Life, Marketing/PR

Unemployment sucks. A guide to helping folks through it.

unemployment sucks

Three months ago, my job ended. I feel ashamed and embarrassed. I loved the company, the CEO, my team, the work I was doing and completely thought I would retire there. So when I “wasn’t the right fit,” I was shocked, disappointed, and bummed! I mean, I have furniture and rugs in my farm house purchased with award money for doing such great work just a few weeks earlier…I don’t get it.

But let me tell you, unemployment sucks. I’m not good at it either. For instance, to collect unemployment, you have to put in three applications a week, so I do eight and get told I’m spamming the system. Apparently, my over achieving personality makes me get rejected automatically for putting in too many (smh). So, I focus in and really work on 3 special jobs. I literally spend like 4 to 6 hours on each – researching, rewriting my resume with all the key terms that match (you know to get into the automated systems), writing and rewriting pithy cover letters and completing the online application only to get an automated email reply stating they can’t wait to review it, but will only contact if you’re the answer to their dreams. Then crickets.

I try remote, freelancing, job classes from back in the beginning of my career. The only consistent job that keeps coming up is Lyft drivers needed in our area. Oh hey girl, hey…need a ride? Now, don’t get offended, it’s a great, flexible job, but let’s just say I don’t think there are enough hours in the day for me to make the salary I need.

So in all honesty, here’s the truth of where I am at in this unemployment journey and my advice to those not in the journey. Here’s how you can support…or not, you decide. Disclaimer: mom, hubby, close friends and church friends, just work with me here. I’m half jesting and half venting, put down your lecture and rocks. I’ll be ok, promise.

1. Talking about “it”. There are two camps of people, seekers and avoiders. The seeker wants an update, every.single.time….even when there isn’t an update. I love my mom, but do you freaking think I’d not tell you if something came up after nearly four months of this special form of purgatory? Of course there is no update! But thank you for asking (insert sweet smile here). The avoider never asks. Pretends it’s not a thing and if they don’t make eye contact or never sit still, the awkward “it” won’t come up. I’m out of work, not dying or dumb. But thank you for your consideration to my heart.

2. Praying about “it”. I believe in God, I know He has a purpose and plan for me, I am praying and reading every day and most days I am trusting that the right thing will come along. I have sweet, sweet friends and family who are praying for me too and I am so grateful. But, I wouldn’t be honest if I pretended like that was all there was. Sometimes I am not dealing well with it. I’m worried, I’m mad, I feel frustrated and feel a little like I’m stuck in this weird version of Ground Hog Day, except I don’t have a job and I’m not waking up in a hotel. Nope, it’s me and goats, and the dogs, and the chickens in this same day over and over again. Get up, pray, read, look at job boards, look at email, check for requests for interviews, contemplate a lottery ticket. This process is hard and I don’t do “nothing” well. It’s hard, just let it be hard sometimes. It’s ok, I won’t stay there.

3. There, There-ing “it”. I have had an amazing career to date and unbelievable opportunities, teams and companies. I have awesome friends from jobs of the past whom I love dearly. I’m so blessed. But, I have also lost myself and nearly my health in a job, adopted my identity based on what I did at work, lost that identity and had to find a new one and that is jolting. I have done it really wrong and done it really, really right and I usually land on my feet, but it doesn’t come with no sweat off my brow. I know I have talent and mad skills in a variety of scope. Not in a “she’s so fancy, look at me” kind of way, but a confident, I know my stuff. I’m honest and deliver great work, on time and on budget. That’s good, that’s marketable. But I’m shaken. Let me be real for a moment. Don’t there, there me and quiet me so you don’t feel uncomfortable with the truth of where I am. Sometimes I don’t feel like all that and Lord knows the hiring process is not one that builds self-esteem. But, I’m using this time to pause, to learn from my mistakes, to ensure my identity comes from God and NOT my work (look at me go!), to study and stay on top of the market and trends, to volunteer, help my mom, support others and do a few projects. This time is a gift, I know. I know I will wish I had it back when I’m working, but for now, I need to be able to be honest without a “yah, but”. Please, just let me be real.

4. Rushing “it”. I am NOT good with the middle space. I want to rush to the end point – skip the journey and all of it’s great epiphanies to the next step. You know, stay busy, distracted….don’t feel. But there is part of this process that is necessary, so necessary for me. Trust me, I am doing everything in my power to find the right next step for me, but to skip this process and time will skip part of the next success. The lessons I’m learning here will make me better next. And, the answer may not be the next great multi-level marketing solution to save the day that so many sweet and sincere folks have offered. I do buy from a couple of subscription companies, but I do not feel called to build a business with either. So, whether I end up driving for Lyft (hey girl) or running a marketing team again, I know that this process, whether I like it or not, has been essential to grow my faith, my character and my talent set for the next “it”. If I’m not gonna be in another job for a company, I’m gonna find a way to start the farm business I have been dreaming of for years. Insert a miracle here would be just fine with me!

So I jest a bit, but through my sass, please hear that I am so, so grateful to all of my tribe who supports me. Thank you, sincerely for your support through this time.

And seriously, if I have offended you, message me, I’ll see what I can do to restore, but unemployment is not an easy time frame….just hoping for a little grace in the process and that maybe you’ll just giggle with me.