Some advice for those newly unemployed

Dateline: Thu 23 Jul 2009

1. You are not your job. You have dignity as a person; your dignity is not defined by your employer. It is yours and yours alone. It is not defined by what you did, but by who you are. Nobody can take your dignity from you. It is a gift from God. If you are an atheist, then your dignity is your humanist right, a given. You matter.

2. Comparison is a sure sign of failure. This is an axiom I memorized as a high school student. Do not look to what others are doing, because that is meaningless and absurd. You are unique. Do not compare yourself to your neighbors and what they have, to the rich, etc. It is not important. Somebody else will always have a "better job" and make more money. So what? You are an individual. Take pride in yourself.

3.  Cash flow. A friend who has a master's degree in human resources has educated me on this tenet. When the HR field dried up for her, she went to work as a cook. "Cash flow... cash flow" is how she explained her decision to work in the food industry. She needs cash; her job provides that. It is enough to have "cash flow." In this economy, cash flow is a very good thing.

4. Back to No. 1. You have dignity as a person. That dignity is yours, and nobody can take that from you.

5. All work has dignity. Have pride in your work ethic. It is not bullshit that this is part and parcel of the American dream -- good work is its own reward. That does not mean your company or your boss will recognize you, but you can take solace in your own integrity. Do your best. That counts.

6. A new book on  happiness (The Why of Happiness) defines happiness this way: 50 percent of what you are is genetic; 10 percent is the s--- that happens, good or bad. But 40 percent is your attitude. That you can control. Take charge of your destiny.

7. Practice cognitive therapy. Act a certain way, and the feelings will follow. Act like a loser, you will feel like a loser. Define yourself as a winner, and you are just that. Step up, walk tall, be proud. Give yourself pats on the back. "Good person, good person" is a great mantra.

If anybody who has been in this current Christless job market can attest to other advice, please lay it on us. We need to hear some positives.

This is an open forum. I would love to hear how the rest of you are coping in these difficult times.





Kendra [unverified] said:

I've been unemployed for 5 months months. Your advice is helpful. The one issue I have found hardest has been the roller coaster ride. This takes place on two levels.
1. I've had interviews with employers and I never hear from them again. You wait and wait and Nothing! I can call and leave a message and still no reply. They could even email a reply to those of us they interviewed. But to say nothing speaks volumes about the company and not in a good way.
2. How do you spend all your time so you continue intereacting with others. During the first month I used only 1 tank of gas cause I went no where. Why spend the money to shower when you aren't going anywhere. It quickly can go downhill. Finding cheap ways to make sure you go out and keep active is crucial.

2009-07-23 23:26:27

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Ruth, you pretty much covered all the bases in your post.

Wisdom comes with many years and with many wrinkles, huh? (smile).

I think your No. 1 is the most important. A job is what a person does, only a part who they are. In my own belief-system, what we are is who God created us to be: mind, soul, body, spirit. If folks here haven't read Thomas Merton on this, they might want to.

Self-esteem is a major problem for many losing jobs. Don't give up on yourself and do realize that this life is a marathon and not a 100-yard sprint. Young people often think that "today" means "forever." Circumstances in life can change quickly and dramatically.

When I was young, I was poor a lot of the time and lived in a tent for a period of time. Those "tent days" are some of the happiest days of my life, in retrospect.

Do life one-day-at-a-time and with patience and diligence things will eventually work out for you.

2009-07-23 23:51:12

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

Be prepared to make new friends. If most of the people you associate with are work-time friends, you will need to find a new posse. When you-- or they-- are gone from the workplace, you will no longer have your core interest to kvetch about.

But that's ok because you need to broaden your contact base anyway. If you continue talking and hanging out only with work buddies, you will miss the train.

2009-07-24 07:06:50

Jeff [unverified] said:


A quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that helps me cope:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

2009-07-24 07:23:45

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

All good advice, but Kendra brought a tear to my eye.

Kendra, honey, try some of the following, free pastimes. And mingle at the appropriate times, ready to make new friends:

1. The new central Marion County Library. Activities galore. Book clubs, free movies, classes...

2. Large, unusual shopping opportunities. It doesn't work for everyone, and you have to have the fortitude to not "want" everything you see. But try places where you don't really need anything: for instance, if you have a nice home, go to the two-story Midland Antique Mart. Don't let the name fool you. there's art, modern furniture, etc. A nicely-run large flea market. Browse and lose yourself in time.

3. Write. Do a journal, write letters, do whatever it takes to exercise your brain. Do puzzles. Computer games. Staying sharp mentally is required in tough times. Free-lance. Send written articles to Nuvo, free papers, whatever. All they can do it throw them away. You're doing it for the mental exercise, and it is invigorating.

4. Build on small successes. If you're having difficulty doing one new task a day, celebrate somehow when you complete one new task a day. Reward yourself with a movie, an ice cream cone, whatever. Build success one task at a time. Start small.

I realize this is all mental gymnastics And I admit that sometimes, it seems as if you're tricking your brain into thinking you're doing better.

The longest journey begins with a single step. Good luck, Kendra. A silent prayer is offered up for you.

2009-07-24 07:54:27

ruthholl [Member] said:

All these comments should be stitched into a sampler and hung on every wall in every home in America. It's all beautiful, people. Lots of wisdom here.
Kendra, you are going to be fine. You are reaching out, that's so important. Take care of yourself and keep talking. As a therapist told me once, in one of the many crises that befall most lives, "Do not let this stigmatize you." TTT has some wonderful ideas -- good support group!

2009-07-24 12:03:44

kaballah38 [Member] said:

Kendra, go to Marriott Downtown Indianapolis.

They need good employees.

They don't pay well, but they give great benefits.

2009-07-24 12:09:07

ruthholl [Member] said:

More good advice! Thank you K38.

2009-07-24 12:24:00

linda [unverified] said:

ALL well said. Kendra--you grabbed at my heart, too. Do you have a Starbucks near you? I hear they pay decent and have health insurance. Even if you have a gazillion degrees, Ruth is right---"cash flow, cash flow".
If you're on the eastside, The Laze Daze Coffeehouse has free concerts/music frequently. Check their website.
Do volunteer work. You never know when that could turn into a paying job and is valuable on a resume. I happen to know a place that needs volunteers---Ruth, may I?

2009-07-25 19:24:55

linda [unverified] said:

Kendra--start a blog about being unemployed.

2009-07-25 19:41:53

Kendra [unverified] said:

Thanks for the concern and the positive words. I am actually doing pretty well. What I wrote about are things I have learned during this process and could share with others. This last week I spent time with some friends helping them move. They thought I was helping them. I knew I was helping me.

A blog is an interesting idea. I'm not from the newspaper industry. I just like reading Ruth's columns. She has a lot of variety in her blog.

2009-07-26 23:40:07

linda [unverified] said:

You're right on track. "they thought I was helping them> I knew I was helping me."
Do give thought about starting a blog---it's definitely a hot topic right now, being unemployed.

2009-07-27 09:38:07

Kendra [unverified] said:

I used to think that those that were unemployed were just not trying to find a job. I had no comprehension how bad things were until it happened to me. The depth of the problem is far larger than I ever dreamed.

My friend, an interior designer, bemoaned that fact that he couldn't even get a job selling carpets. It isn't about just trying to find a job in our own special area. It is just finding a job. And when you hear that you are one of 60 being interviewed of the 600 applications they received in just 2 days.... you almost feel proud to be one of those interviewed. However getting that job was outside the possibility of reality.

I just don't think people get it. And if I hear one more person complain about how things are so bad and trying to turn it into a political statement and their next sentence is followed up by their vacation plans or all the new things they are buying. I just want to show them a little reality.

And I am one of the lucky ones. I own my home. I own my car. I am making it on unemployment. (I won't make to thru the winter heating months.) But it isn't just having change in your pocket that is the difficulty. I am very hopeful for my future, but I wish others understood better. Perhaps I wish that I had understood better before it happened to me.

2009-07-27 13:55:49

linda [unverified] said:

Kendra..........I want to keep up with what's going on with you.

2009-07-30 13:25:24

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