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Small Wonders: Thoughts from the unemployed

December 04, 2010|By Patrick Caneday

It's easy to feel alone when the world sets you back. A few weeks ago, I wrote about reaching the one-year mark of being unemployed and asked to hear your stories. I wouldn't exactly call my situation misery, but I do love company. And it was heartening to hear about this life change from other people's perspectives.

The most common affliction of the unemployed was the toll on their self-worth. It's tough believing in yourself when it seems no one else does.

"The hardest thing to deal with is what my children think about me not working and not providing," Nick told me. "My oldest boy still remembers the days when I was away from home at work for days at a time. Even though those were tough times in the sense of not seeing each other, I knew he was very proud of me ... Maybe I'm old school, but I still value the way I remember my father at a young age. He was a hard worker, and I knew then what it meant to be a provider. What do my children think I am now?"

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Besides lack of money, the worst part for one reader was "the constant black cloud of dread and helplessness. After a while the constant grind of facing the very real possibility that you may never work steadily again begins to drain your optimism and hope. You become unmotivated and lazy and get the feeling that you're the only one in the world shuffling around the house in your sweatpants while the rest of the world works."

John adds: "The fear that I am not going to be okay is overwhelming. I feel like no one is on my side, that I am completely forgotten about … I feel like I have nothing to offer …"

Like others, Scott H. is frustrated with job searching: "With the online world overflowing with job 'classified' opportunities, the hardest thing is to continue to send out countless resumes and be all right with never getting a single response. It appears that few companies use anything other than personal references … which can be great if you know those people."

Teri offered this: "The sport that the economic downsizing amongst industries has started can make even the longest of marathons seem easy. You find yourself competing for just how low is the lowest you will go salary-wise …"

Until becoming the pastor at Grandview Presbyterian Church last May, Scott McGinnis had a good spell in the ranks of the unemployed.

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