Submitted by an anonymous contributor.
A little background, I am a single mom of two teenagers living in Atlanta Georgia. The last time I was unemployed was over 24 years ago. I worked for my last employer for 14 years. For reasons unrelated to my job performance, or any wrongdoing on mine or the company’s part, we separated in December of 2014. I can relay all the emotions I went through, shock, disbelieve, weeping (yes I wept), sadness, depression, jubilation (felt adventurous for a wee second) and optimism. I did not understand unemployment until it happened to me. I was always of the school of thought that when one door closes another one opens, until that door closed on me. Although everyone told me not to worry I would find a position quickly with my experience, my skills, my background, it would be a piece of cake, I still worried. I am a single mother with two kids, one in his first year of college. I have provided for my children single handedly for the past 8 years, what do I do now? When you go through a divorce they refer to the loss of your spouse as if you lost a limb that is the feeling I had when I lost my job, a part of me was missing and not just the money or the career, but the relationships as well. Sorry if this sounds melodramatic but I am just being honest. Yes I try to count my blessings, they are many, but this is wow, something altogether different. And so with a mix of excitement and trepidation, I set out to find a job in a city where I never job hunted before. It has been 2 1/2 months, 50 resumes, 3 interviews (with no offers or even a “thank you but we chose another candidate.”), Linkedin Premium, every available job board, networking, working with a career coach, sending my resume directly and still I wait for that door to open. And I apologize to all who have been unemployed longer than two months and think I should just get a grip. I hear you, you are probably right, but I own these feelings.
So this is what I have learned in the 2+ months I have been unemployed.
1. It is very lonely, once you are unemployed it seems as if everyone else has jobs. You are even jealous of the people who have jobs that you would never consider in a million years. I am doing online surveys for points, 1000 more points and I get $10 to shop amazon.com.
2. It is not easy convincing someone to hire you, “I am awesome I really am”. I know the companies should be convincing me why I should work for them, but they are the ones with the money, so yeah, I need them to want me.
3. You realize you should have saved a lot more money.
4. It really eats at your confidence when you interview for jobs and never hear back. If I ever have the opportunity to become the interviewer, I would send a response to everyone I interviewed. I mean how long does it take to write “Thank you for meeting with us, but we have decided to pursue other candidates”.
5. Your old job was not so bad.
6. You really do need a grieving period, for me I am all over the place, I have gone from “I can’t wait to see what the future brings” to “Why didn’t I just move” in a matter of hours.
7. It really tests your faith. This was my prayer this morning while I drove around aimlessly in my car, “Father I know if one of my children cried out to me with a need, I would do everything in my power to help them, in the same way I know that you are doing everything in your power to help me”. “Help me to trust you”.
8. I wish I had been more sympathetic to friends and colleagues who lost their jobs while I was employed.
9. There is no support group, no one to hand you tissues when you want to bawl your eyes out
10. It really helps you to figure out the difference between wants and needs.
11. After my divorce, I had to force myself to stop thinking about my ex and what he is doing, now I have to force myself to stop thinking about my old job and what is going on there.
On the plus side I am working through the clutter in my basement.