Thursday, December 6, 2012

U is for Unemployed


I got my first job when I was 14.  That’s a lifetime ago, now, so it means that I have been working for a very long time.  Oh, there were a couple of breaks.  When Brian and I were getting married, I was between jobs for a couple of months for last minute planning and honeymooning and all.  And, after my mom died, when Billy was not quite a year old, we decided I would be a stay-at-home mom for a while, which lasted for about two years.  When you put all of that together, it means I’ve worked about 35 years of my life.  But all of that changed earlier this year.

job search 12-6-12

 I lost my job in March of this year, the first time in my life that I have been unintentionally unemployed.  And I have to say, it’s been hard.  First, of course, there’s the financial aspect of things.  Really, I’m one of the lucky ones, since our circumstances meant that we could survive without my salary; I know there are a lot of people looking for work who don’t have that security.  But, still, it has made a change in how we think about cash flow.

And, because we didn’t have to have my income, it’s been possible for me to be particular about the type of work I looked for, another luxury that many don’t have.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

But luxury doesn’t come without a price.  Job hunting is a difficult process, and it’s hard on the self-esteem.  You don’t really think about how much of your identity is invested in your work until you don’t have it anymore.  If I’m not somebody’s employee, somebody’s supervisor, then what am I?  I’ve been out of work now for nine months—long enough to grow a whole other person.  It’s a really long time when you think about it that way.  And with every application submitted—and ignored—it’s another person saying you’re just not quite good enough.  It’s sort of like going solo to the prom and spending the whole evening standing at the side of the room, watching everyone else dance.  In short, it’s depressing. 

That being the case, Brian and I made a decision:  I would actively job seek until this school semester was over and it was time to enroll for next term.  If I hadn’t found a job by then, I would simply focus on school until graduation, and then look for work in my new field. 

So, here we are at the end of the fall semester, and my applications are still being routinely rejected.  So, I’m done with the self-inflicted depression for now.  I’m through putting in applications, submitting resumes, building online profiles, and all the rest of it.  At this point, I am going to stop thinking of myself as unemployed, and begin to think of myself as a student.  That’s another one of those luxuries that a lot of folks don’t have—the opportunity to just walk away from the job search and reinvent themselves.  If unemployment has an upside, that’s it.  And I intend to take full advantage of it.

I’m linking up today with Mrs. Nesbitt and her crew for ABC Wednesday; pop on over and see what there is to see.  ABCW11