Unemployment black and blues....
Some might say that our pitiful job market has improved. Others with numbers may spin them into a “recovery” of the market. Without numbers, I could choose to be cautious. Except, I am not writing about numbers. I write about people and how they live without those digits that come in the form of income. Long term unemployment devastates people, who often disappear, undeserving of numbers. How do people count without direct deposit, except perhaps, as a liability? Some people give up searching. Without unemployment assistance how are they tracked? Others force-ably “retire” falling back on bits of cash that were only meant as cushion, not habitat.
From personal experience, chronic lack of work and income is currently at its' cruelest on many counts. I wrote a piece years ago on the ways unemployment hurts beyond money and how to ameliorate the suffering. After joining Daily Kos, I posted it May of 2011 (Coping with job loss. Not Just About Money) A reader requested a re-post which I neglected to do hoping its' importance might soon pass. Is re-post sadly in order? For now, I offer some new thoughts hoping these words are entirely without need....
Chronic job search can be a trek through terrain loaded with traps. You may quickly be caught in an exhausting emotional cycle. First comes the high.. when you find and apply for a job that seems to be perfect. With the final “click” fantasy ensues as you imagine recovery, finally having the funds to whittle away the long list of unmet needs. Alas, you suffer even greater lows as silence ensues. And, it outlasts even the best of highs dragging you down for weeks rather than that flash of high that may come and go in hours. Do you fit that pattern?
Panic is also a frequent pitfall. Use caution for what can easily become a frenzied, ceaseless search. From there, you may slide into a state of desperation and take risks that are unwise. You may spend money on training, buying software which is the latest for your profession or attempt to launch something entirely new that offers promises of certain returns. Think thrice, if any 'opportunity' requires you put down cash first. Consult with someone, nearly anyone not associated with the possibility. Being desperate, you may not smell a clever rat that might be an obvious stink to others. This may include the scam job offer that look very legitimate. I have seen one up close whose origin was the Middle East. It was only obvious after finding a near identical email “offer” on a website that tracked international fraud.
Another form of quicksand is becoming obsessed with your search. What else can you do when you can't pay bills? Can't buy your meds? Eviction, repossession of belongings or hunger; these are all real reasons to feel like you MUST do something. Perhaps in the past you finally got a job after a long search. Job ends then beware! You tasted the reward long enough to ensnare you into a maddening addiction. You are driven to keep searching till you are half mad with worry just knowing a job will come your way; the same way a gambler becomes addicted to making just one more bet or feeling sure that this slot has got to pay off sooner or later.
Enter the “I'll take anything” mode. It is typically held in abeyance as a last case-easy out.
This certainly may feed you but often this last resort job is assumed to be easy to obtain when you finally choose it. Even these uncoveted jobs may be difficult to get. And you find your desperation deepen further still.
As nuts as it may sound, sometimes you have to stop. I am not advocating giving up. What might be in order is changing your strategy. Doing something different from what you have done seemingly a million times. Consult. Talk to someone. Cry on a shoulder. How about a congressional shoulder? Do they even know you are still there? Still searching for work? Don't beat yourself up after arriving at conclusions you are not ever likely to prove. Stop thinking of yourself as inadequate as a worker/professional. There truly can be one hundred reasons you are not hired that have nothing whatsoever to with you.
Have you ever known someone who has a job but who is lousy on the job? What about someone who should be fired? But they never seem to go away. Or maybe a majority who mostly remain employed for a lifetime and are mediocre? There are not many types of work that require the doer to be exceptional, like highly paid artists or athletes. Who doesn't know a lousy doctor/specialist to be solidly employed? Employers in hire mode, indeed, try to psych every potential applicant into believing they seek and can find the ideal candidate. It ain't gonna happen. No one is perfect. Maybe employed but not perfect. So ease up on yourself and imagine the successes you have had in your work. The longer you are unemployed, the harder it may be to give yourself credit. It is the nature of this beast.
My original diary has ideas on how to cope without a job. Find what works for you.
One additional caution. Have a plan. A, B and C if you can. How long can you wait for that elusive job before your life is not yours anymore? Before eviction happens or you are simply out of money? Many friends and family may say “it will never happen! You can live with me/us”. As much as your loved ones wish to help, that offer may only be meant to console, not rescue. You must face real possibility before it happens. This was a painful exercise used when I worked in a shelter for battered women. They often suffered a similar cycle. Being sheltered meant being beaten or threatened enough to flee. Shelter, sadly, can only serve as a time out with a return home being the beginning of one more cycle.
Don't wait too long to prepare for the worst, a job that never happens. Don't spend your last dime hanging on when unpleasant choices, that may be temporary, are possible. Whether it be to sell possessions, downsize your living space, take in or be a room mate, choose underemployment rather than being unemployed. Answers are not easy. Reasons for unemployment are many. Consequences, however unfair, may be yours to suffer. Give in to something rather than giving up. Hopefully, there is something here you can find to ease your unemployment blues, even if it is to stop blaming yourself.
I would be most happy to know this diary has no readers, provided that means no need. But if you are out there, do you recognize yourself in any counting or data? Do you see yourself in the news? If you are in sufficient numbers, why are you not news?! Who is counting those who still can't count on income?