I’ve been walking through the unemployment wilderness for some time now. As someone experiencing long-term unemployment, I’m familiar with an unexpected change in life. However, I’ve learned how to get through this – one of the hardest transitions of my life.
Glancing back, I’ve learned a few things throughout this experience. And below, I’ll provide 7 of them.
I hope they prove beneficial to you as you push through this time of difficulty.
7 Things to Know About Unemployment
You Won’t Be Comfortable.
Upon becoming unemployed, you quickly go from convenience to inconvenience. It’s difficult.
You leave behind the things you know: past jobs, roles, internships, steady incomes, and academic institutions. Uncertainty looms, and you have a barren physical vision.
Things aren’t “normal.”
This “new normal” is uncomfortable.
So uncomfortable, you’re tempted to mourn your past comforts much longer than you should. But, you can’t stay focused on what you had before becoming unemployed.
After a period of mourning, you should accept your extended unemployment and push through. Don’t go on questioning your academic choices, skills and abilities, and employability. Don’t go on thinking about your past successes and accomplishments.
Don’t lose hope for the future – despite those emotions you feel. Realize everything will be fine.
Action Point: Transitioning through unemployment is uncomfortable, and it takes time to adjust. But as you adjust and go through, allow it to transform you into a better person.
You Have No Reason to Wear the Mask of Shame.
Shame is one of those emotions you experience while unemployed. One of those emotions with an ability to torment you if allowed.
In your search for employment, you’re competing with many people for a job offer. You’ve come up short every time so far. And, the shame of not having a job (or the inability to land a job despite your best efforts) messes with you:
- It forces you to see yourself negatively. (i.e., “I’m not good enough.” Or “I’m a failure.”)
- It forces you to focus on your successes of the past without any hope for the future. (i.e., I’ll never get another job or income source. How will I get it?)
- It forces you to move about miserably (i.e., I’ll never compare to this person. Something’s wrong with me).
Though out of work, please know: you shouldn’t walk around in shame because of your situation. Tackle the shame you’re feeling and don’t let it get the best of you.
See your unemployment season as one of transition and nothing shameful.
Action Point: I’ve written an article on dealing with unemployment shame before. You can check out the link in the previous sentence if interested.
You Shouldn’t Listen to Negative Thoughts.
When out of work and looking for a job, many thoughts – good and bad, negative and positive – creep up daily. Those negative thoughts fight hard for control over the positive ones.
It’s a struggle for you, right?
Many times, you have no clue where these thoughts come from. One out of control thought leads to a bout of discouragement and frustration.
Quickly, you go from happy to sad. From positive to negative.
This is why you shouldn’t listen to them.
I’ll admit: The process of ignoring negative voices isn’t easy . . . but you can do it with divine help.
Not only should you ignore them, but you should also speak truth to them. For example, instead of labeling yourself a failure, admit to failing. But also admit your failure doesn’t define who you are.
Action Point: Shut out those negative thoughts if you haven’t already done so. Replace them with truth – one thought at a time.
Your Job Search Will Challenge You.
Over the years, the job search has changed. It’s much harder to land a job these days – even for those with a college degree(s).
It’s a tough situation.
Employers have many applicants and candidates to choose from in the job search process. Job rejection is more common than acceptance.
You have no control over the outcome of submitted applications and attended interviews. But, you have control over your approach to job hunting.
Don’t waste your time applying to any and every job you see. Focus on companies of interest to you. Customize your material to targeted jobs within these companies.
Do the best you can with your application materials and keep your focus off of the things you can’t control.
You Feel Tempted to Permanently Check Out.
You’ve been applying to applicable jobs like crazy. Sometimes, you don’t get called in for an interview – even when you look like the best candidate on paper.
Constant rejections in your job search hurt.
You really want to work but have become discouraged by it all.
You’re tempted to check out – permanently. To give up on the search for your next position.
I know how you feel. Believe me. I’m with you!
But I also know: you must push through unemployment. Don’t give up.
Endure where you are now.
Keep exploring EVERY legitimate option.
Take a break from the job search and problem solving when you feel overwhelmed. Do something refreshing, such as reading, cooking, laughing, or writing, for example.
Then, get back on task.
Action Point: I personally understand the frustration of unemployment and job searching. You become tired of your circumstances and giving up presents itself as the easiest way out.
But I say (also from a place of exhaustion): don’t give up on your search for a steady income. Instead, take some time away from your search when you need to. Breathe, recharge, and do something interesting. From there, keep walking.
You Receive Judgment From Others.
Not everyone knows the full story leading to your unemployment situation, but please believe:
You receive judgment regardless.
People question your faith.
People label you as lazy and don’t want to work.
People question your job search efforts.
You’ve applied to various jobs meeting your qualifications. You’ve reached the point of exhaustion from rejections and disappointments. Yet, you receive judgment declaring you haven’t done enough – or haven’t humbled yourself enough.
“Why don’t you just apply here? They’re always hiring.”
“Have you tried applying with ____?”
“___ is hiring for ___ positions. Why don’t you apply there?”
Of course, nothing’s wrong with receiving advice, job leads, and suggestions from others. The problem comes when they’re prideful judgments masked as advice.
The truth is: it’s frustrating receiving judgments from strangers and acquaintances alike when you know you’ve given your best. If someone wants to help you, presenting masked judgments doesn’t help, right?
Unemployment is one of the toughest journeys anyone can walk through in this life, and judgment from others, though part of it, doesn’t help.
Action Point: Don’t let insensitive judgments or criticisms bring you down. Evaluate them for something helpful if possible. From there, stay strong and focused on your priorities.
Also, if you want some assistance with answering questions similar to those above, you can read:
You Must Move Forward.
You’ve been traveling the journey of joblessness for some time now. It’s been a long wait to your next position.
You’re tired of being unemployed.
You’re tired of the prolonged job search.
You’re tired of fighting against those negative thoughts.
And, you’re finding it hard to move forward. It’s so much easier to regress backward in unemployment.
It’s so much easier to allow your grief to consume you to the point you’re constantly dwelling on your sudden, lingering unemployment.
But, I’m telling you from experience: you shouldn’t let this happen.
Sometimes, you’ll wonder when you’ll land a job offer. You’ll wonder why you haven’t gotten a job yet.
Even with these questions lingering, you must move forward. Live your life in this season.
Every day will present a struggle – I know – but you must move forward (even if it means seeking professional help) and focus on the life you have at the moment.
Action Point: Though you have no job or prospects right now, don’t stop moving forward. Don’t let shame, negative thoughts, rejections, or disappointments hold you down. Instead, push through your days with a renewed strength and the expectation of a shift in your situation.
Unemployment is a challenging transition. For many of us, it came suddenly.
But, I’ve learned you must face this challenge head on.
You must cope and push through despite the negativity surrounding you. Despite the let downs and disappointments.
You should learn and grow through it all.
This is the best way to deal with unemployment.
Disclaimer: This article contains outgoing links to the works of others on the following websites: Brazen Blog and the Muse.
P. S. Do you have anything you learned while unemployed and would like to add to this list?