The “Gift” Of Unemployment

Losing your job…a gift or a curse? It just might be the gift of inspiration. It is very rare to have some time in your life to figure it all out with a safety net like an unemployment check. I come across so many people who have an illness or have something happen in their lives that brings unexpected sadness. Yet they soldier on, one person I know even saying, “this disease is my blessing in disguise.”  I always marveled at that ability to take a bad situation and to turn it for the positive. When you have lost your job and in turn your professional identity, it is hard to positive.

But you begin to realize that in every situation in life, unemployment included, you can become a victim or a survivor. In these hard times of “chronic unemployment” where people are getting discouraged and just dropping out of the job force, it is often a missed opportunity to create your own job or your own path to follow. For a while, I used my talents to create a small part-time business, Nanny On Call. I used my love of children to take the opportunity to help out others who needed the help while giving myself the time to look for a new career opportunity….and to stay fulfilled. I was able to job-hunt and really explore the different things I liked to do while searching for a job that would fit with the things I excel at. I found meaning in being with children and to take a step back and make life simpler and to see it through the wide-eyes of children–no judgement, no assumptions, no baggage.

I also volunteered, because being with people and helping people was something that was important to me,  job or no job. More companies really need to take volunteer work into consideration when hiring candidates. The love and passion for a cause where someone does the job “for free” as a volunteer, can really give employers a gauge of the level of commitment a person is willing to invest. I had realized long before I lost my job that I really was enjoying the child care I was doing and the volunteer work much more than my “real job”. The gift of unemployment gave many other gifts—the insight to seek work in a job where I dealt one on one with people each day, the need to make a difference, and the gift of having people care when I showed up to help.

It always sounds corny when people ask, “what is your passion?” But without passion, we tend to lose faith and become the victims and not the survivors. Volunteering helped me survive. I soldiered on and came in with my A-game, my positive attitude and with the need to create meaning even without a paycheck. I treated my volunteer work no differently than I did a paid job–I treated it with respect, I worked hard, and I left at the end of the day knowing that a job well done always has meaning and importance. Today I work at the same nonprofit I volunteered at. The best gift of all.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. danardoyle
    Jun 07, 2011 @ 01:57:22

    Unemployment can be quite miserable. You did a great thing by volunteering with your new found free time. You helped others and your own state of mind at the same time!


  2. DWH
    Jun 08, 2011 @ 15:25:30

    You are a “survivor” for sure and will always be with this outlook. I hope many people read this, pass it on, and take inspiration from it.


  3. deeburnley
    Jun 29, 2011 @ 15:57:11

    I think you’re right. I’ve tried to look at the world that way now and it’s working. I’ve looked into volunteer opportunities, am spending more time with my husband (who lost his job a month after I did), enjoy my hobbies more, and use my kitchen as a test kitchen. I’m also looking into transition the type of work I do into a self-employment set up. You have to see that you need positive things in your life, reasons to get out of bed in the morning, stop defining yourself by what you do for a little bit. Good luck in all you choose to do.


    • comicjobgirl
      Jun 30, 2011 @ 15:26:41

      Good luck! I have found that you really do sift through and find the important things you want to do in life when you are able to step back and take the time (though unexepectedly given to you) to figure things out.


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