Reinventing Myself

by on March 7th, 2015
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Black Friday may be the biggest shopping day of the year to some, but for me, it is the day that I lost my job.

I saw it coming; just not so soon. My co-workers and I were all hoping we had until after the holidays at least.

That was back in 2008, the day I joined the ranks of the unemployed.

I felt all the typical feelings that someone who loses their job feels. I felt relief, at first, because the wondering when “it” would happen was over. The fear set in when I realized that unemployment benefits would take weeks to process and living paycheck to paycheck meant I would fall behind on my bills. The panic was hard to overcome but I reassured myself that I was good at stretching a dollar and I would do it again.

I expected that it would only be a few months until I found something else. The few months turned into years and when my 99 weeks were up, the real panic set in.

I always felt that I was so versatile in my job experience that certainly this would help me land a new position. The rules had changed. My long-term unemployment was strike one against me. Somehow being unemployed long-term meant that I was not a good candidate.

Unemployment and depression go together and I fought the feelings of hopelessness. When I started to think about going back to the daily grind I really panicked. Although I needed a paycheck I didn’t want my old life back. It was time to re-invent myself.

Many other long-term unemployed workers are doing the same thing. Frustrated at the lack of available positions, many are finding their own jobs by becoming self-employed.

The catch to self-employment is that you will not get rich overnight but if you keep at it you can become self-sufficient. It takes discipline and hard work. It also takes believing in your unique qualities and belief in your will to survive.

I have lived through tough financial times in my past and my personal vow was to never allow that to happen again. I am not too proud to take a job that is “beneath” me but I never got an offer to consider.

It is obvious to me that this is a new world we are living in. Getting a job is not as easy as it used to be. The truth is that in many fields, jobs are scarce. For someone with my background, re-inventing myself is my best shot at earning a living.

I won’t lie and say that there are not days where sheer panic sets in. I have my moments of doubt but overall I am a fighter. I am not giving up or giving in.

I don’t pay much attention to politicians’ promises of creating new jobs. I am not waiting for the government to save me, I will save myself.

Anyone who finds themselves unemployed should first look at it as an opportunity for change. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut, doing what we need to do to get by. Maybe there is a better way for us. Unemployment can give you that time to re-evaluate what you want out of your life.

Take this time to finish your education. Make plans to follow that unfulfilled dream of starting your own business. Use your skills to become your own boss. The sky is the limit- if you just believe in yourself.


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