Having gone through a long-term unemployment, I know first-hand how stress becomes a constant and unyielding burden. So, I thought I would share a few lighter moments, advantages and pros to help offset the dark side of unemployment.
The dark side – you know, the loss of dignity and self-worth, the lack of a steady full-time income and benefits, the part of your brain that constantly screams that the longer this goes on that no one will hire you and thus making you feel even more desperate, like a forgotten and lost member of society.
A few advantages include:
- Friends and family benefit from all of your excessive baking or newly learned home improvement skills. Your flower bed is pristine with not a weed in sight and your car is always clean from being washed on a weekly basis.
- You set your own schedule. You can watch Netflix or sit in the park all day.
- You know the weekly guest line up for all of the morning talk shows.
- You’ve learned how to focus your job search efforts. If you have any kind of college or advanced learning degree, you’re overqualified. If you have any kind of college or advanced learning degree, but don’t have a very specific form of word processing skills, you’re underqualified.
- No one micromanages or criticizes your performance (unless you’re married and your spouse is constantly asking when you’re going to start working again!).
- You become a seasoned expert, an unemployment counselor to friends and family who are just entering the process. Your friends tell their friends, “Oh, you should talk to my friend so and so… They’ve been looking for work for a really long time.”
- You salivate like Pavlov’s dog when the recruiter or potential employer calls or (gasp) an email arrives from a potential employer. Then you get scared when they ask if you can come in for an interview. Confidence, oh confidence, where did you go? I really need you back, like right now. Please come back! Now. I’ve missed you. I need you.
- You’ve built a shield around yourself like a superhero. Its called the Super Rejection Shield that bounces off any form of potential employer rejection.
- You get your beauty sleep by sleeping late which makes up for all of the tossing and turning you do every night. So when friends see you they always say “You look great!”. And you secretly smile inside because they look so worn and stressed (is that mean?).
- You take up a new hobby or sport and become a regular at the gym, tennis court, walking trail, etc.
Things may not look great right now if you’re looking for steady meaningful work. Trust me. It will get better. Your time is coming!
Don’t give up. Don’t give in to doubt, defeat or the dark side of unemployment.
Always find the positive. You may have been knocked down but you will get back up again. You’re still here.
Think of skills you’re learning or relearning (e.g., patience, listening, research, being present, appreciation for little things, etc.)
Keep your head up. Hang in there.
Find a little bit of joy in every day.