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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