One of my friends really likes how Czechs communicate. He says “they tell it like it is.” They don’t sugarcoat things.
So I can imagine if someone is out of work, then they say “I’m unemployed.” Simple as that. It’s ‘honest’, right?
Many foreigners in Prague have commented to me on how direct Czechs can be. The problem though is that the same situation can be seen from different perspectives. There is no ‘one truth’.
One situation or event can in fact have different truths to it.
If you have no job, then maybe you do see yourself as ‘unemployed.’ But to some people it makes you sound like a victim. People can feel sorry for you or feel awkward about how to react.
Compare how these two sentences sound:
- I’m unemployed.
- I’m looking for work in finance.
How you answer this question in Czech or your native language might be different, but in English you’ll get a better reaction from people if you genuinely feel the more positive answer to be true.
Please note that I’m not saying to use a phrase which you feel isn’t right for you. I am saying that how you answer this question, especially at career-related events and at parties, will communicate to others how you feel about yourself.
Other ways to say you’re out of work involve saying what you are doing:
- Well right now I’m spending a lot of time with my family
- Right now I’m spending a lot of my time writing a book/studying/taking language classes
- I’m looking for work in accounting
- I’m organising a trip abroad
- I’m taking a break right now from work. I want to travel and spend some time with the family before I take up my next position
- I’m planning on setting up my own start up/an online business
- I’m looking into ways of expanding my career. I left my last job and now I want to move forward.
Basically while you are not getting paid to work, whether it be for a company or for yourself, you are doing something with your life. Perhaps you’re getting fit again. Training for a marathon. Learning English. Starting an online venture.
Maybe you’re simply working out what you want to do next, and this is totally fine.
All up, rather than focusing on saying that you’re “unemployed”, saying what you are doing with your time will communicate more positive things about you to others and yourself.