When you have a desire to work but can’t find a job, unemployment can especially be hard.
But, it’s important to control your response to this challenging situation. Being unemployed, for an extended period, can result in bitterness or brokenness, if you’re not careful.
I recently read a blog post, published on LinkedIn, entitled, Why Being Unemployed Ruins You and How to Stop It. The writer references the results of a personality study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, which found: long bouts of unemployment can change personalities. These changes can, in turn, make the job hunt harder, according to many, so the piece includes a few tips for “the retaining of core traits” while transitioning.
The title, though, stayed on mind.
“Why Being Unemployed Ruins You . . .”
“. . . Being Unemployed Ruins You . . .”
Is Being Unemployed Ruining You?
That’s my question to you.
Unemployment is one of those low places of life. It impacts:
- Your standard of living
- Your lifestyle and level of comfort
- Your health and well-being
- Your relationships and friendships
- Your money and finances
These effects can bring wide-ranging negative emotions. The likely result? Emotional Overwhelm.
Now this emotional overwhelm can, at times, leave you feeling ruined.
But, should you allow this feeling to actually ruin your character and leave you bitter or broken—navigating the unemployed life from the perspective of “I’m ruined?”
The Truth About Unemployment
Let’s first consider the truth about unemployment before answering this question.
Being unemployed is hard.
It can overwhelm you, leaving you feeling like a failure.
It can make you vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and stress, leaving you without the required amount of energy you need to look for jobs.
It can put you under huge amounts of pressure, leaving you with feelings of guilt and laziness if you’re not engaged in an unlimited job search.
It can wreck your finances, leaving you worried about how you’ll stay afloat throughout this time.
It can bring about fear and uncertainty, leaving you in constant thought about your survival now and future ahead.
But, back to the question above, should you let it ruin the “real” you for the worse? Should you walk around believing you’re ruined?
Sure, you may have moments when you’ll feel consumed by unemployment because you’re tired of being unemployed. Moments when you may feel ruined because of no steady income and no job prospects. Moments when you may feel totally disheartened because of those rejections, let downs, and disappointments.
Moments when you may feel worthless and empty. Moments when you may want to stay in bed and sleep away all your problems.
Moments when you may feel ashamed of your unemployed status. Moments when you may feel you’ll never find a job.
Moments when you may mourn the loss of shattered dreams and unmet expectations. Moments when you may dwell on—and possibly be knocked down by—the hurtful comments you receive from others.
But, while your unemployment situation could ruin you, it doesn’t have to. I talk about choices often here on Serenity Amidst Frustration—and this, too, comes down to personal decision-making.
Will you let your unemployment circumstances ruin or destroy you? Or, will you let your unemployment circumstances build you up and change you for the better?
The better choice?
The latter. Remember, I’m speaking (or rather writing!) here from experience.
I didn’t, though, deny the reality of my situation upon choosing the latter. Instead, though everything looked bleak, I did a few important things (over time as it’s naturally hard to do these things in an unemployment situation):
- Shifted my focus and perspective
- Accepted my circumstances
- Learned the best ways to cope in a healthy manner
- Found value and good in such a difficult situation through gratitude
- Worked with diligence to improve myself, personally and professionally
Please believe, choosing the latter isn’t an easy decision. It’s hard. It requires daily intention and fight.
But, it’s possible.
A Carrot, An Egg, or A Coffee Bean: Which Are You?
As I write this, the Carrot, Egg, or Coffee Bean story (author unknown) comes to mind.
The story is one of a young woman who’d been dealing with adversity and became tired of struggling. So much so, she wanted to give up.
When she shared these thoughts with her mother, her mother took her to the kitchen and filled three pots with water on a high fire. When they came to a boil, the mother filled the first pot with carrots, the second pot with eggs, and the third pot with coffee beans.
After the filled pots boiled, the mother turned off the high fire. She placed the carrots and the eggs into a bowl. She then placed a few of the coffee beans into a cup. All for her daughter’s observation.
Each one dealt with the same adversity (the hot, boiling water), but their reactions differed greatly. The water changed the carrots and eggs. But the coffee beans? They changed the water.
Following is a video rendition of the story.
The story concludes with the mother asking her daughter whether she was a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean.
Here, I’m asking: which are you?
A carrot—broken by unemployment?
An egg—bitter because of unemployment?
A coffee bean—better by unemployment?
Response is another thing I talk about a lot here. Your response to unemployment is the one thing within your area of control.
Has your response been one of ruin? One of bitterness and brokenness? Or, has it been one of improvement and betterment?
Willing to Further Challenge Your “Ruined” Perspective?
If unemployment has ruined you and your character in the worse way—and you’re open to challenging your perspective, you might find the following 9 articles, here on Serenity Amidst Frustration, helpful. It’ll take time, effort, and dedication to move past feeling and belief, but it’s worth it.
1.) Living with the Trauma of Unemployment
Unemployment is a traumatic experience. Will you accept it and endure? Or will you reject it and give up?
2.) An Attitude of Gratitude (Even in Tough Times of Unemployment)
It’s easy to focus on the negatives of the unemployed life. But, when you shift your focus to the good things in your life right now, you position yourself toward an entirely new outlook on your situation, which will also positively impact your overall well-being.
3.) 11 Healthy Ways to Take Care of Yourself During Unemployment
Research links unemployment and poor health. So, while taking care of your whole self might be one of the last things on your mind, it’s one of the most important things you can do during this time.
4.) Oh, The Wait
What’s one thing you may do when you’re unemployed and your job search lasts longer than you could’ve ever imagined? Reevaluate your life and make changes for the better.
5.) Boost Your Resilience in Unemployment With These 5 Strategies
Some people take years to manage the realities of the unemployed life, in contrast to others who come to grips and manage these realities sooner. What helps some come to grips sooner than others? Resilience.
6.) Everything You Must Know About Unemployment Stress – And 5 Stress Management Tips to Consider
The challenges of both unemployment and job searching can increase your stress levels. Because high levels of unhealthy stress can affect you mentally, emotionally, behaviorally, and physically, unemployment stress management is important.
7.) Unemployment Shame: How to Deal With It
One of the toxic emotions you may experience while you’re unemployed is: shame. But, you may find it beneficial to break its grip (it may take time to do so), so it does little harm, if any, to your mental and physical health.
8.) 10 Principles for Staying Positive in a Lengthy Job Search
It’s a struggle to remain positive when you’re unemployed and also undergoing a frustrating job search. It’s a struggle to remain positive when you believe you’re ruined because you’ve been out of paying work for too long. But, navigating the unemployed life with a positive outlook is better for your overall health and well-being than navigating it with a negative one.
9.) 15 Self-Management Job Search Tips Worth Implementing When You’re Coping With Unemployment
I’m sure you’d agree: Your daily plate is full when you add job search activities to other life and family commitments you may have. Interested in knowing the secret to making the best use of your time with so much to do? Self-management.
It’s Not Too Late to Change Your Perspective
If you’ve been believing your unemployment circumstances has ruined you (and this belief has been showing in your actions), it’s not too late to challenge and change your perspective.
I’ve provided a few specific articles above for your consideration and reading. Hopefully, upon reading them, you’ll realize the truth:
Your life has changed because of your unemployment situation, and, because of these changes, you might indeed feel ruined by its impacts.
But, you don’t have to believe you’re ruined. You don’t have to respond with bitterness or brokenness.
Instead, you can accept your circumstances. You can learn and grow throughout all of it. You can keep pushing through with hopes for change and a diligent effort to better your situation.
Easier said than done, right?
I know. Believe me, I do.
Focus, though, on taking things one moment at a time. Fight both this feeling and belief with truth when they creep up. Keep pressing and progressing.
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