Unemployed Means Unencumbered

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chain breakingPublic perception of the condition of being unemployed is often negative and tends to blame the jobless without regard for economic circumstances or other barriers to employment. Many people who have not suffered through the loss of a job or extended unemployment look down on those in the midst of this trial. Indeed, those unemployed often blame themselves for their situation when the self-blame or sense of victimization may not be warranted. The fact that individuals tie at least some degree of their own self-worth to their job and the act of being employed holds psychological ramifications for periods of no work. Fortunately, it is possible to overcome both situations, combat fear, and look beyond negative perceptions.

Overcoming personal negative perceptions can be difficult due to societal feedback that works to reinforce those negative views. But a few steps can be taken to help conquer the fears and doubts that accompany unemployment. First, it is important to understand the facts about unemployment. In fact, losing at least one job during the active decades before retirement should be expected, regardless of education, skills, or seniority. Sometimes, events such as corporate mergers and cost-cutting programs may eliminate positions that end jobs regardless of performance. Often, unemployment is due to plain old bad luck. Don’t take it personally. Don’t blame yourself. Just try to accept that it happened and move on to greener pastures.

Given that the future is unknowable and opportunities are frequently disguised as hardships, viewing your situation as simply being between jobs, as opposed to the much maligned and stigmatized “unemployed,” is both more productive and motivating. You never know when other employment or self-employment may reveal itself and offer unpredicted opportunity.

One of the best approaches to any period of unemployment is to stay busy and think strategically. Moving forward isn’t just about getting another job, but using your new free time to make yourself more marketable and even change careers. Sure, part of your day should be dedicated to getting out in the marketplace and applying for jobs, but the remaining time shouldn’t simply be spent lounging around watching television; use it investigate other cities that may offer more desirable opportunities requiring your expertise or train for certifications within your field. You could also look to volunteer for a worthy cause using your skill set and maintain your emotional health through regular participation and accomplishment. Not only will these news skills or experience work to impress the next hiring manager, but will also assist in keeping you from the depths of self-pity.

As far as addressing the opinions of others, just actively disregard it. Regardless of your position in life, there will always be individuals who will treat you with contempt. But one of the facts of life is that you can never please everyone, nor should you try. Furthermore, using your free time to develop your skills, improve your health, or contribute to society may help reverse the stigma surrounding unemployment into something more inspirational. Maintaining a positive attitude and achieving demonstrable results work only to shape you into an even better job candidate.

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Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.