Unemployment on Steroids

If you expected an article full of drama and finger-pointing, I have to disappoint you. This is one of the most positive articles I have ever written.

Let’s get right into it.

With this piece of content, I am trying to do something totally new.

I like doing that.

Trying out things on LinkedIn (This was originally posted on LinkedIn but I decided to unpublish it there as it got a little too much attention), however, comes with a certain amount of risk, as literally most of my professional network is connected to me right here.

I have been trying out different content formats on various topics here and on other social media platforms (Follow me on Instagram) but I think that what really works best for my audience, is to talk about the reality. That is what people really want to know as this is the only thing they can relate to. – And it is something that is scarce on social media.

In December 2017 I decided that I needed to hand in my resignation from my previous position in Montreux and to take my life to the next level. It definitely was a difficult decision that took me almost 4 months to take action on.

My inner circle certainly was not excited about the sudden change of plans.

I have been personally and professionally invested like never before and it felt like I was breaking something, where persistence and patience possibly still were the right answer, but at the same time, it felt like it would be the best time, to move on, when I was at the peak of that experience, and it was likely only to go downhill from there, ceteris paribus.

I left with many great memories that I will keep for life as well as a great sense of accomplishment and progress.

The interesting thing in Switzerland is that, if you resign from a position, you are losing certain rights with the unemployment insurance and you are punished severely which can cost quite a good amount of money out of your personal savings, especially if you have high fixed costs, which you will have in Switzerland. Rent, insurance, tax bills etc, you name it, I am paying it.

So yes, as I said, the decision was not easy and on top of that, very expensive.

However, there was more at stake here.

Looking back at this journey now, it was the right thing to do. I wanted to put out a piece of content on this for a while now, but I needed at least 6 months to pass in order to be able to look at everything from a certain mental and emotional distance.

What I find the most interesting about the whole experience is that I really enjoyed it. Yes, there are many difficult situations and lots of uncertainty but there was also a lot of good stuff. Actually, there was some much good stuff, that I am writing this article on the subject.

I am also so thankful to my inner self, that was able to focus only on the positives and really make this time one of the best learning experiences in my life.

There are these terrible words like unemployment, gaps in the CV etc.

I, for some reason, do not look at it the same way. Obviously, not having a family yet, helps. But it is not only that.

Between job applications and various obligatory workshops, there was plenty of time to realize many little goals that simply went under between the commute, the regular working hours and the 7 hours of sleep.

Now, for the past 6 months, I have been able to accomplish so much, that at no point in time I have ever felt unemployed. I have never been as “employed” in my life.

My goal is to come out better on the other side, a lot better.

While not every week was an absolute highlight, my goal was to do as many things as I could possibly squeeze into my day given the energy that was available to me. The plan was to tick off as many to-do list boxes as possible.

I wanted to progress physically, I wanted to learn new professional skills, I wanted to work on my personal brand, I wanted to experience things, I wanted to evolve emotionally, I wanted to clarify various relationships and I wanted to build/update my vision for the future.

While I know that this is not impressive for many, I also know that this will be an inspiration for a few. So here are the things I managed to do.

1. Social Media

As I am working in digital marketing, I happen to focus on the analytical side of things. However, marketing also has a very creative component that I have been neglecting, probably due to its subjective nature. However, I am naturally a creative person, and I think that I could realize very cool things with content as well as visually if I put my mind to it.

The funny thing is that most digital marketers actually do not have an active social media presence which is very contradictory. Just type it the name of your digital marketing manager friend and see what you will find, or not find. It’s crazy.

I definitely did not want to fall into that category, so I made it my mission, not to only create or update my social media profiles but to actually immerse myself into each platform for several weeks with the goal to increase my following and to put out and curate content. I wanted to be able to say that I know how to use the platform, not only for advertising but all its specificities and organic use cases.

Every platform is different and you can only see and understand the differences if you become part of it. And this is exactly what I did on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. The amount of content that I created was quite significant. Some of the material was really terrible while other content improved over time. As a result, I can say today, that I have a certain mastery of these platforms, that most cannot claim and I have something to back it up.

Here are a few metrics off the top of my head

  • 30 experimental Youtube videos
  • 5 educational YouTube videos
  • 5 LinkedIn articles
  • Wrote 12+ LinkedIn recommendations
  • Grew LinkedIn network from 450 to 800+
  • 100+ Instagram posts – increased following from 120 to 550
  • 30+ featured Instagram stories
  • Built up a personal and digital marketing website
  • Participated at CREA influencer conference in Geneva

2. Cryptocurrency and ICOs

I have started paying attention to the cryptocurrency world back in June 2017. However, my interest in the subject reached its peak by January 2018. Until February 2018 I was determined to learn as much as possible about this new industry and to be actively involved. On one hand this was an avenue that I intended to pursue professionally and on the other hand, it simply fascinated me because it combined finance and technology, two areas of interest to me.

  • Wrote various articles related to cryptocurrency
  • Deep dive into cryptocurrency and blockchain technology
  • Became member of Crypto Valley Association and Innmind
  • Participated at the Smart Valor Crypto event in Zurich
  • Participated in ICO legislation event organized by Innmind in Lausanne
  • Participated at Innmind ICO conference in Zurich
  • Was involved in hardware mining of Ethereum cryptocurrency

3. Travel

Traveling across 40 Swiss destinations: I have lived in Switzerland for so long, however, I have not really seen much of it. One of my key goals was to correct that. I wanted to become the Switzerland expert. At the same time, I was looking for interesting content for my Instagram account and I was still paying the monthly trains subscription for Switzerland. It all made sense. I was going to visit as many Swiss cities as possible but at least 1 per week. Here is what I managed until now:

Aarau, Andermatt, Animal ParkGoldau, Ascona, Basel, Bellinzona, Bern, Bienne, Brig, Chur, Delement, Emosson, Fribourg, Lac Souterrain St. Leonard, Lac de Joux, Lake Luzern crossing to Flüelen, Lausanne, Locarno, Luzern, Montreux, Murten, Männlichen mountain near Wengen, Neuchatel, Rhine Falls, Rorschach, Pilatus, Schaffhausen, Sierre, Sion, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Thun, Vevey, Visp, Yverdon-les-Bains, Zermatt, Zug, Zurich

4. Work-Related Progress

In digital marketing, the best way to learn is to work on projects. There is a very selfish component to help others because you will eventually have to learn a new set of tools and a new business model. This will help you enormously as a digital marketer as with each additional project you grow exponentially as you get closer and closer to mastery.

  • Supported Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for a Swiss start-up
  • Supported SEO Project for Swiss online shop
  • Supported Real Estate Management start-up
  • Participated in Techstars startup weekend in Geneva
  • Built up my personal brand online

5. Physical improvement

  • Daily workouts
  • Experimented with various diets

Other Noteworthy Activities:

I invested a lot of time into consuming content to feed my brain. My most favorite ways of doing that, is through audio books and through YouTube channels I follow. In addition to that I wanted to master a computer game, as I historically suck at it. It really challenges and improves your reaction time, your ability to multi-task and teaches you to work faster on a computer.

  • Discovered audio books 30+
  • Learned a computer game again


The goal of this post is not to show off and to celebrate me, (although there is some of that, too), but mostly to make a clear statement. The time between jobs is not a CV gap, it is what you make of it and how you present it. The number of wonderful people I have met, all the things I have seen, experienced and learned, are phenomenal. The self-awareness and the clarity that I was able to achieve will be paying off going forward. Just taking the time to center yourself and redefine who you are and who you are going to be is definitely worth the struggle or insecurity you may face along this path.

I can sense that I have now accomplished almost everything I had in mind for this episode of my life and I can sense that I am about to start a new job here in Geneva or in Zurich in the next couple of weeks. I am definitely ready for the next episode now as I already have a new to-do list.


©2019 Feraz Zeid

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