What's It Like to Be Unemployed?

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Most of us have
been unemployed at some juncture in our careers.  Whether it was for two weeks or two months,
it was a painful process not knowing if and when we were going to find
employment.  Some had unemployment benefits
to help pay the rent, others were forced to quit a toxic job environment,
ending up with no monies or job leads.

Many of us have
stories where we lived on frozen food from Lean Cuisine, dealt with self-doubt
of our abilities and sent out countless resumes, without one response.
  Unemployment is not a new concept, yet the
depth of this "Great Recession" is harsher and longer than any I have
experienced in my lifetime.

Even with our
government extending unemployment benefits at a historic rate, many will still
struggle to hold onto a lifestyle they worked hard to attain, and some will
have to "start over" in another career, just to survive.  So the question remains, "What does it feel
like to be unemployed?"

There are numerous
discussion groups commenting on their "unemployment experience", making them a
supportive platform to share their experience of being unemployed.  Many express that they are experiencing severe
depression, frustration, loss of confidence and are generally feeling annoyed
and irritated.

They have reached a
new low in their job search as the days go by and they don't get gainful
employment.  One job seeker says, "I fear
to lose my confidence and am scared to become an unsuccessful person.  At the end of the day, I do not want to regret
my decision that I chose the wrong field of my study and that is why I am
standing here today."

Another job seekers
said, "Employers are treating people like dirt and robbing them of whatever
dignity we have left. Now it is being said that the recovery may take years to
happen.  Terms like the "new reality' is
being used by the President like we might as well get used to it."

The responses to
the unemployment experience are heart-wrenching and clearly these people are at
their wits end.   Though, many of the
long-term unemployed have found ways to make money as a handy-man, or a
cocktail waitress, to ride out the storm. 
"You do what you have to do.  At
some point you have to start looking for opportunity in other areas", a
long-term displaced worker says.

What is your
unemployment story?  How are you dealing
with the unemployment process?  What tips
can you give for surviving this process? 
In the end, the people that we can learn from are the one's that have
overcome a similar obstacle.  Share your
thoughts are how you are coping with unemployment, so that you can help others!


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  • Severe depression, frustration, loss of confidence and generally feeling annoyed and irritated are all too familiar.

  • Thanks for the comment. Getting motivated to continue to look for a job is the most difficult when you are frustrated and your self esteem is at a low. Spend time away from your job search meeting with supportive people and doing things that you enjoy that help you feel better about yourself. And, keep on networking and tightening up your pitch.

  • I am a former Chicagoian living in Australia. We have not been hit nearly as hard as the states over the last few years. My brother was a COO of a company and had worked for them for 17 years. He was made redundant almost 2 years ago now. Watching him struggle has been hard. As he worked in a bit of a different structure he was not ready to go out and look for other COO postions. So, he had to drop down a bit and then he was told he was over qualified. This went on for over a year and then his confidence just went out the door. He is now 2 years into his job search. It has changed him as a human being to day the least.

  • In reply to czumwalt:

    Hi CZ- Your story about your brother sturggling demonstrats just how bad the job market is. Your brother was a valued employee for 17 years as a COO and now has been unemployed for 2 years, trying to get back into the job market. And, now he is overqualifed for a lesser position than a COO! The stress of being unemployed affects not only the job candidate but his family. Keeping up good self-esteem is so difficult. Many will have to "start over" in their careers and take a lower pay to survive. They will have reinvent themselves into a candidate that offers value to an employer in what they need. This is where I tell my clients to do, go where the job growth is and accumulate the education and skills necessary to succeed.

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