Lessons of the Unemployed


I’ve decided that after 4 months of trying to shy away from being a statistic, it’s come time for me to come out of my self-imposed closet and admit that I’m…unemployed.


There I said it!

Now that it’s out in the open, I’m not sure how much better I actually feel about it. What I do know is that over the past 4 months of being unemployed (or rather, underemployed) I’ve learned some invaluable lessons which I know can benefit others in a similar situation.

Is Silence Really A Virtue?

Out of embarrassment, I told very few people about my unemployment. As time passed, however, I discovered that I was not the only one of my friends unemployed. Surprisingly, it was only after I informed them about my new reality that my friends began to open up about their own circumstances.  When I stopped to think about it, I wondered what benefit can come out of keeping such a low profile?



Granted, there is a sense of shame involved with no longer being gainfully employed but not being open about it doesn’t make it better. In fact, keeping things bottled up is dangerous on a psychological level and severely limits one’s ability to network his way to a new position.

Are We True To Ourselves?

One of the biggest pieces of advice I’ve received when looking for a job is that I should increase my online presence. I did that. What I’ve discovered is that in regards to social networks people are prepared to share just about anything. From pictures of our breakfast, lunch or dinner to our inner-most thoughts about other people’s posting mistakes. But when it comes to sharing our employment status, all of a sudden these same ‘socially active’ people become curiously reserved (guilty as charged). Why? It seems that rather than share information and create a social circle of like-minded individuals, which can only serve to benefit all involved, we in the unemployment boat think that by doing it alone we can be more successful. Unfortunately, that is completely a warped mindset. Sharing REAL details instead of superficial photos and updates actually increases our online camaraderie in a truer sense, for whatever that’s worth. Instead of shying behind our computer screens, we should face the reality and connect in meaningful and helpful ways.

How Much Do You Value Your Integrity?

During the good old days of employment, integrity was determined by the ability to manage difficult situations and successfully addressing challenges that come about. So, why is it that when a change in employment status occurs, do people not show the same level of integrity? Not being honest with the situation is simply unattractive. In fact, potential employers are often able to sniff out when someone is hiding information or skirting an issue. What they want to see is that any prospective employee can confront the reality and adapt appropriately.

Over the past four months, I’ve had time to learn some of these lessons the hard way; I’ve gained wisdom as a result of all these lessons. I believe I’ve gained a little more empathy too.





So, to all those sailing in the unemployment boat with me, don’t hesitate to be in touch. If at all possible, I’ll be happy to throw you a life preserver.


P.S. Here’s a unique way how two guys transformed their new unemployed status into a high quality graphic novel.

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  • “Sharing REAL details instead of superficial photos and updates actually increases our online camaraderie in a truer sense…” This is such an important post. Thank you, Mordechai.

    We human beings — employed or not, struggling with marital/financial/child-rearing issues or not — rely on each other for camaraderie, guidance, acceptance… all the things of which successful networking is made. How I wish, when I was parenting a particularly gifted (and therefore socially-challenged) kid, I had been encouraged to find other like-minded individuals with whom to network. I know lots and lots of stuff now — but an internet network of people in the same situation could have helped me to keep from “reinventing the wheel.” Help each other. You — we — will ALL benefit.

  • Hi Mordecai,

    Thank you for writing this while wearing your “heart on your sleeve”.

    I think you touched on some topics related to employment, but I think this post relates to many different areas of our “online
    persona”. We need to use social media and our regular “off-line” networks to help others in all areas- and not just those who are job hunting.

    It’s great to use social media to communicate with an old friend or to share a comical photo, but at the end of the day, all forms of communication must be for a higher purpose. After all, isn’t that why we are all here? Some choose to do that in a more creative way (loved the video at the end!), while others are just more straightforward and to the point. Thank you for touching on this.

    One point I have to seriously address though. In the section titled “Are We True To Ourselves?” you mentioned that some people are reluctant to share their employment status. I have to agree, but I think that is the fault of the employment culture. There’s always pressure to put food on the table wherever you live and many of us don’t have the “I will be ok financially if I am unemployed for x months” cushion. So many of us end up feeling like a failure because we can’t provide for our families or we become worried about what will happen next, especially those that have been unemployed for a longer period of time.

    I am doing a little personal research into this now and I am finding that some people feel that they might appear to be “desperate” if all they talk about is their job search online or wear it on their sleeve-especially to people who don’t know them that well. I have also been told many times that “…it’s easier to find a job when you have one.” Ok, that’s all well and good, but what if you just moved to a new place, lost your job due to a layoff, or just got out of school or a training program? That negative energy doesn’t really help much.

    I know that we are all busy, but if moved beyond those negative aspects of the employment culture and really moved to help people, maybe unemployment and underemployment rates would be lower.

    Thanks again for a great post.