I was in the presence of others coming up with solutions to help out someone the other day. This person is jobless, so during the conversation, one person stated:
“He’s too old to be without a job. He needs to get one like now.”
Now, mind you, I’m over 30 with no job.
Think about it for a second.
I was in the midst of this conversation, and I’m over 30 with no job.
You know this comment stood out to me, right?
It definitely did. Though it wasn’t directly stated for me in this particular conversation, I have no doubt – from past inquiries – those words have been uttered about me also.
Doesn’t this person know how hard it is to find a job these days? Hasn’t this person (and others with similar thoughts) heard about the unemployment problem all over the world?
It’s a real problem in today’s economy, and people experiencing unemployment usually fall in one of two age categories: young and old. Research in a recent Fed’s study shows millennials and baby boomers alike are most affected by it.
Unemployment doesn’t discriminate. Even when you do all you can in your own efforts to avoid being jobless, you can still experience it – regardless of age.
This person just doesn’t understand.
As someone who’s been experiencing long-term unemployment and struggling to land a job, I’m no stranger to insensitive comments and behaviors though.
In fact, I’ve learned not to internalize them. So, in this article, I won’t bash the person who made the comment.
I know: until you’ve been through a situation, such as unemployment (and long-term), you have NO clue with it’s like. I realize not everyone has the ability to empathize with us (persons long-term unemployed), and this is okay.
My issue is: why classify all persons, without a job, the same way? Why assume unemployment is the fault of every person going through it?
When people do this, they make assumptions without realizing the efforts put forth by many professional individuals to land a job – though no visible outcomes (i.e., job offers) are seen.
The young man referenced above, for instance, has a different job search situation from mine. In my journey, I’ve given it my all. I can honestly say I’ve been diligent in my search – and have been told so by a relative.
I haven’t yet seen the source materialize, however.
So, in this case alone, you have 2 jobless persons, but 2 different strategies for getting back to work. One wants to work – putting forth her best efforts, and the other doesn’t (at least this is the presumption based on this person’s behavior).
This leaves me wondering (yet again):
What forces people with jobs (or with the ability to get jobs quickly) to make these assumptions about the unemployed collectively?
Do they really believe I, someone who’s prepared myself for a profession through academia; someone who’s developed and acquired skills professionally and personally; and someone who’s even obtained some work experience along the way (including several years of care giving), would willingly choose unemployment?
Please believe me when I say:
I didn’t choose unemployment. In fact, I tried to prepare against it, so I didn’t know what to do when I went from unemployed to long-term unemployed.
Even then, I fought against it.
I stayed on when it came to job searching. I didn’t want to miss any opportunity to get out of this situation and burned myself out looking for jobs daily.
But, here I am.
As stated previously, if someone had told me in the past I’d experience a long-term unemployment season, I would’ve never believed it. I’d never imagined going through such difficulty.
It’s been allowed into my life, however, – and I came to accept it (with the passage of time). Though I’ve accepted unemployment, I’ll admit: the desire for a steady income source remains.
So, although tired and exhausted, I know I can’t call it quits now on my search for it. I’ve been graced to come too far.
I haven’t yet won any job offers, but I’ve learned a great deal throughout this process.
And, my hope remains.
My faith is strengthened.
Though I’m between jobs, my productivity hasn’t decreased in any way. I just don’t punch a time clock.
I believe I’ll receive the desired result at some point as I continue putting forth the effort.
For this very reason, I refuse to let anybody’s comments discredit the work I’ve been putting in. These are misguided comments based on several assumptions, such as: something’s wrong with her because she’s an adult and can’t get a job.
Knowing nothing’s wrong with me and more is going on than meets the human eye, I’m moving forward – praying and trusting in God, learning and growing (also self-evaluating), exploring all options, and helping others.
So to you:
If your diligent efforts have been questioned by anyone (implied or stated), then I want you to remember:
The unemployment challenge is real. You know what you’re up against.
You know you’re not being lazy or on the “couch all day.”
Though you don’t control the outcome, you know the effort you’re putting in.
So, while to some you’re too old to be without a job and considered a failure, you know you’re not (no one is).
You’ve come this far in your unemployment journey so don’t allow anger or frustration from these types of comments to overtake you.
Just keep walking!
Just a closing thought: Instead of people criticizing others for being jobless, people should support those who really want jobs. As stated earlier, unemployment doesn’t discriminate, so these people need to tread lightly with the insensitivity.
From Me to You: It’s not easy but don’t allow the comments of others to bother you. You know your situation better than others. When you know you’re doing all you can to secure your next position, the best thing you can do is keep it moving – learning and growing in the process.
P. S. Any thoughts? Please share by leaving a comment.