An unstable economy still recovering from the financial crisis of 2008 coupled with rapid population growth has made unemployment a common occurrence. The days of working at a single company for thirty years and retiring is becoming one of legend. Currently, unemployment is at 4.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
I find that having to deal with friends and family members who don’t know the proper way to handle your change in employment status can be the one of the worst parts of unemployment. I often get facial expressions and commentaries as if we were attending a funeral for my career. It’s similar to watching someone display the stages of grief all in one conversation. It starts with shock in facial features as if they watched me just kick a puppy. Then there’s denial: “Oh, no! Really?” Then anger, “What? That was stupid of them.” Next is depression: “Aw, I’m sorry to hear that.” Bargaining, “Do you need anything? What are you looking for? Have you been applying anywhere?” Finally, finishing with acceptance, “You will find something. This might just be a blessing.”
Unemployment is not always a death sentence. I like to consider it a plot twist. You may not have expected it to happen, but it can be a good experience leading you in many different directions. For instance, the free time I gained while being unemployed provided clarity and direction.
I have been unemployed a few times in my life. The first time I was not prepared financially or emotionally for the difficulty of being unemployed. I was embarrassed as a college graduate and discouraged as I applied for position after position, only to receive responses of “you don’t meet the qualifications for the position” or no response at all.
I began to take it personally and sunk into a depression, losing complete confidence in my abilities. As with everything in life you gain knowledge through experience. Once I found employment, I took steps to not have the same experience if I became unemployed again. While I have always seemed to bounce back and find positions, it was during those times of not working that I was able to rediscover my love and flair for writing.
Whenever I became unemployed I always went back to writing and my true desire to be a published author. I had written some papers in graduate school, and years before that, even a horrible screenplay (but it was my first one). I promised myself, that once hired, I would continue my writing and editing and submit to literary agents and magazines.
However, I let life and career take over and the writing that I really enjoyed was pushed aside. I was too busy making a living that I forgot that it wasn’t the exact living I desired. When I found myself unemployed again I moved toward following the dream instead of following the expected. Within a month after writing my first piece, I was published in a new and upcoming woman’s online magazine. This gave me the confidence and the momentum to finish my other projects.
I believe like death, unemployment is a transition that can materialize into a rebirth. It gives you the opportunity to release any and all resentment about the old company, colleagues, and the state of being unemployed. It’s a restart of your focus and persistence toward your personal and career goals. I encourage you to release yourself from the hold of television and use the time to listen to your thoughts on what you truly desire. If you feel you are missing something, take a class or two to build your confidence, but as the great motivators have said, what you need to succeed is already within.
There is nothing that says you have to be sad or depressed about unemployment. Subconsciously people respond based on past experiences and not by situational appropriateness. While the rate of unemployment has decreased, it is still affecting many Americans, so remember that you are not alone. Don’t let your friends and family response to your situation affect your outlook on the future. While you wait for the next opportunity, remember there is truth in self-discovery.