It happened to me not long ago. You know that horrible word- UNEMPLOYED! The shock, the horror, the pitying glances that people pass your way when they ask what it is you do. Oh, the choking up or swift changes in conversation when they hear that you don’t in fact have a job. From the way that they reacted I may as well have revealed some kind of life threatening illness.
It’s a deadly kind of pain to watch people’s eyes glaze over, disinterested the minute they find out that you’re not swimming the shark tank of life with them. There was a time where it used to gnaw at the insides of my belly, possibly even my soul, whispering laughingly to me, playing on every darn insecurity I’d ever had.
I found myself asking, what do I do?
Should I issue a disclaimer, have an elaborate forehead stamp designed just for me? You know, one to communicate to everybody, that I’m out of circulation. Or how about one that tells you where I’ve been, what I’ve done and lists my achievements and triumphs? Just so you are comforted by the notion that I’ve enjoyed some kind of vague normality at a point. Even though you may surely not believe me right now because I’m …. Dun, dun, dah….UNEMPLOYED! (Wait, what, can you say that a little louder please?)
To skip to the so called ‘happily ever after’ in this story, I eventually I climbed out of my well and found gainful employment again. The fact is that there were bills to pay looming over me and like anybody else I craved a sense of normality in my life.
I had some light bulb moments along the way. Call it my silver lining if you like or read on it may just be food for thought.
A time for questioning
Why are we so tied up in labels? Why is it that we have to be so tied and defined by who the world says we should be and the titles that they bestow upon us? I am still the same person with the same talents as yesterday, only today, I don’t have the title that preceded me the day before. Same talents, same skill sets, same values.
Today is still a day, today is still a part of my life
The temptation to sleep in, ‘slum it’ in an old pair of sweatpants, watch TV and do some mindless snacking is strong. I kid you not! But I was also aware that I hadn’t pulled the plug on life and the living just yet. I wasn’t ready to go to rack and ruin without a fight. There was still pride, dignity and even enjoyment in getting up reasonably early, brushing teeth, exercising, showering and doing chores all while engaging in my full time job… of searching for one!
How can I make my talents work for me?
Yes I have studied in two very distinctive fields; yes I have a career path in mind that I would like to follow. But as my days wore into months, I found myself asking, what do I know, what skills do I have that I know would have a market, no matter how big or small and if my best efforts to go mainstream fail, how can I use my talents to generate an income in the industry?
At the end of the day, a job or a lack of one to me isn’t the full marker of success in a lifetime. There is that old saying that tough times never last, but tough people do. As I sat typing this before you, I’d like to think that I am the living proof.