Unemployment Shame; Unemployed and Shame

Unemployment Shame: How to Deal With It

You’re a human being, and it happens when you experience a difficult situation, such as long-term unemployment.

You deal with a lot of different emotions. One of which is shame.

Unemployment Shame; Unemployed and Shame
Unemployment Shame: How to Deal With It
Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Shame of Unemployment

For the long-term unemployed, it’s the shame of not having a job and “positively contributing to society” – according to the views of others.

As the Christmas holiday approaches, you’re in a cringe. Why? Because you dread this one question people will ask when they see you at social gatherings:

  • “Have you gotten a job yet?”

Very few people directly understand your situation and someone might respond with some kind of insensitive comment when you answer this question.

Upon hearing this insensitivity, you know you’ll start another cycle of blaming yourself – and possibly believe the lies brought on by the insensitive comment.

So, you prefer to stay at home. Right?

I understand. I really do.

You know society defines you by your occupational status. Certainly, a job is one of the many things people are proud of.

Aware of this, you get tired of this question as you hate the thought of people considering you a lazy and incompetent loser.

You dislike the feeling of believing something is wrong with you because you don’t have a job – not to mention you can’t secure one.

Truth be told, however, you absolutely prefer to be employed but are experiencing the effects of something totally beyond your control.

You’re diligent in your job search efforts but are constantly rejected for employment opportunities.

Landing a job is hard these days. So, why should you walk around in shame because of your present circumstances? You didn’t voluntarily choose to become one of the unemployed and are willing and able to work.

As someone also personally dealing with long-term unemployment, I encourage you not to be ashamed of your unemployment situation or your inability to secure a job offer.

Ways to Deal with the Shame of Unemployment

If you’re interested in releasing this heavy weight off of your shoulders, I am glad for you and will provide you with the ways in which I’ve learned to deal with the shame of being unemployed.

Unemployment Shame; Unemployed and Shame
Unemployment Shame: How to Deal With It
Unsplash Original Photo Courtesy of Sunset Girl


  1. Mindset Is Important: In my opinion, your mental state as discussed in my One of those “Blue” Days: Fighting Discouragement article is very important when dealing with the shame of unemployment.
  1. Replacing Falsity with Truth Is Important: In my 3 Ways to Deal with Self-Doubt article, I discussed the importance of recognizing voices, such as self-doubt, rejecting them, and replacing them with truth.

You cannot believe something is wrong with you because of your situation and move forward in dealing with the shame of it.

Side Tracking Moment : A job is a great way to provide our necessities and more but doesn’t define you.

Please don’t let your unemployed status cause you to see yourself as worthless or as a failure in this life. If you do, it’ll only lead to more shame – and other problems.

Never lose sight of your worthiness, skills, competence, and value. I think this is one of the most important lessons you can learn in the midst of dealing with unemployment.

Back on Track: I think you’ll benefit from checking out those two articles as well.

From there, you can manage this shame in the following ways.

  1. Don’t See Your Situation As Something Shameful. The number of unemployed people is increasing daily, and there are various reasons for unemployment. These reasons vary anywhere from personal responsibilities to business changes and financial crisis to market issues, such as supply and demand. It’s not your fault. Many things are beyond your control.
  1. Don’t Knock the Importance of Self-Perception. The way you view yourself at this time is very important. Don’t engage in self-loathing. Instead love yourself. You shouldn’t feel less than anyone because you’re unemployed. Always keep in mind who and whose you are.
  1. Don’t Give in to Others’ Negativity. You’re aware of people’s negativity and perspective toward the long-term unemployed, but don’t allow the negativity to personally affect you. Their views say a lot about them and their character. They’ll never understand your life – or challenge – like you do so don’t worry about them. Forgive them and keep it moving.

From Me to You: Please don’t allow the shame of unemployment to take over you. I must say true healing only comes from your creator, God through Jesus Christ, so connection is important. Make it a day by day journey toward improvement from shame.

How have you dealt with the shame of unemployment? Please share below.


12 thoughts on “Unemployment Shame: How to Deal With It

  1. Hey, thank you for writing this. I needed to hear it today. Unemployment shame is everywhere lately it seems. I have nearly isolated myself to very few people in an effort to get away from it.


    1. Hi Eve,

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      In a society that defines individuals by their occupations, it isn’t hard to wear the mask of shame – and become isolated – because of unemployment. Two of the best things one can do when unemployed and shame are: challenge your perception and shift your mindset.

      Thanks again for reading! I’m glad you found the article useful.


  2. Hi Callie Artime!

    Thanks for reading and commenting. I am glad you enjoyed this.

    You absolutely experienced a change as you have been working since 16. However, there’s no need to be embarrassed or shamed. You are doing the best that you can. That matters.

    What’s important is that you understand the role that you played in losing your job as a result of depression and have been doing what you can to help yourself. And like you said above: “I’ll do it even better this time.” Lesson learned!

    It seems like you have given yourself the time that you needed away from the job search and now have the perspective that you are ready to find a job again. Great thing. It’s not always easy but definitely try not to be so hard on yourself. Things will work out for you.

    Thanks again for stopping by. I appreciate your comment.


  3. Reblogged this on Manic Mentality and commented:
    I really enjoyed this! I can say that I have and am still dealing with being unemployed. It’s so strange to me when someone ask, “Where do you work?”. I think mostly because I’m still in so much shock from all the drastic changes in my life this past year. I went from being a full-time manager, a college student and an independent young female to the complete opposite in a blick of an eye. I’ve worked since I was 16 and I actually enjoyed it, for the most part anyway. When I fell into a depression in November 2013, I just couldn’t do it anymore. Getting up and getting ready for work, whether it be a 4 hour shift or a 10 hour shift, was just to draining for me. My boss worked with me for as long as he could, but I kept letting him down. I began to not care if I was late, then I found myself barely making it to work two times a week. I was eventually let go in September 2014. Now I do hear a lot of, “Have you looked at jobs?”, “So, what’s going on with you finding a job?”. It embarasses me at times because I do feel lazy, broke, and hopeless now that I have no income and am struggling financially. But, I finally came to the realization that it would be in my best interest to find a job again after I get out of my inpatient treatment for my bipolar disorder. I need to be mentally stable to hold a job down again, and I do know I can do it again. I’ll do it even better this time. I feel like my disorder causes me to have to be much harder on myself, yet I think I’m okay with it.


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