way of eliciting unwanted pity from others and creates internal frustration. And then, there’s the added factor of trying to figure out how to fill your days when you don’t have that 9-to-5 keeping you busy. However, these components of unemployment are things that people rarely talk about…until two best friends came along.

Pavi and Nammy, two friends living in Houston, both wound up becoming unemployed around the same time. While they have been friends for years, this was the first time their professional lives had become parallel. Pavi was laid off from her engineering position in the oil and gas industry, while Nammy left her job to move to Austin, only to have to come back to Houston with no job. Both women had been in the unemployment position prior to the current standings, but this time, they decided to take a new approach.

The girls developed the idea of “The 9-to-5 Misfits,” a YouTube channel dedicated to shining a friendly light on unemployment. After talking about their own unemployment situations, and the number of others in the same shoes, Pavi and Nammy opted to help. “It hit us – if we could just give all of them an “unemployment buddy” like we had, and tell people about our previous experience and all the lessons we’d learned, maybe it would help others feel more at ease,” said Pavi. The girls realized that now was the best time to do this, being that they were going through similar struggles. “That’s what set everything in motion. We started to talk about it and felt so much better, because I’m going through this with my best friend,” said Nammy.

The YouTube channel has a series of episodes that are dedicated to different topics under the umbrella of unemployment. The first episode explains Pavi and Nammy’s backstories, and gives viewers (especially those that may be experiencing the same issues) some reassurance and a good laugh. Additional episodes feature topics including: budgeting, staying fit, keeping a good social life, etc. Every episode features sound advice straight from the mouths of those who have gone, and are going, through unemployment. The most inspiring aspect of the Misfits is that they are deciding to be true to themselves and are looking to achieve what they want in the form on entrepreneurial-ship.

Nammy asserts that, when going through the trenches of unemployment, you should always replace the word “should” with the word “want.” Instead of working in a field that she felt she “should” be part of, she finally asked herself what she wanted, which is how she happened upon this venture. Pavi feels that it is important for people to always tell their stories. With that, she wants people to know that it is normal to feel down when unemployed, but, at the end of the day, it’s not your fault. “I know that I needed to learn that the hard way because I did go through all the phases of death when I was unemployed the first time around and got depressed because I felt like I wasn’t worth it. I listened to that key piece of advice this time around and saved myself from eating all the contents of my fridge in one day,” she said.

Since beginning the channel, there have been a few things that the girls have learned. One of the most fascinating has been the amount of people within the “Misfit” community, and how many inspiring stories these community members have had to share. And, as this community grows, there are many eyes on Pavi and Nammy’s story. “When you’re doing something creative and you’re sharing something intimate with the world, you’re in this really vulnerable position and any feedback or constructive criticism you receive can seem almost like a personal attack,” said Nammy. However, they are learning to be more open and objective as their endeavor continues. At the end of the day, Pavi and Nammy are helping to improve the stigma that comes with unemployment, and want others to feel they have a friend in their corner.

Photos Courtesy of Facebook.

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