Unemployed and Depressed? It's Normal.

If you weren't depressed, you'd be crazy. Unemployment is depressing.

[DISCLAIMER: The following should not be construed as professional advice. If you are chronically depressed, get help. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, go here or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) IMMEDIATELY Life is a beautiful gift though it might feel like a turd sandwich going down your throat right now.]

I have to admit it: I get depressed. I guess depression is the word for it it. Getting out of bed is a chore. Life seems pointless. Leaving the house is worse than staying in because I generally have nowhere to go but to the park or to the library -- you know, places where the homeless hang out. Hanging out with homeless people is more depressing than sitting at home alone and wondering how long it will be until I, too, am homeless.

They say it's important to "get out there." But where do you go? The days of putting on your best suit and pounding pavement with a briefcase full of crisp, updated CVs are gone. You can't just saunter in to a place of business and hand them your résumé anymore. Your cunning in getting past security will be futile; the receptionist will nervously inform you that they only accept online applications.

You can only "work the network" for so long. At some point, if that doesn't pan out, you are left with no options beyond the job lottery -- submitting applications into the online tsunami of them hoping for a phone call. I get about one phone call a week if I spend all my time doing that. (It used to be two, but the economy has really gone downhill.)

All of this is very depressing. I don't know if I'm a textbook case of depression yet, but I don't bother to shave anymore. My hair is a mess. The mirror, my mortal enemy, mocks me at every opportunity. All I want to do is sleep. The only thing that's kept me from developing a (more severe) drinking problem is lack of money. I accept the fact that I am a total. fucking. loser. How did I get here? Does it really matter?

Exercise helps. Going for a long bike ride makes me feel good for an hour or two. Lifting weights isn't really my thing (but I do it anyway) because it makes me think of prison (not that I have any first-hand experience with that). Swimming would be nice, but it's out of my price range. Yoga always calms me and cools my searing rage.

Ah yes, the rage: They say it's a symptom of depression. What unemployed soul hasn't experienced its awesome power? When I lift weights, I imagine smashing some investment banker's Ferrari with one of those heavy municipal garbage cans. The rage is what makes you say, "Fuck sadness! Let's kick some ass!" Then the flames die down to a smoulder as you realize that kicking any ass but your own is a waste of time. And you're back to Square One: Depression.

I don't buy all that bullshit about depression being some sort of natural chemical imbalance. That's just another con job to sell pharmaceuticals, modern day snake oil sales. The only reason that I am depressed is that I do not have a job. This was never a problem for me before. Did I have bad days? Sure. Did I feel sad? Yeah, usually when something bad happened to somebody else. The only time that depression has continued for weeks and months on end is during periods of unemployment.

I guess that makes things easy in a way. If I can get a job, it will cure my depression.

Here's to hoping...

-------------------------------

Update: By the way, I have found hypnosis to be highly effective. If you have a few bucks lying around, it might be worth trying a recording or two. (Disclosure: I am an affiliate of the linked-to product and stand to gain financially if you purchase it through that link.)

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BustedFlatinBklyn's picture

Sheesh...

What are you so depressed about, man? You've got this great site! I see you've got some ads and stuff. Sometimes it really is darkest just before the dawn. Hang in there.

When you ain't got nothin', you got nothin' to lose - B. Dylan

When you ain't got nothin', you got nothin' to lose - B. Dylan

chuck's picture

sure hope you're right

thanks for the support.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Surrender.

Surrender.
Col. Hector Bravado
denversixshooter.com

Col. Hector Bravado
denversixshooter.com

chuck's picture

Good advice

It works if you do it consciously. Just say, "Whatever. Hit me with all you got, life," and it all passes.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Pls don't dismiss treatment - some people need it

Chuck - You know I love your work and appreciate this site very much. I enjoy the benefits this safe haven provides and thank you for the freedom to process my unemployment / underemployment ups and downs without fear.

While I agree with most of what you say, you know I also respectfully disagree occasionally. So here's my thing today...

You said, "I don't buy all that bullshit about depression being some sort of natural chemical imbalance. That's just another con job to sell pharmaceuticals, modern day snake oil sales."

I say, there are exceptions to this. That is, I think there must be. The funny / sad thing is, I'd have been 100% with you on this two weeks ago, but the recent suicide of a dear friend altered my view on the subject.

This is not meant to be about her, but about the stress unemployment added to her other challenges. We can all relate to that. My friend loved life, constantly encouraged others, and faced most days' challenges with optimism.

I can't say her unsuccessful job hunt caused her depression, or triggered the drastic action she finally took, but it didn't help. Stress caused something to change for her, or in her, along the way. I wondered how she went from seeing the world as a playground of opportunity to a worthless piece of shit. It simply was not her.

I scoured the Internet to try to understand why anyone would choose suicide. I finally found a website that was so enlightening to me, it helped me stop being angry at my friend for her "bad" choice. It's possible she simply became too sick to logically think her way through her depression anymore. It happens. I wonder if the website would have helped her...

So it's a double-edged sword. As much as I believe Big Pharma is out to medicate the masses for maximum profit, there are also individuals who can benefit from meds or counseling. Stress and / or substance abuse can cause mental illness to flare up and interfere with job hunting. Also, onset of menopause is a wicked time for some middle-aged women.

All this, just to say untreated severe depression is dangerous. I know you've already told readers to seek professional help, if they think they need it. Thank you for letting me say it, too.

chuck's picture

Thoughts of suicide...

... are not normal and their appearance means immediate treatment is necessary.

Suicide is a permanent "solution" to temporary problems. Anyone considering suicide should visit this website or -- better yet -- dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

right now!!!

Thanks for sharing that. Don't know how I missed this comment. Probably because I didn't have to moderate it thanks to your elevated permissions.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

depression + unemployment

ahhh. sitting at my computer on a beautiful day in southern california and looking for answers to help me get out of my funk.
I have been unemployed for over five months and have been suffering from depression and more than anything - anger. Real bad anger. I can't get beyond my job loss and the anger at my past employer - I have dreams about work still !! It doesn't help that I am now 50 years old, peri-menopausal, and dealing with being out of work as an older female.
I was replaced with a young woman half my age with 2 yrs experience. UGH.
I do have thoughts of what the fuck - who cares anymore about anything.
It is the holidays and I want to just crawl under a rock and hide. I hate going out and it takes forever to even get the energy to get dressed. I am thinking about taking drugs for depression to get me out of this nightmare. I know exercise, yoga, diet all help but I can't even motivate to do the dishes let alone take a walk.

chuck's picture

medication can help

if all else fails, it's worth a try. I just think that all too often it is a first resort.

Good luck to you. Try to use your anger to fuel constructive projects -- it's an incredible source of energy.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

unemployed documentary

I am working on a documentary about people who are unemployed and depressed. Would you be interested in talking to me about what you are going through?

danhautz's picture

Documentary

I will talk with you

documentary

I'll talk to you about this, too.

Where's the contact information?

I'd like to talk about it too, but there's no contact info. This is one reason why people need to register for the site -- so we can contact each other and work on things together.

(Just realized that I'm not registered. That will change in a matter of minutes.)

Documentary

I will talk to you too. It's the worst! Esp at middle age.

yup

I'd gladly help you out.

katyreigh's picture

Count on me!

Count me in too!!! Gladly!!!

"I don't buy all that

"I don't buy all that bullshit about depression being some sort of natural chemical imbalance. That's just another con job to sell pharmaceuticals, modern day snake oil sales. The only reason that I am depressed is that I do not have a job."

I appreciate all of your comments, and feel much the same, save one: I am dismayed by your comment that depression is never an "imbalance".

I am unemployed and extremely depressed - 1 1/2 years without a job. BUT the thing is, I have ALWAYS been depressed. Bad times, good times, great times - aside from very occasional, momentary, manic-like joy, I am always depressed. I even received a PhD earlier this year - finally - and how did that feel? I tried very hard to be happy, get excited - I always thought it would be an exception, I so looked forward to graduation - but I was empty and hollow - and that, in turn, made me miserable - I cried after the ceremony, I couldn't help it - I thought, if this doesn't make me feel better, does that mean nothing ever will? And that IS a chemical imbalance.

I have been in and out of therapy since I was a teenager - 19 years. And yes, I now take medication, 6 years on and off - it is the only thing that prevents suicidal thoughts - and so for me and others, medication really IS necessary. Maybe not for momentary, situational depression, but certainly for the other kind, my kind. There really should be different names for these conditions - they are NOT the same. So your depression is from unemployment only? That's good news for you, but that does NOT mean everyone's is only caused by some real-world problem.

And so while I agree that not all depression is physical or physiological - stress, mourning, unemployment, and the like leads to "situational depression" (according to my psychiatrist) - my depression, and many others, IS physical - otherwise, it's inexplicable.

It is this societal belief that depression is all in our heads, that if we buck up and think positive, things will change, that leads many of us depressives into reclusiveness - aside from my very supportive husband, I am a recluse primarily because I can't be open with anyone for fear of them thinking I should just stop feeling sorry for myself or trying to give me a pep talk. I don't feel sorry for myself, I don't need a pep talk - I simply have next to no control over how I feel, and I need someone to simply accept that. THAT alone would make me feel better - I could make friends, go places, talk to people without hiding my true self.

chuck's picture

Fair enough.

I still don't buy it, though, except in extremely rare cases. Maybe you're one of those.

Did you try exercise, meditation, switching up your diet, hypnosis or any of a thousand different ways of re-wiring your brain before deciding that it was just easier to fork money over to Big Pharma every month?

Anyway, if it works for you, may your pill bottle never be empty. Who am I to judge?

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Pills

Being unemployed myself I fully understand the importance of exercise and in some cases pills. I will say, not having prescription insurance really bites when you need it the most. I was so happy to find that I could save big $$ on my maintenace medications at www.nationalprescriptiondiscounts.com. Its free to have and free to use. Just print your card up and use it. It sometimes saves more than 75% off the price I was paying and its accepted at almost every pharmacy.

chuck's picture

Great

Thanks for sharing this.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Pep talks

Pep talks from people who are not in our shoes and have no clue as to the depth of our depressive feelings just piss me off. Just recently, what started as a joyous 3-way conversation with two friends back in my home state, turned into a conversation that I wish never happened.

I was expressing myself regarding being unemployed and depressed, and all the struggles that come along with it. All I wanted from my friends was to accept what I had to say and provide a listening ear in order for me to achieve some cathartic therapy from it. Instead, I received overbearing counsel telling me to "stop feeling sorry for myself", as well as the typical 'shoulda' and 'coulda'.

Easy for them to say. Do they think I'm so stupid and inept enough to not know what I should or could do? Of course I do; all of us here in the same boat probably all do. But when people are depressed and struggling emotionally, the "doing" part doesn't always come so easy. It takes time, it takes strength, and it takes the support of your loved ones and friends just "being there" for you.

So I hear and feel you in your last paragraph here. If my friends would have just simply accepted and sympathized with my feelings, this in itself would have been helpful for me. Instead, their so-called "pep talk because we care" ended up making me feel small, incompetent, childish and ashamed; in other words, worse than how I felt before I started. Well guys, thanks for nothing.

I'm so glad I found Chuck's blog because now I know I can come here and feel okay about what I'm going through, because we're all pretty much on the same ship out in the vast ocean of unemployment and depression. Best wishes to all my comrades.

Cheryl

freckles in CT's picture

I know what you mean

I know what you mean - I tried to talk to my husband about how I feel and he told me "Just get over it and put it behind you." Just because I don't discuss it doesn't mean I am over it. I stopped talking about it with anyone - but the hurt and feeling of being invaluable are there inside of me burning tucked away tightly for no one to see. I put a smile on my face even when I feel like I would rather be out of this world. Tried to get together with friends - found out that people will stick with you through thick and thin but when it gets too thick - they thin out. Learned a lot of lessons over the past 5 months. Hang in there - we are here - even if we don't reply, we read the posts and know exactly how you feel.

Freckles

chuck's picture

I hear that

This rings so true. A friend trying to cheer you up by minimizing your pain when they haven't the foggiest clue of what you're enduring... yeah, talk about making a bad situation worse.

I wish there were something like AA for unemployed people since we're the only ones that really know what it's about.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

We're all here for each other

Freckles: I completely relate with you, so just take some joy in knowing we can come on Chuck's blog and open up to people who understand exactly what it's like.

After my recent episode with my two so-called friends, I don't ever want to talk about my feelings with them again. But on the other hand, they know how upset I am and now they've "thinned out" on me as you put it. They can't even deal with the fact that they hurt my feelings. Well, at this point, I don't even know if our friendship is still in tact. But as the saying goes, "with friends like that, who needs enemies?" holds true for me. Friends should be like bras; support and uplift, not bring us down.

Chuck: I nominate your blog as our version of AA; you can call it UA = Unemployments Anonymous :)

Peace everyone...

No One has a clue

No one has a clue as to how it feels to be unemployed unless you are. I have two Masters degrees and I have been out of work for a year and a half. there are days where I ask myself why did I even bother getting an education when all it has done for me is turned me into an Overqualified, unemployable, if I hire her she might take my job, person. My living situation is crumbling by the minute because I am not making any money. I know I cannot live anywhere free, but for once, I just want someone to understand that I want that opportunity to be gainfully employed again. I am at the end of my rope. I dont really want to continue with things being this way.

chuck's picture

Things won't always be this way

Freda, you're worrying me. When you say "I don't want to continue," I hope you're not hinting at a permanent "solution" that can't be undone.

I will guarantee you that your life will not be the same five years from now.

You have two Masters degrees? Maybe you're aiming too low. Not knowing your background, I can't offer any advice on stones you may not have turned over yet, but I bet there are a few.

Someday I'm going to get my business roaring, and I'm going to discriminate against the EMPLOYED when hiring. I'm only going to hire hungry, motivated, skilled long-term unemployed, and I'm going to KICK MY COMPETITORS' ASSES!!!

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

water2u's picture

Thank you! So many people

Thank you! So many people need to hear and understand this.

It's hard Chuck, its very hard

It's hard Chuck, its very hard.
I have worked for over 28 years and now unemployed. Laid off, Fired or Terminated they are all the same to me. I was let go with no reason other then they can hire and fire at will. The new management did not want me and a few others and we were let go.

I have good days and bad ones, it's like a roller coster ride. I wish someone would call me with a job offer, but there are not many IT jobs around were I live.

If I take another job that just gets me by I don't know how hard it would be to get back to making the monies were I was at.

I searh google now and then for key words like unemployed and depression and found your site today. Thats why I'm posting.

The firends that I thought were friends from work don't call or e-mail. It's like I'm a virus or something and that hurts even more.

If I stay busy doing things around the house I seem to be ok.

Just want to work thats all.

Depressed in NY.

chuck's picture

I've been there

You have no idea how much I relate to what you're saying. In a world where so much needs to be done, how can so many people be without anything to do?

I hope you find or make work soon. I see you're in New York. If you're in the vicinity of Queens or Manhattan, contact me through this site. We'll have coffee on me.

Good luck.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Jobs

I can identify with the 'jobs around the house' experience. Left the UK to live in France in 97 and the UK has become even less attractive since.

Landed on my feet when I bought this place. It had been my dream for years to own an old place and renovate it. Built in 1600 and something, with a ton of work to get it habitable. That much done but still a ton to do. Worked in IT as well and that took me away for weeks at a time so progress on the house was slow...until the recession and the phone stopped ringing.

That was December 2008 and I wasn't so worried. I mean, if you are getting 5 unprompted calls a week for contract work then the work-gap cant possibly be long. I was dead wrong on that count. I don't think I've had five calls since.

Spent the first few months just working on the house. It was like a holiday. Hard physical work mostly but I never felt so good. By May 2009 reality was starting to catch up. Do I conserve my funds or press on with the work?

Now, 18 months later and I have to save weeks to get even the smallest job done. Need a support wall in the back garden. I can complete the job in three weeks but the materials? That's several months of penny-pinching. You cant get credit in France at the best of times. Even an overdraft has to be cleared by the middle of the following month or your account gets locked.

Made the decision to sell the place. Heartbreaking to sell up before the job is finished but if I don't then the bank will do it for me. But no one is buying.

What I did find helpful was making a list of the jobs done each day, even if its a list of one. When work is in slow-slow mode you don't see the progress and you forget about the times when you think :'Why did I start this?'

It makes me laugh when I think of all the companies I've worked for. Being told about the valuable and important contribution I was making to the company and 'we take care of you'.

The house is now a prison. The jobs I can do keep me sane.

chuck's picture

I can relate

The to-do list is like a lifeline to sanity.

Good luck selling the place. Your story makes life seem so cruel -- you work your ass off all your life, finally fulfill a lifelong dream (owning and renovating an old house), and it becomes a "prison." To top it all off, you've got the stress of possibly losing the place and watching your funds dwindle.

Thanks for sharing.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

unemployed and depressed in the UK

Like most people, I have good and bad days. I battle to avoid drinking as I know it makes me feel worse but it also numbs the depression a little.
I exercise a lot, as I've been a long distance runner for years, so have always made the effort to eat healthily and exercise 2 or 3 times a week. I avoid pills as my sister takes anti-depressants and having to deal with her being a zombie, I definitely don't want to take them.
I was doing pretty well these last few weeks, got my optimism up after christmas. I even got a couple of interviews that went really well. And then got called yesterday to be told that I didn't get either job. The feedback was flimsy - they liked me, thought I had a lot of potential and would definitely consider me in the future...blah blah blah... If I'm so good, why didn't they just give me the job?
5 months into my redundancy and the light at the end of the tunnel is feeling further away than ever.
I do CBT and it does work, but its hard when you've got nothing to get up for each day.

chuck's picture

CBT?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy -- had to Google that one. It sounds a lot like what I've been doing on myself for years without having a name for it.

keeping a diary of significant events and associated feelings, thoughts and behaviors; questioning and testing cognitions, assumptions, evaluations and beliefs that might be unhelpful and unrealistic; gradually facing activities which may have been avoided; and trying out new ways of behaving and reacting. Relaxation, mindfulness and distraction techniques are also commonly included.

Surf around this blog to see it in action. LOL.

Goals are so incredibly important. I am of the opinion that the fundamental problem of unemployment -- aside from not having money which is also a big one -- is that you lack goals and direction. You don't have a reason to get up, a mission, a team.

So set goals and work toward achieving them.

Good luck. You're definitely not alone.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

water2u's picture

i can relate

I have the exact same battle with alcohol. I'm doing okay, but I certainly have my good and bad days....depression.
I have noticed how much I can beat myself up with negative thoughts/feelings about myself. In fact, I was just thinking last night I need to work on regaining some kind of self confidence. Not like I ever had a lot to begin with, but losing my workplace of 10 years was a real hit.

I too always try to exercise and eat right. I am trying to work on doing meditation.

Another thought: it seems like many people feel all would be well if only they had a job again. I think some job situations are depressing in and of themselves. There is a lot involved with working.

My sister also is on anti-depressants and other psych med.
Don't ever want to go there.

I think I have come to believe more in my percieved age limitations at 57 than I have in the intelligence and capabilities that God gave me. Maybe I should look into CBT. Don't know a thing about it. I am starting a book: The Mindful Way Through Depression. Really, I was too often depressed when I was employed.
I think I have alot of work to do on myself, regardless of my work situation.

Does anyone have suggestions for regaining belief in oneself I guess you could call it? Has anyone been dealing with this issue? Thanks!

chuck's picture

I think we've all dealt with that

Self-confidence swirls away during a period of joblessness. Small victories seem to restore it. Set achievable goals every day, and achieve them.

I know some jobs are depressing. The paycheck mitigates that somewhat. Overall, I would say being depressed because of a job is better than being depressed because of not having a job. That might be different if the job involved doing something that went against your own moral/ethical code.

Drinking -- yeah, that's something every unemployed person should avoid. Even if you've never had a problem with it, it can't make anything better.

Good luck with your book. It's therapeutic to write.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

water2u's picture

thank you for your reply to me

I should say right away, I should have said I am starting to READ the book: "The Mindful Way Through Depression".
However, I think I did need to hear about writing - something that would be good for me to do.

I agree with you about drinking. I have had more days with no alcohol than with this month. That is an accomplishment for me. I was taking benadryl, melatonin and using alcohol as sleep aids. Not useful overall!!! All that stuff is out of the house which is what works for me. My sleep problems were there before I lost my job, but I feel I am FINALLY making a progress on that. Reading myself to sleep now.

My last job of 8 years was a blackjack dealer in which one takes a lot of abuse mentally and physically.

Anyways, my goal for the day is to do some yoga and house cleaning.

Thank you for talking to all of us here. How are you doing today?
I really appreciate being able to speak freely here!! Very nice to be able to be oneself as one is....

One of Many

I am so glad I found your site.

I have been unemployed from full-time work for 16 months (gasp!), applied to over 800 jobs, and interviewed for six positions. Whoopdie-freaking-doo. Not even former managers have the "power" to throw me a life preserver, and hire me.

I lost my car, and my credit is all F'd up.

There is so much wrong with these stats. No wonder I feel like a worthless piece right now. Yet, there is a light inside of me that refuses to burn out.

I have done my best to be tenacious these last 16 months to keep myself busy while looking for work, seemingly reinventing myself...

...living with family. Cathartic, yet oh so mentally draining.

...feuding and parting ways with family who saw my unemployment as a way to take advantage of me as a full-time nurse to the family dog, and house cleaner. I am almost always the first to volunteer to help, pull my weight and contribute, but c'mon, making me feel like little orphan Annie is unacceptable!

...volunteering my time in the community. Okay, this was very rewarding.

...pushing my physical abilities to the max; being forced to ride my bike and walk everywhere in addition to my normal exercise activities showed me a newfound appreciation for physical strength. Too bad I didn't know this in college; I would have become a physical therapist or personal trainer, and not wasted my time with corporate BS!

...working a part-time job for $8.20 an hour - belittling to my ego, hell, yes!, but it didn't kill me. I could only stand working with twenty-year-old-know-it-all's for six months, but it sure did fuel my fire to not give up applying to full-time job opportunities in my field!

...living with friends (their generosity is amazing), spending time with my god-children, and developing new-found appreciation for traditional roles of mother/wife and father/breadwinner (I also found personal affirmation that traditional married life with children is NOT for me :)).

...deciding to leave the West Coast and move to the Midwest where I have other immediate family. Change of scenery, fresh air, and opportunity for emotional recharging has GOT to do me some good. Staying in CA is just not a viable option for me, and my financial and personal favor resources are tapped.

Who knows, maybe I really do need a swift kick in the a** to learn the power of surrender to a greater plan from the powers that be (God?). I dunno...giving up is not an option. I do not know how to fail, yet waiting around is a killer and messes with my brain. Every day is a new day, and that, my friends, is the only thing that keeps me sane each day.

Good luck to me, and to anyone reading this.

chuck's picture

The only failures...

... are the failure to try and the failure to learn.

Why not become a physical therapist now if that's what you want to do? Look for grants, scholarships, loans. It's a cliche, but where there's a will, there's a way. At most you are just four years away from that goal, but you're probably only two years away from it.

Set goals and follow through on them right now.

How about contacting three schools in your area with physical therapy programs? That's a goal that you can achieve today.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

unemployed and depressed

after searching for jobs all day i have found myself here at this site. i have been working sense i was 6 years old and for the first time in my life i got nothing to do. I was laid off Dec 08 after the financial collapse and have done odd jobs to get by but they have left me with 0 in bank my house rented out living back with my parents. I can relate to all of the comments left and just wanted to say thanks for letting me unload my situation, bc im tired of talking about it to friends and family. Its all we talk about and that becomes exhausting. anyway good to know im not alone.

take care

chuck's picture

Unload away

That's what the site's for.

Keep doing those "odd jobs." You never know, it could turn into a business for you. If that happens, you might even hire some people, maybe even somebody you meet here.

Anyway, good luck to you. Thanks for dropping by and adding your voice. You are definitely not alone.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Connie's picture

Thanks Chuck!

It's a comfort to know that I am not the only one who feels this way. It's especially hard since I live alone. I am so glad that I found this website. Your words are very helpful to others like me, so please keep this up. I love that you have a sense of humor during these hard times. It feels like I finally found the boat that we are all in.

Connie

chuck's picture

Thank you, Connie

Comments like yours lift my spirit. It's nice to be appreciated and to feel useful. That can be hard when one is unemployed.

Welcome to the boat. Feel free to hop on or off at any port of call.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Being Alone

Chuck, your reactions to being unemployed ring very true. I have been out of work on and off for over a year, and after this last stint, which is going on four months, I find that I am falling. I feel that I am falling into a deep well of extreme discontent, and I am pretty sure that I am losing my grip on reality. And so, I have resorted to writing my own blog in an effort to claw my out of this hole. Please visit, and invite others.
"Man on the Verge"
nimblenomore.blogspot.com

BeNimble
check out my blog: "Man on the Verge" @
nimblenomore.blogspot.com

chuck's picture

Jack, be nimble!

I read your blog. You're an excellent writer -- compelling.

If you're losing your grip on reality, GET HELP! Don't do anything that you can't undo.

Here's the reality:

You are in a tough spot, like so many of us. Your "tough spot" is not the same as mine but your problems are not unique. You will get through this, and if you believe in yourself and TAKE ACTION, you will be the better for it. Catharsis is never easy but it's worth it when you come out the other side.

As you may know, I lost almost everything -- my job, my money, my marriage. But I never lost my mind. I never lost my ability to hustle, improvise, and make shit happen. Most of all, I never lost hope that the light at the end of the tunnel wasn't a train. As it turns out, it seems that it wasn't. You know what? At this point I understand why I sabotaged my own career -- because it sucked.

I hope you are on the verge of something good, like the realization that never having another job might not be a bad thing at all. If you're a carpenter, you might want to think about printing up some flyers and hanging them on doors. Offer yourself as a fix-it man. If you need help making flyers that will get a response, contact me.

Good luck.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Thanks so much

I've been out of work for 3 months and was starting to think I was going insane. I get mad at the drop of a hat, cry over stupid stuff, constantly berate myself for not having a job yet, and wonder if my life is ever going to get any better. Your blog made me feel...well...kinda normal. Many many thanks.

chuck's picture

*blush*

Aw, thanks. Good luck to you. You're definitely not alone.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Greetings!

I have been out of work for two months and I am going insane. I also feel "very angry" because I worked so hard at this law firm. For example, I worked 15 hour days, worked through my lunch, came in on the weekends and was always reliable & on time. I was let go just like that. I am so fed up with the corporate world and how they take advantage of people and suck the life out of you. I am seriously contemplating in attending nursing school next year. I am presently a researcher with a masters degree but I think it's time for a different career because I do not receive any job satisfaction in my present field. Life is too short to be unhappy in your career etc.

water2u's picture

I appreciate you expressing

I appreciate you expressing your experience here. I just wanted to say my sister is an RN and she says that where she lives, the nursing school graduates can't get jobs....
nor can she. just something to investigate.
I feel the life was sucked out of me working in casinos.
i too think at this point (age 57 with a life history of unhappy jobs) that life is too short, but how to turn it around, I do not know.
not that this has the slighest bearing on your life, but I have a B.A., then went back for an A.A.S.....good student, good grades. never used any of it. dealing blackjack after a short training was my only job that provided a decent income.....wouldn't recommend that job to anyone though unless he or she is good at sucking up second hand smoke and verbal abuse. i hope you can find something you will enjoy.

Thank you for the article.

Thank you for the article. I've been out of work for four months and feel so down and depressed. I got laid off two weeks after I had my second daughter and sometimes I feel numb because I feel like such a deadbeat. Had to rent my house and move in to my father in laws abandoned home (he has a few) he was using it as a storage shack we were told we wouldn't have to pay rent until we got back on our feet and then one month later he took it back and asked for rent, so now were trying to get government assistance to find a place to live because we can't afford the rent. Its been one nightmare after another and I keep thinking why couldn't I've chosen a different major in college?? Keep thinking I could have done better.

chuck's picture

Don't second guess yourself

Your major in college, the circumstances leading up to your layoff -- all that is water under the bridge. It does you no good to dwell on it. If you made mistakes, note them and move on.

Some of the most successful people in the world (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs) never graduated from college. Other successful people majored in Philosophy, History, or English Literature.

If you're depressed about your current situation, it's OK. But you need to change it. The thing that worked for me was changing what I did. If what you're doing is not working, try doing something completely different. Maybe you could help your father in law take care of some of his empty properties.

And don't be ashamed to get assistance if you need it. A lot of people who have always worked for a living feel like that, but if you've always worked for a living, you paid a lot in. No shame in collecting.

Good luck to you.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Feel a bit better finding this site.

Just came across this site today. Great, need more like it for sure

I've been unemployed since November of '09. I'd like to talk about the anger. Everything makes me angry. The fact that I still don’t have a job. The fact the my last job paid me so little that my benefits were really difficult to survive on. The fact the my benefits just ran out this week, and I was one day away from the extension deadline and get nothing. The fact that people tell me I'm over-qualified for the jobs I apply to. The fact that I’m so ashamed that I have trouble telling people I'm still unemployed.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I had an interview today. Put on a suit, shaved. Looked good. I sit down across the table from these two nice ladies---"you have all this experience doing x, why would you want a job doing y?" Um, why the *&$% do you think? Because I need work. Yes, I'm highly over-qualified, which stands to reason that I will do a highly over-qualified job. Which I fail to see as a bad thing. This is not arrogance, this is not condensendacy ( if that’s a word.). This is extreme motivation and extreme confidence in the fact that I can do anything you put in front of me, one because I want to, two because I need to. And if your to moronic to see that then go eff yourself.

...maybe I'm just mad at myself. U took the first job offered to me last time and ended up being let go because my heart wasn't in it. Yeah, I'm ashamed of that. But I don't deserve this, not of us unemployed do.

Someone in a previous post said something about being mad at the world. I feel you bud. I mean what kind of country do we live in where we cut out an extension of unemployment benefits from a jobs bill, yet secure 60 BILLION $ for a effing war that means nothing. You think I give two %^&*$ about Al-Qaida? Hell, I'll join Al-Qaida if there is a steady paycheck in it. Seriously.

Well, I could probably go on for hours so I will just stop here. There are a lot of angry people out there. A lot of sad people. Have hope friends. We will get through this. Or burn the mfer down if we don't.

I can relate!

Russ-

I am in the depths of depression over being fired recently but just wanted to say that I love your writing.

You description of the anger was brilliant.

And--I don't think Al-Qaida pays anything but good job of thinking about the "hidden job market!"

Glad I found some comrades.

Just came across this site today. Great, need more like it for sure

I've been unemployed since November of '09. I'd like to talk about the anger. Everything makes me angry. The fact that I still don’t have a job. The fact the my last job paid me so little that my benefits were really difficult to survive on. The fact the my benefits just ran out this week, and I was one day away from the extension deadline and get nothing. The fact that people tell me I'm over-qualified for the jobs I apply to. The fact that I’m so ashamed that I have trouble telling people I'm still unemployed.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I had an interview today. Put on a suit, shaved. Looked good. I sit down across the table from these two nice ladies---"you have all this experience doing x, why would you want a job doing y?" Um, why the *&$% do you think? Because I need work. Yes, I'm highly over-qualified, which stands to reason that I will do a highly over-qualified job. Which I fail to see as a bad thing. This is not arrogance, this is not condensendacy ( if that’s a word.). This is extreme motivation and extreme confidence in the fact that I can do anything you put in front of me, one because I want to, two because I need to. And if your to moronic to see that then go eff yourself.

...maybe I'm just mad at myself. I took the first job offered to me last time and ended up being let go because my heart wasn't in it. Yeah, I'm ashamed of that. But I don't deserve this, not of us unemployed do. It's like that scene at the end of "Unforgiven": When Gene Hackmen is laying there, bullet in his gutt and looks up at Clint Eastwood. I think about that scene a lot actaully. The dialogue always stuck with me.

" I don't deserve this. To do die like this. I was building a house.

Deservin's got nothing to do with it."

Someone in a previous post said something about being mad at the world. I feel you bud. I mean what kind of country do we live in where we cut out an extension of unemployment benefits from a jobs bill, yet secure 60 BILLION $ for a effing war that means nothing. You think I give two %^&*$ about Al-Qaida? Hell, I'll join Al-Qaida if there is a steady paycheck in it. Seriously.

Well, I could probably go on for hours so I will just stop here. There are a lot of angry people out there. A lot of sad people. Have hope friends. We will get through this. Or burn the mfer down if we don't.

God, I hate that

"You're overqualified."

What a stupid reason not to hire someone. You want someone less qualified? Why, because there are SOOO many jobs in this economy that the overqualified person will jump ship?

Just stupid.

And mass unemployment is a bigger national security threat than Al Qaeda by a long shot.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Misery Loves Company, and I'm loving your posts, everyone...

Dear Fellow educated, over-qualified, depressed, capable, hard-working unemployed people: Thank you for being here. Chuck is a great host and this is a good place to vent, or cry, or exasperate. I also have not had full-time employment for over 2 years...have been collecting some unemployment and temp assignments and part-time jobs at low pay. The recession hit me in the midwest in 2005, so I sold everything and moved to Florida, near family. Then the recession hit Florida with hurricane-force. I am so close to having an estate sale and selling everything again that I don't think about it; I just know I have my tent and my sleeping bag and a camping shower. I have my plan C.

To survive unemployment and to get any work, I'll offer a few thoughts: Volunteer at a business or governmental agency or office where you would like to work. Just spend one or two days a week if you can. Being in a professional or similar environment is uplifting even without pay. Much to my suprise, I did just that over a year ago and was invited to apply to the agency/office. I do not know if I've landed an entry-level position, but there's a chance. Other things that may help you get out of bed (which I struggle with, too): Apply to everything job that you would do...no matter how humble. I even applied to clean the kennels at a veteranarian for $8 per hour because it was so close to home. Didn't get the job. Canvas your neighborhood for side jobs, dog walking/pet sitting if you'd do it, even if it's occasional. If your neighbors can afford to help, they might rather help you than someone else.
I've been unemployed more often than most of you and perhaps for longer periods of time. Stay true to yourself. Don't beat yourself up too much if you can't get out of bed, try later, try tomorrow. Ask your best friend to take you out for drinks and dinner or to a movie (for an uplift). Reward yourself with a nap only after you've done the most you can do today for a job hunt. One of my friends said: "Where do you find these jobs?" She was speaking of the jobs that are barely sustaining me.....the answer is, I don't know, but I look really hard and am flexible. When I'm underemployed, I don't tell people that I've made lots more and had much better jobs (I hope I don't).

A parting thought that means much to me and may help you:

Sorry looks back (that one is/was me)
Worry looks around
Happy looks ahead

Best wishes to all who have come here.

unemployment depression

Unemployed 16 months has sent me into the darkest/blackest period of a lifetime. Don't even know if I will emerge again. I'm sure if I get a great job I will be back to my normal self, however currently I have little memories of that confident me. I would not wish this depression on any human being. It is the cruelest most debilitating experience I have ever been through.

chuck's picture

I feel you

I'm also in the midst of the most intense pain I've ever felt. It does feel like there is no end. It's so bad that I'm on meds... and they're not helping at all.

All I keep telling myself is what my grandmother always says, "This too shall pass."

Sure doesn't feel like it right now though. Some wounds leave hideous scars.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

freckles in CT's picture

This too shall pass...

Hi Chuck – I know how you feel. When I lost my job in 2001 I was unemployed for 4 months. The job market was no where near as bad as it is now – so I guess it’s going to take all of us a lot longer to find a job this time around. Yes we do get scars – but they fade with time – I promise they will.

In 2001 I applied for jobs more hours each day than I worked at my job before getting laid off. When I did get interviews I sucked because I appeared too desperate and to tell you the truth so many of us feel our value comes from our jobs – I felt invaluable…

Then I decided to volunteer. I volunteered for a church – did the Sunday bulletin in English and Spanish – and I don’t even know how to speak Spanish! I found a version of the bible in Spanish online, typed the English version, copied, and pasted the Spanish version. I also volunteered for the American Heart Association. I found that keeping involved with people and keeping my mind working and challenged helped me interview a lot better. When I went on interviews and was asked what I did during my lay off I had some really good answers too. I was proud to say I volunteered. My confidence came back and I finally landed a job.

With this lay off, I have days where I am so depressed I can’t shake off the funky feelings – blurred eyesight, foggy mind, the feelings of having no value – but wanted to let you know that getting involved with helping others really helped me the last go around.

I haven’t volunteered with this lay off just yet – still digesting being laid off, my Mom dieing and finding out that my daughter is moving out of state – and will be 16 hours away from me, but if something doesn’t break by soon I think I might volunteer for the YMCA or a local food pantry. Hang in there – write whatever you need to say – we will all read your posts and will be here for you if you need us. Yes your Gram is right – this too shall pass.

chuck's picture

I feel like...

... I'm becoming a new person, and I'm not sure that I want to leave the old me (the one who was so kind, such a pushover, thought he had found someone to devote all his love to for the rest of his life, felt safe and secure if not entirely successful) behind.

I wish I had the luxury of volunteering, but I need to chase money constantly.

All of it put together is driving me nuts.

Trying to focus on success, on progress, maintaining my capacity for love... it's harder than ever.

If this is going to pass, I wish it would hurry up. I keep looking at myself in the mirror and saying, "What the f*** are you doing to yourself, man? Cut this out."

Everybody keeps telling me to focus on myself, love myself, and all I can do is think, "I don't even know what that means. I don't even know what I am anymore... but whatever it is, it's hard to love."

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

freckles in CT's picture

A big slap upside the back of the head

I think loving ourselves means to find what makes us happy. What makes you happy Chuck? It can’t be just working and making money. I know when I reach out to help others - I get more out of it than those I help. This makes me happy. I think God made it work that way. It’s a wake up call for me and puts things into perspective. There are so many who have it worse than me. Sometimes a great big slap upside the back of the head helps out. Have a great day. Freckles

I just googled depressed and

I just googled depressed and unemployed and came to this site. I don't know if it's an open forum or what, but I AM DEPRESSED AND UNEMPLOYED. I am trying to understand how an executive can "eliminate" my position because of department restructuring, only 4 months after my 48 year old husband died unexpectedly. I have 2 small boys to raise now on my own and then he tells me my position is being eliminated? What kind of person can do something like that to someone in my situation?? He couldn't even wait until the end of the summer? Where is the compassion, humanity? I guess it's all about the bottom line. I am so bitter.

chuck's picture

Wow, that's rough

I'm so sorry for you. I don't know what to say. Still grieving the passing of your other half and life decides to smack you with this... that's incredibly heavy.

My heart is heavy for you. I am about to turn in for the evening, and I will send you all the peace and healing I can in pre-slumber meditation.

Other than that, all I can say is that I'm sorry for your losses. It's OK to feel this. Cry it out. Hit something (inanimate and preferably not too expensive).

When you're ready, wipe the tears from your face and do your husband proud by going on with your life and succeeding in spite of that heartless fool who did you so horribly wrong.

Be strong for your boys. They will be proud of you, and someday your grandchildren will sing in praise of your strength during this incredibly tough time.

You will be in my thoughts and (for lack of a better word) prayers.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

freckles in CT's picture

Hi Karen

Welcome to our little community. Funny that you said you googled “depressed and unemployed” and found this site because that's how I found it too.

What happened to you is horrific. My situation wasn’t as bad as yours. My Mom who I took care of since 2006 died December 19th and I was laid off in January 29th. "Position Elimination." All I can say is karma will get them in the end. We might not hear about it but someday they will feel the pain too. God knows and in the end we are judged by the way treat each other.

You have the right to feel depressed. I was so depressed I went to see my PCP. He was a big help so if you think this might help you too make an appointment. It helped me out quite a bit.

My sincere sympathy for the loss of your husband. What a tragedy to loose him at such a young age. Give your boys a cyber hug from me – and know we are all here to listen to you so go ahead and write how you feel and if we can help you out we will. We are all in similar positions and kind of like kindred spirits here.

Freckles

What kind of person........

Karen,

I've rubbed shoulders with enough executives and CEOs to know that they (in general) are a different kind of animal to us. Most I have met probably spend a few weeks a year with their families at best. That's wife and kids by the way.

They live for two reasons only and that is to keep the company profitable and the shareholders happy. And they will sing any song that is needed to keep everyone happy.

HR departments I found were in a permanent state of 'credible deny-ability', telling us how much the company cares for its employees, how much it appreciates our valuable contribution and even sometimes helping the local community and doing its bit to save the planet.

They omit the most important clause : 'as long as you are useful to us'.

I've been on projects that were structured to maximise the number of 'voluntary leavers', that is, people that just had enough pressure and left of their own accord. Then, when the project is complete, lay off the remainder with the minimum lay-off bonus plus a bit because the company values you really (and they saved such a lot on those that left of their own accord).

Factory closed in Europe and set up in Hong Kong because they really do need to keep pace with costs and competition. A year later and Hong Kong closed. S America now where it was even cheaper. Two years and its some backwater in Africa where (and I quote) 'we don't have to worry about safety guards'.

There are a lot of places where losing your job means there is a fair chance of you starving. There are plenty of examples of people dying because they cant afford medical aid for a family member any more.

Fair? No
Just? No
Decent? No
Moral? No

The days when companies like Kellog would house its employees, pay medical costs, set up schools for the employees kids etc are gone. They exist in name only and we would be foolish to believe that any company with such a philanthropic bent would survive very long.

That does not mean that your contribution was not valuable or that you are useless or incapable. You were not shown any appreciation, that much is sure.

Widowed mother of two and working. That's medal material in my books. I lost my own partner a few years back and for a long time it was a tough call to even wake up in the mornings. Been out of work for 18 month and Id give my right arm to have her bullying me in to activity. I wont tell you to be strong, you are strong.

Don't give up, you are better than you know.

chuck's picture

Yes, I understand that

Helping others is the thing to do. Try helping others when you're living under a bridge. It's easy to say, "Help others" when you're not worried about ending up under a bridge.

To your other point about others having it worse...

It's true: No matter how bad you have it, somebody else has it worse. Agony is not some kind of pissing contest. Somebody got evicted today. Somebody else got diagnosed with cancer. Is that supposed to help me feel better?

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

freckles in CT's picture

Yes

Ask them if they want to change places with you.

I had a sister who was sick - her doctor told me she would never get better because being a victim is where she felt the most comfort. No matter what anyone did for her she never got better – her life spiraled – she just got sicker and eventually she died. So I would say yes - you choose - either you choose to be a victim or the alternative, someone with temporary hard times. It really is up to us - and we are the creators of our own destiny.

chuck's picture

Totally agree

No argument on anything. Didn't mean to whine... thanks for the smack upside my head.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

freckles in CT's picture

No Problem

You had a funky day yesterday. I expect that you will do the same for me someday. :-) Freckles

Misery doesn't love company

Wow!!! I knew I wasn't alone but I wasn't sure if anyone was having the same thoughts and feelings as I'm having. It is now confirmed. I can relate on so many levels.

I was let go from my job of 13 years in December (right before Christmas). The BS reason was "position elimination". The corporate jerk they brought in to take over knew nothing of my work ethic and vast knowledge of the business. I believe I was on his list before he walked through the door. I have tried so hard not to think about it and move on but I can't seem to shake it. I have become extremely isolated and avoid going anywhere where I will see people that I know. I get sick and tired of being asked... "Have you found anything yet?"

Believe it or not... although I feel like being let go was not my fault... I am ashamed and embarrassed that I am in this situation. It has been a downward spiral and I can't seem to reverse it. I have to agree with you Chuck... if I had a job (that pays the bills) I sincerely believe the depression would go away.

Thanks for letting me vent! I needed that! Good luck to you all...

freckles in CT's picture

When they ask me....

I tell them I am working for the government - I get paid to stay home and look for jobs - you know collecting UE - after all I paid taxes for a ga-zillion years while working my butt off so now I am a government employee and rightly deserved! You do the same!!

I have felt so alone

I am on month 2 and I feel like all my "friends" think I have a disease or something. I have felt so alone for so long. I don't have a family or kids. I have the feeling that I am in a bubble by myself and every agency I have contacted says I don't qualify as I don't have the "extra weight" to support so I "should be fine". Fine to me seems like a great beer and some rat poison. I can understand what the war vets come back with. I have it now and although I apply like an animal searching for any food available, the unemployment doesn't cover the bills and I am running out of air in the box I am in.
I feel like lying and saying I am not a resident just to get a job.

chuck's picture

How would lying help?

I'm unclear how lying would help you get a job.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

I think she meant to get

I think she meant to get additional benefits from the state, ie food stamps or help with utilities.

I feel same dude ,every word

I feel same dude ,every word of it but my point is how do we improve situation and deal with it??

chuck's picture

Surf around a bit

I did a lot of stuff to help myself.

Stay busy, exercise, focus on what you have and what you want, not what you don't have and what you don't want.

Good luck to you, man. I know how rough it is.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

few questions

hi chuck,thanks for giving the tips.I guess its the search for a good job and job process involving it(applications,interviews,follow ups) makes us all depressed.You say to be busy,but its easy to say and hard to implement.what can we do whole day ??go for walks,go to parks,exercise,voluntering??does it all really help with the kind of negativity surrounding us in this type of situation??its so difficult to integrate yourself and focus on positive,friends tell me to pursue hobbies,is that a good idea in such a situation.need ur advice on that.Also there has to be a solution for such problem by which we can all get out of this rut ??? Do you think someone experienced who might be in a similar situation might be able to give few tips which can really help us??

chuck's picture

Good questions

I'm not an expert by any means, but what worked for me was goal-directed action.

Just give yourself some achievable goals every day and work toward achieving them. Don't worry about long-term results -- those will take care of themselves.

Figure out what you can do for people and how to get paid for it. Make a plan. Follow your plan. If it doesn't work (and it probably won't at first), revise it.

Hobbies are a great place to start. If you're into music, find a place to play. If you're into writing, start a blog. Like tomatoes? Grow some. Like to sew? Do that. You do these things out of love, not for money, but you can get paid for them.

Sometimes no matter what you do, "negativity" will swarm all over you like locusts. When that happens, run like hell for the nearest swimming hole and jump in.

Good luck, man.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

took some of that advice...

Took some of that advice and started a blog, mainly as a way to do a little venting, and try to figure things out. Right now it's only a week old, and kinda all over the place, but check it out if you getthe chance and give me suggestions if feel like it. I'd appreciate any advice. Here's the link:
Blog: Adventures in Mid-life Unemployment
Link: http://adventuresinmid-lifeunemployment.blogspot.com/2010/06/heres-my-st...

Feeling not so alone

I too found your blog by Googling "unemployed and depressed". How interesting these two simple words spell out what so many of us are feeling and going through. Reading through most of the comments posted here was like reading thoughts straight out of this depressed head of mine and made me feel that I'm not alone. They inspired me. A few made me laugh (and who doesn't need humor to help with the sadness we're feeling right now?). Some made me cry for those whose situations are worse than mine. But yet we all still grieve the same; it's our own personal grief no matter the situation and we have to respect that of others.

I got "let go" (aka "fired") in 2007 from a company with almost 22 years of service, and a "senior" title with many responsibilities. I don't doubt for a nanosecond that I wasn't given the duties and responsibilities if I wasn't capable and deserved of running them. Then when the company changed their management approach and hired a new department supervisor, all of a sudden I was not doing a good enough job; they wanted more of me at the same level of pay (which was pitiful after 22 years of service...my own fault for staying, yes I know). But when I couldn't meet their demands (heck, I'm human with only two hands and one brain), they said I was not performing to standards and started giving me "pink slip" warnings and threatening me with termination.

I can't express deeply enough how unbelievable this was to me. All I could feel was that I didn't deserve that kind of treatment. I was being critiqued and watched like a hawk...any failure to meet up to their standards was a reason for them to warn me and take me to the next level of being "let go". It got to the point where I called in sick one day when I wasn't even really sick...I just didn't want to be there because I knew what was going to happen and I couldn't bear it. I needed my job (who doesn't?) so prior to all this crap, I never thought about resigning or quitting, however with this situation, I was about ready to...until the week they beat me to it.

While enduring all of this, I had just lost my mother less than 2 years before, lost my beloved pet and companion, and my 6-year relationship with my boyfriend ended. I was also dealing with emotional abuse from a brother (who I believe was on drugs), resulting in having to leave home to live with other relatives out of fear of him, and ultimately having to sell the house mom left us as a result. As far as I was concerned, my life was falling apart in every shape and form.

Prior to being "let go", a very close and longtime friend of mine told me that he thought my employer was treating me this way to "force me out". What? I didn't believe him. How could they after all my hard work and years of service? How could they when they knew about my mom and having to sell the house? Who could be so cruel and inhuman? Well, not very long after being kicked to the curb, I spoke to an ex co-worker who told me that they hired two agents in my place...and I'm pretty darn sure they're paying both of them what they were paying me alone. After I heard this, I knew my friend was correct all along, but I was too naive to realize it earlier; not that this would've made a difference with the end result.

It was obvious to everyone in the department that we were short-staffed and everyone else had to pick up the slack, especially the ones with more responsibilities on their belt. And it's obvious, especially in hindsight, the reason why they didn't hire additional staff to handle the workload: Why add one more person on the payroll books when you can kick out the senior person with the most tenure and pay two persons in exchange? Corporate BS!

I purposely took one year to regroup myself after this ordeal; trying to decide if I wanted to go job hunting in the same field...or not. I moved to another state instead where I could stay with family, and decided to go back to school and learn something completely new and personally more rewarding...healthcare, and I was so excited and looking forward to my new future.

It's been 4 months since graduating and a little over a month since getting my credential. I don't regret choosing the healthcare industry, but I too am frustrated, discouraged and depressed in trying to finding employment. In my specialty field, 99.99% of the employers want a minimum 2 years experience (this always gets me reeling!), but even trying to get experience in entry-level, bottom-of-the-totem-pole positions are difficult.

Unfortunately, the reality of something in my past has come up and smacked me in the face. I know it lessens my prospects of finding employment besides the other reasons like the economy, corporate BS, possible over-saturation of my field, and pure competition.

Three months before being let go from my employer and probably because of all the crap I was going through in my life, I self-medicated. One Friday night after work, of heavy-drinking my problems away, I made the poor judgment of getting in my car and attempting to drive 31 miles home, and getting caught with a DUI. After all that was already happening to me and feeling so beaten down; when they threw me in that jail cell, I just wanted to pass-out and die.

But having to face my family with the shame, I had to get myself out of that funk, ask for forgiveness and mostly, forgive myself. It was a huge lesson to learn and one truly learned the hard way. I fulfilled my penalties, fines and requirements, and finally chose to look at the situation this way: I was glad I got pulled over and caught. Maybe it was meant to be that way; maybe my Mom was watching over me in some way by me avoiding getting killed. All I do know for sure is that I was lucky. And most importantly of all, I didn't kill another person from my foolish and irresponsible act; thank God! Because if I did, I don't think I would be here writing all of this.

So here I am now having to face the reality on all job applications I fill out, the standard 'ole question: "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" It tears me up inside every single time I have to answer "Yes" to this question. I leave there feeling ashamed and wishing I could erase what I did. My current task now is to see if I can get it expunged from my record; no guarantees, but worth a try.

Being this discouraged and depressed is no picnic. I relate to so many comments in this forum and sympathize with all of them. It's hard when you're 51, menopausal, unemployed AND depressed! :) But I'm not giving up by any means; I can't and will not because I'm not a quitter. Besides giving up and quitting will only make me (us) feel worse in the long run.

I'll be volunteering for a local hospital soon which I'm really looking forward to. I know it pays nothing but the rewards are more than financial. I love helping others and the community and the good feeling it gives. I started giving blood platelets with the blood bank a few weeks ago, and finally became a bone marrow tissue donor recently too. In any case, career advisors all suggest volunteering in hospitals to get my foot in the door and network with healthcare professionals, so it's a win-win situation in my opinion.

I didn't think my post would be this long, but in spite of my long story, I hope others here can somehow benefit from my personal experiences just as I've benefited from reading other peoples stories. I'm not discounting anyone's feelings here, but my advice is like many others here: don't give up and volunteer; it'll make you feel good (I hope) and don't we all need to feel good during a time when we feel like crap? I know I do.

Thank you Chuck for having this blog, and I wish us all good luck and happiness.

chuck's picture

Brought tears to my eyes

When it pains, it roars. Isn't it amazing how cruel people can be! Thank goodness their kindness can also overwhelm you.

I feel every word of your post, and I'm very glad that it ends on such a hopeful note. It sounds like you're getting on track, and it is incredibly inspiring that you could so thoroughly re-invent yourself at your stage in life.

Good luck to you, Cheryl!

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

While reading the article and

While reading the article and every comment, I am unsure if I am relieved or more deeply discouraged. I am a young man, in my late twenties, but feel as though my life is over. While I am glad to hear I am not alone, I can't help but think that unemployment and desperately clawing to survive may last years. I went back to school a few years ago, bounced around internships and minimum wage jobs, and as of this morning I have been without steady income for a full year. I have exhausted the small network I worked hard to build and now am part of the dreadful and annoying tsunami of faceless online applicants with little hope for even an acknowledgment of occupational existence.

Yes, the exercise, hobbies, and projects around the house (and other people's houses) have kept some form of routine and sanity in an otherwise ridiculous period in my life. But I am more than capable, intelligent, and have in the past excelled in a variety of different professions; my resume and cover letters are as good as they possibly could be without lying, I performed well in the very few interview opportunities that came my way, and I should feel as though my whole life is ahead of me. But I don't. I truly think the best is behind me, and as I approach thirty my personal and professional persona has become a shell of itself.

I am very angry and I feel for everyone here. I can't afford psychiatry or medication without insurance or income, and, like the author of this great article, I don't really believe in all that anyway. Like many, I am doing everything I can to maintain sanity and motivation by keeping busy and trying, trying, trying. But realism sets in - what if this country (and others as well) are in for another five or ten years of this crap? Wars, greed, clueless representation - I can't even read the news or watch television anymore. How can we even think about solutions when those in charge don't know and don't care about the problems? I may be homeless and starving in six months, but it takes six people to wash the oil off of a pelican in the gulf? Who's paying them, how much do they make, and where can I sign up? Give me a break. Thanks for letting me vent.

chuck's picture

Hang in there, brother

Whatever you do, don't lose hope. It's all you have right now. You're young. Even if this lasts another ten years, you'll still be a youngish man when it all shakes out. I have a feeling things are going to be a lot different ten years from now, a lot better in many ways. Ten years goes by quickly, man. Just hang in there.

Maybe you should look into those pelican-washing jobs. Apparently they exist.

And as for your anger -- I can totally relate. It's one of the most intense emotions I felt when I was totally screwed. Use it. It's an incredible source of energy, and if you direct it properly, it can work wonders. That's all I can say about that.

One more thing, about your "professional persona": One good thing about unemployment is that it offers the chance to totally reinvent yourself. What do you love to do? What do you want to do? Do that.

Good luck, man. It's gonna be OK.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

freckles in CT's picture

You are just a puppy...

Don't give up - My career didn't take hold until I was in my mid thirties. You have a lifetime ahead of you. Times are hard now but this too shall pass. Yes - stop watching the news - I take a break from it too because all we see is bad bad bad news. News at our finger tips isn't always the best thing for us and since ratings win, and negative stories catch the interest of most viewers, it seems that's all we see on TV. You can vent here anytime. We read your posts. We may not all reply, but we read them and feel your pain. Hang in there - watch a movie - a comedy with a friend. That helps me out when I get low low low. Laughing makes us all feel better. If you need to vent again, vent on.

Freckles

Still unemployed and depressed, but no longer so lonely

Thank you google and thank you chuck and thank you to everyone who has posted here. I read through every word and if it makes anyone feel any better, you all have helped me tremendously with your honest and soul-baring words. I feel as though a weight has been lifted - I'm still depressed, still unemployed, but no longer feel so alone.

I'm sitting here in a Barnes and Noble (free WI-FI) because I am so ashamed at being in this predicament AGAIN (3rd time) that I am hiding my status to all except 2 of my closest friends. My oldest son is home for the summer, so I pretend to go to work everyday. All I can think of is that homicidal maniac that Michael Douglas played in Falling Down (he had been laid off and kept up the pretense of going to work everyday). Needless to say, that does not do much for my state of mind. I am in my mid 50's and after a flurry of interviews and calls after I first posted my resume, everything quickly dried up. What's up with that? Did the word get out that I was poison? A paranoid thought I know, but I can't help thinking that somehow I am tainted, damaged goods, nobody worth taking seriously, and everybody knows it.

I struggle to maintain a positive outlook. I am optimistic by nature, but this is hard. Chuck is right, exercise does help. I bought a pedometer, and hitting that number of 10,000 steps is a goal I can accomplish, everyday. It's something, and it helps. I am going to start meditation a yoga too. I am not going down without a fight. I think the key is finding something, anything, you feel in control of. I think that's why folks here have found comfort in home projects and such. And it's why we are battling depression. We have been tossed and batted about by employers, managers, the economy. Things over which we have no control. And we sit in these interviews thinking if only we say the right words, have the proper handshake and eye contact that we can land this job. We prostrate ourselves at the feet of these interviewers as they pass judgment on the very core of core of our worthiness. Tell me, how on earth does anyone maintain their confidence and sense of control? Mine was gone after the first 3 failed interviews.

Seriously, I am contemplating giving this whole game up and seeing what I can do on my own to hustle up some income. After all, I was an entrepreneur till I got my first "real" job at 16 (at 7 I was peddling home made crafts and baked goods door to door.) It's been all downhill from there. I can't believe it has taken me 30 years finally conclude I am not cut out for the working world of wage earners. But knowing this is only the first tiny baby step. The next one is what figuring out what the heck I do next.

Thanks for letting me vent - I feel better. And it is true what everybody keeps repeating here: You are NOT alone. We know exactly what you are going through. That we have a place to share all this is a godsend. Chuck - do you have any idea of the great thing you have started here?

janejane's picture

you are not alone you have all of us

I feel like crying right now after reading your post. everyday is a struggle for us thank goddness we have each other to lean on.

jane

chuck's picture

Me too

This thread is getting too long and too sad.

If I might make a suggestion, anyone reading should maybe consider heading over to the forum where we can get some different types of discussions going, maybe even some conversations to help us collaborate and make some progress.

If the forum format is confusing, please let me know and I'll try to make it easier.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

No, I don't agree

Long and sad yes, but very cathartic. We need this, it helps, not hinders. At least that's the way I feel. I think this thread should be allowed to run it's course. Let folks get their worst, darkest feelings out into the light of day, where they can be shared and healing can begin.

Benefits more than harms

I agree with you 100 percent, Jeanne. Yes, the subject matter is not something to be joyous over, but being able to pour out our anger, frustrations and depressive thoughts with others who are in the same boat as ourselves is that stepping stone to persevere and not jump overboard. I wholeheartedly believe this forum benefits more than harms.

Cheryl

chuck's picture

Don't get me wrong...

This thread is staying open. I was just trying to encourage people to use the forum (which took me a while to set up and whose low usership is kind of bumming me out).

We could have lots of interesting discussions over there and maybe even accomplish something if even a tenth of the people who visit the site used it. I know there are other job search and unemployment forums, but none seem to be geared to surviving unemployment, especially the emotional aspects of it.

I would really like to build a skills pool, too, where maybe we could start to work on getting people together on projects that could turn into businesses.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Unemployed

Hello everyone!

I'm 58 and have been out of work for almost a year and a half. I've got all kinds of skills and talents. However, like most of us here, I cannot seem to turn these into a job at this time.

I don't go to "that place" that makes us all sick to our stomachs and minds anymore, as I realized it's non-productive and a waste of time.

All of the things that one is supposed to do to "succeed" in life I have done, just like the rest of you folks.
I'm no "Happy Happy Joy-joy" ( "Ren and Stimpy" reference) bonehead, I know things suck.

Somehow I scrimp and scabble enough to get by on, foodstamps and cash from whatever source I can get it.
I've never had to do this in my entire life!!
It's somewhat hard for me to accept that I have to do so, too.

However, go and get what you've been paying taxes for. Those food stamps really are a big help!! Also, there are now sessions being provided by the employment offices to enroll and take advantage of monies from the recovery act. The bucks will be in their hands july 15th. Go early and ask to be included in these programs. Here in MO, it's called the Full Employment Counsel. I imagine it's called the same everywhere as I can see it.

Yes, there are companies hiring to clean up the oil mess on the coasts. Go and ask for them. Actually demand them and be polite but firm about it. If the clerk at the employment office seems to be uncooperative, demand to see a supervisaor and ask why this clerk is not aware of these jobs!! The one I looked into paid 14 and hour 25 a day for food and 20+ bucks for overtime, and guaranteed lots of overtime! If you are young, healthy, and strong go for it! It's damned hot and humid down there all the time, so you'll be wearing a plastic one piece decon suit for many hours a day. Too much for my old bod!

Thing is, although I go for the throat of "The Monster" in these offices, I don't act up and be an animal about it.
Rule#1: Don't take that NO for an answer, SOME of these people are so inured into their jobs they could give a damn about helping you. Fine the person who will!

Now all this doesn't mean you will get a job, but, It might get you one the next day too! I hope this helps someone out..I really do!

Finally, good luck! Put those "Weasel stompin" boots on and give 'em Hell!

Sorry, you're just not a good fit.

After 3 months of failure, I get a call from a recruiter for a major store chain. He wants me to interview for a management position in this company's distribution center. The pay, benefits and hours are great! I breeze through my phone interview and travel to the headquarters. I ace three rounds of interviews and I make the two hour trip home feeling confident. I really felt good about this thing. After a week, I find out that "I'm just not a good fit." What the heck does that mean? I asked the recruiter if he could tell me anything specific, you know, if there was anything I could work on in the future. He said that there was nothing specific...It seems I'm not a good fit anywhere these days. What do you do when you're pefectly qualified...but not a good fit? How do I make myself a good fit so I can get some money?!!! Oh well, I'm done ranting. I love this blog. I felt so alone.

chuck's picture

"Not a good fit" = ...

... we already had somebody internal in mind but had to go through the motions.

I'm so sorry to hear about your disappointment. Keep plugging.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

oil clean-up jobs

Hi folks:

I forgot to mention that the oil-cleanup companies will pay your travel fare down to work for them.

Best of luck!

chuck's picture

Does anybody have any info on this?

I tried calling BP and got the runaround.

Does anybody know how to get these oil clean-up jobs? There are a lot of Internet scams but few real opportunities, it seems.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

clean up info..

I heard a piece on the news a week or so ago re the oil spill clean up. They said that while lots of folsk want to help, becasue of the roxic nature of the clean up, they've got to be careful who they have doing it - they want people trained in toxic waste handling. They also said that BP was trying to give the locals these jobs first.

unemployed, depressed and angry

i also came across this blog after searching for "depressed unemployed"...it's slightly comforting at least to see that i'm not totally alone!! i JUST got laid off last thrusday but i'm already feeling the stress...i'm also still quite angry at my employer because i did not see the layoff coming at all, and no one else at my job (only 4 employees) got laid off. my boss just randomly called me upstairs one day and told me that i "wasn't into the job," which was total BS considering i'd been working there for over a year, not sure why all of a sudden i wouldn't be "into it" anymore... i did a lot of extra work there that i wasn't fully compensated for and i genuinely cared about the business doing well....i sure won't ever do that again!! fuck him and fuck that store...the only thing keeping me sane is focusing on launching my graphic design website next week so hopefully i can get side projects. the major thing stressing me though is the fact that i live at home with my mom which is beyond miserable. i'm still pissed at myself for even moving back home to the bay area when i didn't have to...i was living in los angeles with a good job, my own apartment and life was good...my mom bought a 2nd house (my grandparents old house) in late '08 and asked me to move back home to help pay the mortgages. the deal was she'd be at one house, and i'd be at the other......but why, oh WHY did i ever actually think that would happen?? my mom is always here (she's a retired insomniac), in my business, in my room, in my face... she fully knows my situation and that i got screwed but she won't at all let up about the rent money i pay each month and i have to hear about it literally everyday... "where's my money? where's my money?!" then come the put-downs and constant criticism. i absolutely HATE being in this house. i dread coming out of my room in the mornings and i dread coming home if i go out. and now since i have to save every penny i get, i just stay in my room all day, which she says is being rude... but i don't want to talk to her so she can just make me feel 10x worse.... ahhhh lfe!!! hang in there everyone!!

jobless blues

I feel you-everything you said. I was abruptly downsized September 2008, car repoed, credit shot. I didn't worry too much at first-I've got a great resume. Me and 1,000s (millions?)of others who also got sh**canned.

The thing that bugs me most now is "friends" suggestions-just get out there and take any job, you must have done something wrong to lose your job, mass emails from right wingers accusing the unemployed of being lazy, sitting home watching the tube at taxpayers expense.

I always worked; worked hard and worked smart. Paid my taxes, all of that. I didn't flush the economy down the toilet, but I'd like to see those responsible join the ranks of the pjp1Hunemployed.

Je'

jmordon10's picture

depression

I was a Program Manager in a mental health facility. Please don't take clinical depression lightly. It's not "the blues" and telling depressed people to basically get their head out of their arse makes them feel worse.

It's one of the most serious AND treatable conditions. This forum is helpful-depressed people tend to isolate. Let's help each other. You lose a lot when you get canned. The companionship of colleagues, a feeling of being needed, maybe your car and your house and credit rating.

I've often heard that depression is the flip side of anger. Expressing anger here might help. I'm a really "nice" person and only realized recently how angry I was. I accepted a job closer to my family and took a pay cut to do so. Went out on a limb to move and before three months passed, the great recession hit Florida hard and workers were getting turned out into the streets in droves.

I'm mad that I had no warning-I was doing a great job. I'm mad that they hired me if they didn't have the money to staff the place. Friday afternoon I was called to the office and canned. Boom, clean out your desk. No, I didn't do anything wrong (I asked) I'm a single mom. My job had been getting people jobs, ironically. They cut staff at the unemployment compensation office, too, so you couldn't get hold of them. And then things got bad-LOL!

I drove by my old workplace yesterday and had fantasies of doing damage to it. That's when I realized how angry I was. I'm angry that the true scope of unemployment is not reported accurately. 6.7%? My a**. It's a lot worse than that. We should unite and march on Washington. We'll have to march TO Washington, we can't afford bus tickets. How can we fight back?

chuck's picture

Unemployment depression vs. clinical depression

There's a good reason for one, no good reason (brain chemistry out of whack) for the other. Sometimes we need to feel things.

Anger -- yeah, that's a useful one. If you can focus on a goal your anger can be the fuel that gets you there.

How can we fight back? I think *not fighting* might be the best strategy. We should build a parallel economy and stop kissing up to the Man. People have skills. We have energy. We can create things, build things, grow things, offer services to each other. We need to do that and the beast will die of attrition.

Instead of trying to get a job, think about how you can make one (or more).

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Out of control ...

After being unemployed for 8+ months, I have found that my biggest obstacle (and cause of depression) is feeling out of control. I am a professional and have worked without breaks in employment for nearly 40 years (I am 56).

I haven't worked for very many companies, have never really faced the challenge of "finding" a job, and now it seems like all of my experience and success have no value. Whats worse, I find myself trying to guess why I didn't get a job for which I was an excellent fit - I must be doing something wrong???

And that is the depressing aspect of my unemployment... Throughout my professional life, I have been involved in marketing and my success has been directly related to identifying a problem (or opportunity) and then fixing that problem. I controlled the situation.

But now I cannot identify the problem. Am I too old? How negative is being overweight? My work experience suggests at least a college degree but I don't have one - have I "succeeded" too far beyond my educational level? Am I a cyclops and everyone but me can see that bloodshot eye?

I have no control. I cannot fix a problem that I cannot identify. I tell myself to "keep plugging" but am I banging my head against a wall? I know - or I knew - that I bring a LOT to the table but I cannot seem to make potential employers see that. This is my definition of depressing - and its getting worse.

chuck's picture

Cut the Gordian knot

Sounds to me like you're over-thinking and under-doing. That same situation stalled me for a number of months.

Rather than trying to figure out how to untangle the knot, just take out your sword and slice right through it. Control the things you can control. You're in marketing, right? So market yourself. I mean, hustle your ass off every single day. Get out of your comfort zone. Be bold. Stop thinking. Start doing.

That's the best I can give you. Good luck.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Thanks for this!

I just want to start off by saying that I stumbled across this blog because I too am unemployed and depressed. It's been over a year. Ugh! All I think is, how in the hell did I get here?? Is this really my life??

Like everyone else on this blog, I am frustrated and disheartened. I have days where it's hard to feel that "this too shall pass". And then I have days where I feel ok -- that maybe I'll make it through and that there has to be some reason for all of this?? Wishful thinking perhaps. The roller coaster of emotions is incredible! You all have said everything I want to say, with eloquence and humor. You feel everything I have felt, and continue to feel, and my heart goes out to everyone who has shared their stories and experiences.

Chuck, I was an English major in college (prob why I'm out of a job - HA) and I just really like your writing style. You're funny as hell, but you also try to offer constructive advice and to listen with a compassionate ear. As much as I hate that we are all in this situation, I have found comfort in reading these posts. I do feel less alone. Hang in there everyone, good luck in your search, and keep your chins up as best you can! And to Chuck, thanks for deciding to start this blog and keep up the good work! :)

JAK

I have to agree with many of

I live in the UK and two months ago I was made redundant and I am applying for mainly customer services/claims handling jobs and admin roles, I have also spoken to the job agencies about picking and packing positions, and they all want people with experience of stuffing boxes!!

I have to agree with many of the comments here, I was made redundant just over two months ago after 12 years in the same job, and since then I have applied for 215 jobs (done a spreadsheet, as the job centre needs proof), and I have had 8 interviews, as soon as they ask what my last salary was, which was over £20k, their faces often drop, and I know i won't be getting the job, except in one case, where I was informed I got down to last two out of over just fifty applicants.

I had some feedback from one company following what I thought was a good interview, the HR department advised me that I didn't get the job as the department manager thought I would want a quick promotion and leave her team quickly,
and if I didn't show any keeness I bet I still wouldn't have got the job.

I have also applied for a position as a hotel night porter and no joy.

Also after having worked for the last 19 years it is very depressing being out of work, I spend about 6 hours looking for work, and I have now decided to do some volunteer work, but I will being doing this as admin role for a nearby charity, just to keep my skills up to date and my self active, as far as I am aware in the UK you can do as much voluntary work as you like as long as you still look for work, and you don't get any money or other benefits.

You are Right

Well I do not want to go into too much detail here, but what you have said seems to fit me to a T. However my situation is a little different than most on here. 8 years ago I left by choice my low paying job, to follow my husband across the country. He is mil. so we have had 6 new addresses and most of my old contacts only have a distant memory of me. So I have 6 years of planning experience and next to no references. I have been actively looking for work for nearly a year. During that year I did some direct sales, took up too much time and tons of volunteering (active member of the community stuff. However I am hitting a low point where I am not getting any calls, last ones I got were last month. I have hit the employers websites daily as well as the general job search site.

I have even tried to go for jobs well below my skill set. I do not like doing this because I start to really feel sorry for myself when after spending hours doing the skills tests only to be almost laughed at when they see my resume and told I am way too overqualified.

I want to go back to school but am fearful that I will only end up more in debt than we already are. I know that tomorrow is another day but still. I know I am losing a little bit of myself everyday. Not in a bad way, just not a good way. Just like you said if I get hired I will no longer feel this way. I have not felt this way while staying home with my kids was my choice, just while I am getting the tons of rejection emails.

I am also becoming a bit bitter about things, like today. When I got what looked to be a good lead on to find out they were looking for more students in their education programs. I am still not sure of the link, because if I am looking for work that means I surely do not have the money to spend on education, right.

BTW when I read the article I read that you were talking about your circumstances and that you know that you are not in the need of medication. Not that everyone who is depressed does not need medication. I have told my hubby a few times I am not depressed but situationaly depressed meaning as soon as the need for me to get hired disappears the depression will too. I can still function, it just takes more effort than it used to before I started looking for work. Well wishing everyone good luck for the day ahead of us.

Fish

Fashion Victim

Thank you for creating this blog. I have worked in the nyc fashion industry for over 10 years and I was laid off about 2 years ago. I am so frustrated and overwhelmed that I am seeing a therapist and taking anti depression medication. I have had to apply for welfare and food stamps and I am about to be evicted from my apartment for a 2nd time within 12 months. I am humiliated, heart broken, anxious, brow beaten and in grief. Something must be done about what is happening to people during this depression/recession/living hell. Some may not be clinically depressed yet but what if things never get any better? What if our economy stays like this? I think people need to be aware of the real unemployment numbers and our communities need to offer some sort of emotional support if nothing else. My job was my identity and I may never get it back. Who am I now and who will I become if things keep going this way?

Blue and New

I, along with many of you, have found this blog through google searching "depressed and unemployed." After countless breakdowns and desperate prayers, this forum has brought me the only source of comfort. Being only 22 (perhaps the youngest blogger in this forum), I don't think my problems may seem as "heavy" as the rest. Yet, this trial in my life is perhaps by far THE WORST I have ever endured... and after reading some of your blogs, I feel as if it is very possible that my life could indeed get worse. I graduated in 2009 with a B.A in journalism and visual communications with Cum Laude. I worked as a production intern for a local radio station, self-started an annual event bringing in a lot of money, volunteered for a non-profit organization, and worked for the university newspaper. I strongly believe that I've done everything in my power to secure a decent job in my field after graduation. Boy, was I wrong. I've realized that NONE of these things mattered. Its been more than a year, and the only jobs I have had were through temp agencies. And as of right now, the temp agencies can't even place me with a job. When trying to apply for better positions, employers have the impression that "I'm not stable or reliable" as they assume I'd just quit after 3 months or so. I'm currently in the process of getting my master's degree.... but always have second thoughts about it. Getting a master's degree does NOT guarantee me a job. It does however guarantee about 50K more in debt. In addition to that, I don't even feel like the journalism/communications field is right for me. I'm honestly really lost and have no sense of direction. I feel like a complete waste of space and constantly ask God "Why was I born into this world when I can't even do anything with my life?!" I'm a complete disgrace to my mother. In addition to that, I feel like the economic recession is no longer to blame since my circle of friends (graduates as well as non-graduates) are employed! I'm the only one in this little boat. I don't understand what's wrong with me...I'm smart, a fast-learner, hard-working, friendly, detail-oriented, and determined. Could it really be because of my major and the lack of the jobs in this field?? I don't know if I can use that as an excuse. It seems that the only options for me are to join the air force or to teach English in some third world country. But then again, those too are also very competitive. So there, in fact, may be no back up plan for me. My apologies for sounding "whiny", but there's no one that truly understands me. I know many of you will probably respond by saying "in 5 to 10 years, things will pass"... But when the debts are low and the funds are high NOW..... all you see is darkness and no solution. I feel helpless.

On a brighter note, thank you for creating this forum and allowing me to vent. Good luck to all of you.

Snoopy

Hi, just know you are not alone. It is hard when you feel like you are on a island. Just keep your head up. Just keep putting yourself out there.

Fish

Oh, Snoopy

Please don't say you're a disgrace to your mom or to anyone! Looka t what you've accomplished so far in your 22 years: you graduated cum laude from college, you began an anuanl money-making event, you've worked at your craft, you're continuing your education. These are things to be proud of! I'd be amazed if your mom wasn't proud of her daughter.

I don't know very much about your chosen field, but I do understand that it's pretty competitive. But believe me, there are not enough jobs to go around right now. You are not alone, and it is most certainly NOT YOUR FAULT!

It will get better, maybe not soon, but it will. Take care of yourself, and let us all know how you're doing.

chuck's picture

Yo Snoop Dawg, chin up!

I know how deep and dark it gets, Snoops. It's horrible. It's especially horrible when you're comparing yourself to peers who have jobs.

But look at the bright side: You're all of 22 years old. If I had known then what I know now, I'd be a billionaire today -- and that's probably true for just about everybody. So let me drop a couple decades of lessons from the School of Hard Knocks on you:

The fact is, not all of us are cut out to work for somebody else. We're not all cut out to be happy little $60,000/yr. cube drones or even $250,000/yr. executives. Some of us are made for more than that in this life. Some of us are made for "less" -- you could become a monk and spend the rest of your life meditating on some Himalayan mountaintop. Really, you could! At your age, the world of possibilities is that open to you.

If doors aren't opening, sometimes you're knocking on the wrong doors. Take a good hard look at yourself, Snoop. Maybe you're aiming way too low. Maybe you should hop on a flight to Pakistan and sniff out the next big scoop while you're there. Maybe you should start your own news website -- in fact, I want someone to help me keep up with the unemployment news. If we can get listed in Google News, I will pay you for this -- enough to make it worth your time.

I'm going to e-mail you with some specifics about covering the "unemployment beat" here at Survive Unemployment!

Chin up, lad/lass -- life is grand, and you still have so much of it to enjoy, starting right now! Don't wait 5-10 years or it will pass you by. The past is a memory, the future but a dream. The only thing that matters is this moment.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

freckles in CT's picture

Awe Snoopy...

You are so young - please don't give up. I am sure your Mom is not ashamed of you. If you were my daughter I wouldn't be ashamed - I would be proud and a little bit of a bragger! And you are not giving up. You are getting a Master's Degree! That's wonderful and something I would brag about if I were your Mom. You have accomplished quite a bit in your short life. Hold your head high and be proud. Know that God has an ultimate plan for you – it’s just not time yet.

This economic situation isn’t going to last forever and you will definitely be on the right side of the road when things get back to normal. You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you... trials and tribulations bring us wisdom and open our eyes to things we would have never experienced if our lives were easy and perfect. Our hard times bring us value too. You would never have stopped by to read these blogs – to see inside the souls of the people hurting and how they feel based on how we treat each other if you were not in the same situation. Have you learned anything from the posts? I bet you have and this will be the spice rack you will carry in your writing and the way you look at life forever. Just keep on keeping on and one day you will look back at these years and know you learned a lot about yourself and this experience added value to your life.

Freckles

chuck's picture

So true

I just want to re-iterate this point:

...trials and tribulations bring us wisdom and open our eyes to things we would have never experienced if our lives were easy and perfect.

An easy and perfect life would be a boring and empty life. Not to say that we should all be miserable all the time, but sometimes the greatest blessings come disguised as curses -- and vice versa.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Ms Nomer's picture

Be proud, Snoopy!

I agree with everyone's comments, Snoopy. For what it's worth from an online unemployed stranger, I'm very impressed by what you've already accomplished in your young life. You should be very proud of yourself!

Sometimes these things don't have much to do with skill or intelligence... sometimes it's luck, good or bad. Your friends who have jobs, whether they're more experienced than you or not, could very well be in the same boat with you soon. It sucks, but the direction our lives take can often be out of our control. All you can do is decide what you do next... learn a new field? Wallow in a depressed hole for weeks? Volunteer at a charity? Drinking binge? Attend every networking event you can find? I'm still figuring this out for myself.

I do know firsthand how hard it is for journalists these days. I got my degree in that field less than 10 years ago and have worked in various aspects of it ever since (well, up until June, that is). Traditional media is a dying institution. I live in a top ten market and have worked for some of the biggest news media corporations in the country; I can tell you that this is true across the board.

But there's still hope for those of us who don't want to abandon it altogether: the internet. You gotta go digital. Whether you want to write, edit or report, the only platform with an ounce of job security right now is the web. Anyways, enough of my rambling. I hope you find comfort here life I have. We may not have a salary, but at least we have each other! =)

Damsel-in-Distress 2010's picture

Another Day, A New Beginning

Last night I was in a dark place, I googled, "I don't want to be here anymore" and found this site...now, not to worry, I'm fine this morning (had a major epiphany) and am VERY thankful to you Chuck for creating this website for us.

Like all of you my emotions since being laid off have been all over the place. The main one being depression. After not being contacted by an employer after a great interview and knowing I had the job I no longer felt depressed, I was furious.

I had hateful ruminations -- (wanting buy a gun and kill several of my fellow employees/supervisors, then I wouldn't worry about being homeless anymore because I‘d be in jail; which I've never said aloud so please no judgments I'm just being honest) -- thoughts which I'm letting go after this posting.

I normally work as a paralegal/legal assistant. But after being laid off was open to "any job" in order to support my family. I was hired by a non-profit. They were worse than attorney I ever worked for -- and I’ve worked for some complete a**holes. After 6 months at $8.40 an hour I left one Friday and never went back. This is the first time I ever quit a job with no notice. At first I left them off my resume, and received no responses to job inquiries. When I mentioned this to a job counselor I was advised to include it and once I did I began getting call backs.

Recently, I realized they were giving me a bad reference. What's really wrong is how if ONE says something negative it negates all the great references you get from other employers. One particular recent interviewer went from being fun and personable to cold and abrupt when I called to ask if she had received some additional information she had requested after calling my former employer.

A friend suggest buying a prepaid cell phone and putting this number as my the old job number and giving myself a good reference or leaving them off again. I don’t know what to do -- any suggestions?

Anyway, having said this (finally being able to express myself) I am weary of living in a state of pissitivity and hate. Instead I’m going to flip this around and channel my energy into working for me. I no longer choose to stress about this, should my daughters and I becomes homeless, we’ll handle it. As long as we are together, healthy, and sane that’s all that matters. We were homeless after divorce, lost all our “stuff,” and survived. If necessary we’ll do it again.

Last night I also came across a site where I found this:

"Now how do you learn to deal with crisis in a higher way? By understanding the causes of the crisis, by learning the lessons once, so they do not have to be repeated and by finding an inner calm within yourself that will give you strength to last through the crisis and not succumb to despair, hysterics or even more negative emotions or behavior which actually intensify the situation. This can be done, dear friends, by sitting calmly and studying the situation with both your heart and mind."

This might be silly to some of you, but for me it was a lifesaver. One way to turn the negativity around is instead of focusing on what I don’t have to be thankful for what I do have:

Thank you Dear One for my health, favor, protection, blessings and miracles.

Thank you for my daughters -- and every facet of their personalities.

Thank you for my children’s health, favor, protection, and blessings.

Thank you for friends.

Thank you for a sound mind.

Thank you for having a car -- a good, working, adorable car.

Thank you for having a roof over our heads.

Thank you because we have enough money to eat.

Thank you because I have enough money for my car insurance.

Thank you because I have enough money for the electric bill.

Thank you because I have enough money for the phone bill.

Thank you because I have enough money for the gas bill.

Thank you because I have enough money for cat food and litter.

Thank you for reducing my Cox internet bill from $41.00 to $28.00 dollars and the phone bill to $11.00.

Thank you for things that make me laugh -- movies, DVDs, YouTube, jokes, television, the cat chasing his tail and his shadow.

Thank you for hugs.

Thank you for this computer.

Thank you for my job skills.

Thank you for indoor plumbing, showers, a stove, a refrigerator, washing machine and dryer.

Thank you for cigarette money… (lol, I know this is a nasty habit, but it is what it is)

Thank you for anger and depression, they show me where/what/who I need to forgive and make changes in order to go forward.

Thank you for waking up this morning.

Thank you for the great things and little perks throughout each day that bring me joy -- like flowers, watching birds fly, the sunset, a baby‘s smile, receiving or giving a kind word.

So, Chuck, thank you again for this forum. What we are going through SUCKS and I know from time to time I could be upset or down again. Even so, as of today instead of remaining in either state, I’m choosing to focus on what I have to be thankful for...and no, I'm not a Christian (not that there is anything wrong with that).

How about all of you?

(P.S. why is this centered???)

Thankful for another day.

freckles in CT's picture

Reference

Did you know that you do not have to list your manager or supervisor as a reference? You can list a vendor you worked with, a co-worker or maybe even another management person from another area. Explain that the company's policy does not allow them to provide references but you can provide a home phone number for a co-worker or a vendor or maybe even a customer you worked with at that job. You must have made a few friends – reach out to other people. You would be surprised at how many people will help you if you just ask them.

Good Luck
Freckles

Damsel-in-Distress 2010's picture

Hi Freckles, I'm not sure

Hi Freckles,

I'm not sure this is possible since the company is small, and none of the supervisors will say or do anything without the approval of the owner. Plus since I would not allow surpervisors or other staff to engage in abusive behavior toward me I wasn't liked, sooooooo.....

Unfortunately, only one of my female co-workers was friendly and I'm not sure she is still there (she was up for retirement in April). The only other friend I made was a guy and I don't know if he would be willing to do this -- but it can't hurt to ask -- thanks for the suggestions!

Damsel

Thankful for another day.

freckles in CT's picture

Maybe...

You might want to consider saying the company no longer is in business - especially with this economy but that would be something that 'may' come back and bite you. Or you can say your boss doesn't work there anymore. I have heard that one more times than I can count on my fingers and toes... First I would try to contact the person who was ready to retire. She would be a very good reference. Would be good to contact a customer or a vendor too that you worked with - someone you enjoyed working with. No matter how tough things can get at any job we always make friends with someone - there is always one or two people we feel a kindred spirit with. These references speak volumes - sometimes even more than an employer's reference.

Good Luck
Freckles

Damsel-in-Distress 2010's picture

Hmmm....

I like what you said about my boss not working there anymore and instead giving the name of the male co-worker(or the woman if she is still there).

I worked with developmentally disabled adults, so they can't be contacted -- and there were no vendors.

Over the years I've tried to make friends in general or with co-workers, but Vegas is a weird place -- people don't really get emotionally invested because it's so transient.

THANKS!

Thankful for another day.

Scared and sort of paralyzed

Wow, am I glad I found this site! I googled on depression and unemployment. Yup.

My story is a bit different, in that I've dealt with depression and other stuff my whole life. In my last "real job" I started having anxiety attacks and left for my own mental health. Little did I realize just how "brutal" it's become out there or I think I would have toughed it out - maybe. I guess I was afraid I'd be terminated at some point so I quit. Hindsight is 20/20. Anyway, that was January of 2009. Since that time a very important relationship (I was trying so hard to get that MRS. degree!) ended and my dad is in the final days of his life. Needless to say, I feel very bad and will be starting MORE medication tomorrow. I went to see a new shrink and the results were disturbing. He said I have "something" (mood disorder NOS and ADHD) and gave me a couple of prescriptions.

Anyway, I deal with things by volunteering at two different places and try to apply for jobs when I am not too depressed (which is often). I'm 51 and have read some of what Chuck (thanks Chuck for this place!) said about conquering fear and that all will fall into place. Fingers crossed here!

My biggest fear at this point is ending up homeless! I am paying outrageous insurance premiums due to pre-existing conditions and at some point the money is going to run out!

I do have a job interview tomorrow (low pay but with benefits) and will get up early in the morning to prepare. Anyway, that's my story in a nutshell.

And now I shall poke around this fine site for more inspiration!

janejill's picture

Thank you chuck for site

All I can say is wow! I googled unemployment anonymous (I was wondering if there was something like AA but for those of us laid off / unemployed). I found you!

Short story is 30 years, 4 jobs later (turned 50 in June) laid off 1/10. Can not find work in my profession in CA. Full charge bookkeeper for lawyers. Long term employment with 4 law firms.

I have my good days and not so good days.

I also have a small farm with a few pets - too many goats and 700 lb pig named Petunia and P2 (pot belly pig cross with big pig). My animals keep me sane most of the time - they are cheaper than a shrink - they look @ you and say I love you , now give me my alfalfa (if I can buy it that week). I figured I have the best of two worlds, I work so I can enjoy my farm (I grew up on a sheep ranch)....my mom told me in 1978 to go to college get degree it will pay for the farm - oh was she ever right :)

Any way, I am a Lucille Ball in a former life w/goats, but I do not have red hair...that is another story about myself...

I just realized there is a song by the Atlanta Rhythm Section - Not the only one - I think the sound words fit this site and how I feel right now, besides grateful to you Chuck for having this site...

I am caught up in a struggle to survive,
doing everything I can just to keep my dreams alive
sometimes I get so scared
I want to turn and run,

There's a world out there,
that can bring you to your knees,
I feel so helpless sometimes,
it gets the best of me,
I am not the only one....

I can't face another crowded room
talking to people I don't know
that's like standing in long line
waiting for ticket
to somewhere I don't want to go

Why am I sitting here by myself
watching the night closing in
I just want to know there's got to be more
than going through the motions
again and again and again

I need to talk to someone
Tonight I need a friend
don't know where to start
where do I begin,
tonight I'd like to think
I'm not the only one...

Any way , sorry for this long babble...I plan to use and post to this site.

Sincerely,

Jane Jill....

And another one....

Well, I don't even know where to start after reading a ton of these posts (going back here at least a few years).
This whole 'economy' is horseshiat.
I got 'canned/termed/reorganized' (or whatever other euphemism goes around now in the corporate/hr world) in Aug of 2009. I've got my resume out there, etc. I hit up Craigslist every morning, Career builder, Monster, etc.
I registered with my local workforce center, and actually got on Foodstamps.
Now, doing my volunteer work at the local ARC (which actually isn't too bad, gets me out of the house, and I actaully just kick back and run the dock, and help unload cars, etc).
I even registered with a temp agency here (Manpower) and had a 'couple' gigs early this year (2010), but haven't heard anything back since. No work, nothing.
I try to keep busy around the house, etc.
Spending time on Mond/Tues helping watch a 18m old niece.
I'm 36 and I ask myself 'will I ever work again?'. I know I'm not anywhere as old as some of the posters here (and that's not a negative dig, I guess in the big picture, I have time) and nor do I have even 10% of the financial/ownership responsibilities they others here have. I haven't lost anyone close that I love.

Im just furious as this whole economy. I'm tired of the BS emails 'We found a better fit, blah blah blah, THANK YOU COME AGAIN!' spiel.
I'm already tired of how it's 'dried up' on the market.
I'm tired of the bullshiat 'economic' reports and the 'OH WOW THE DOW IS AT 11,000!!!! WE ARE AWESOME YES WE ARE' false exhuberation (which is really nothing but companies buying back up all their stock).
I'm tired of the political nitpicking and the asstastic side-diversions for the 'populace'.
I'm sick to death of being told 'your just not trying hard enough' by a bunch of worthless goddamn politicians.
I'm sick to death of competing with 1000000+ people for what? The same job?
I'm shocked to see the same amount of people in my situation.
I'm angry that at the age of 36 I can't do more to support my mother (which is letting me live here, so that I don't die on the streets).
My mental state is fracked right now (I'm trying).
My credit is fraked as well. The Gods know if I'll ever actually 'own' anything ever again.
I'm finding I'm becoming more of a real socialist.
I am sick to death of this culture of 'Frak you buddy, I got mine.'

I guess I just needed a place to rant for a few.

I play a MMO called EVE Online on the side as a hobby, and as I joked to my Dad in a email: 'Why is it I'm so productive in this freaking video game, and can make enough cash to support 10 others, but yet I CAN'T SEEM TO FIND A REAL JOB IN THE REAL WORLD MAKING THESE LITTLE UNITS CALLED AMERICAN DOLLARS????? Why is that.....why??' (that's supposed to be somewhat humorous, even if it's black).

Anyway, thanks for the site here. I guess the biggest thing is making sure I'm not 'alone'. I feel that all this shit is somehow my problem, or I was the cause of it all. Even if I got canned from some other place, it still doesn't mean 'hey, you'll never have a job again, period, ever.'

But, ya know....it sure as hell feels like it sometimes.

Krona

Well you have found just the place to come and be yourself. Bitch and Moan about the jobs out there or more likely the lack of jobs. I usually come off more like Pollyana but in reality I am more like you than you might know. I have been looking for an airline staffing analyst position and i know it will take tons of time but really more than a year. But I know I can not give up I just have to dust my butt off after each rejection dumps me on my arse. Just keep on trying.

Fish

First Post

Like many others, I found this by Googling 'Unemployed' and 'Depressed'. I added 'Long-Term' as well.

I finished my grad degree (PhD) two years ago and moved to a new city (DC) to hopefully find work as a researcher/policy analyst. Got a job with the army doing research and spent a few months out of the country (Iraq - you'll never complain about another summer heatwave). Got fired by the program I was working for - it was an 'at will' contract and if a specific supervisor didn't like you, off you go. In my case it was a micro-managing, power-hungry, sabotaging creep - that nobody liked. Oh well. It wasn't a long-term job anyway. Having said that, I loved working with the military and was doing great research, that I hope to use someday.

Now I've been unemployed for fourteen months (come end of October).

I was offered a short-term consulting contract doing some security analysis for the gov't. That was 8 or 9 months ago. It hasn't started yet, and may never - who knows. The upside is that it kept me in a state of hopefulness for a long time, and I could tell others that I was about to start something. It still may start (I was sent a non-disclosure agreement last month...) - but it is a limited contract and no guarantee what will be when it ends (if it even begins).

I've been collecting unemployment - it's due to run out the end of this month. After that I go into savings if nothing has come up. I thank God that there are savings (not huge, and I still have student loans to pay off from grad school). My rent (for a tiny apt, but in a nice area) is expensive here in DC - almost double what I paid before I lived here - but at least I have a place for now ( and I'm not sharing - tried that and it was a disaster - sleep deprivation, passive-agressive roomate and bedbugs). Glad for what I have for now...

I don't aggressively look for work, other than emailing out my resume to the the required contacts per week for unemployment. My specs don't fit most of the jobs out there. I hope and trust that something will work out that is a fit - my last experience was so bad that I am really wary of hustling for a job that (even if I get it) will not be a good fit and will end badly.

I intermittently work on writing up my research experiences from my dissertation (counter-terrorism issues) and my army experience (counterinsugency issues) - but some days that is hard. I sent out book queries to agents for both topics, but getting rejections just adds to the hopelessness on some days. It could be that I'll just put stuff up on a website, but for now all I can bring myself to do is write - and that's on good days.

Here's a funny/sad story... After getting my doctorate - specializing in security policy issues (terrorism, etc), I'm told that I am ruled out for alot of gov't consulting contracts because I don't have the credentials they specify. What? Yeah - alot of them say that analysts/consultants need to have worked for CIA, DIA, FBI, etc. Having a PhD in security issues with government security clearance is not what they are looking for. I'm not saying this to criticize - they can set whatever parameters they want - I just thought that it was funny and sad. It proves a point - that you will always be 'not good enough' for someone, so better not to personalize it.

A word on volunteering - doing stuff that requires energy and planning (and in alot of cases at least a short-term committment) is not always practically possible. There are many days when I can't get myself up out of bed or out of my apt, much less go out and sign up to help people. I was going to volunteer at an animal shelter, but they wanted a six month committment. I won't even committ myself to a potted plant at this point - not enough internal resources or sense of outer stability.

My situation is tough for me (everyone's situation is tough for them for different reasons, that's why I say 'for me' - not to compare one person's toughness with anothers) - in any case, my situation is tough for me because I'm in a city where I don't have roots or networks and it's a transient city where substantive connections are not easy to make. I find myself avoiding people as well, because I don't have the internal resources that would motivate me to reach out. My relationships right now are mostly long-distance - friends and family I talk to by phone. Thank God for them.

I'm lonely and wish I was getting laid. But I don't want to be with someone who I don't really connect with (don't get my rocks off anyway if there isn't a connection). I have a profile up on a couple of dating sites and get responses, but I can tell that there isn't a connection (some people can tell right away - that's just how it works for me), so I don't reply. Want a laugh? If I read another profile that says 'easy-going person, likes many activities', I'm going to barf. If I saw a profile that said 'introspective, insecure, complicated misfit' I'd definitely take another look....

One thing that I would like very much to say is that we who are over our twenties need to be careful of limiting ourselves or putting ourselves down based on age. I know age-ism is rampant 'out there' (especially in the job market, but elsewhere as well). Age is a very common form of subtle, hidden discrimination in the US - but we here do not need to be a part of that self-judgment and self-criticism. The world is not the same as it was for previous generations - we all have vast opportunities and also crappy limitations/challenges regardless of what age we happen to be. We need to be kind to ourselves.

Anyway. One thing that this experience has taught me is to really appreciate the good days or even the good moments. Walking outside at night (often night is morning for me) and breathing in the air. Having a conversation (phone - not in town) with a friend or a family member. Eating something nice. Buying (cheap) something nice - even a furry blanket from Target.... Working on a project for my apt (or starting one and then waiting for a day when I have the energy to finish it...). All of the little blessings have more meaning now. Like the prisoner who learns to appreciate the mouse that comes to eat his crumbs, we learn to take joy in small things.

Thanks for reading this long post - it felt good to write it. Everyone wants to tell their story, even just so that they can hear it. For others, the 'personal becomes universal', as they say...

Hugs and good wishes to all. If any of the posters have positive updates (or even negative ones), don't forget to share... after reading through this whole long thread, I really would like to hear how things are going for people who told their stories a few months ago.....

Hugs out to all...

.

'An artist lives on the membrane between worlds'

chuck's picture

I hung on every word

You're an excellent writer. As I read, I felt like I was inside your head, seeing the world through your eyes. It was weird and wonderful -- weird because writing of this calibre is seldom found on the Interwebs and wonderful for the same reason.

You should keep pitching that book, and definitely start a blog. I promise to subscribe and will give you a slot in the vaunted "Unemployment Blogs and Resources" box on this site.

Anyway, I relate somewhat to your position. Though I did not go "all the way," I did my MA in a field related to yours. I'm actually a certified North Korea expert... well, I was eight years ago. Suppose I could brush up a bit on the upcoming power transition but that would be pointless. My goal was to take the test and join the State Department, but I couldn't do it because I didn't support the policy at the time. That's basically your job at State -- support the policy -- so it would have been unethical for me to have pursued that route. By the time the policy changed, I had aged out of contention. Oh well...

And of course I never did anything remotely related to my training. That was a smart career move. Sounds like you're at least going to end up working in you field. That's very good. I would think that there would be a high demand for folks like you at this time. Doesn't the Department of Homeland Security get, like, a bazillion dollars a minute to pay experts like you?

Like you, I also wish people would check back in. A few members got jobs recently. That was totally cool! But they haven't returned to report on the wonders of the working world. They always forget the little people once they get to the top, ya' know?

In the hope of getting continuing conversations going, I've been trying to encourage people to use the forums but that's been a losing battle. *sigh*

Anyhoo, thanks again for sharing your story, and best of luck to you.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Thank you so much

I really appreciate your kind words regarding my writing (though may aim was just to share). It definitely does give me encouragement to continue my writing projects.

Thanks for sharing about your original field of study. I don't believe in working in 'one's field of study' per se. I think we should do whatever brings us joy (including the joy of making money if that's what does it for someone). I think you said you were in business now - is that right?

Yes, you would think I'd be needed in my field, but jobs here in DC tend to be very quantitative and tightly circumscribed (both in job description and desired background). Alot of it is also about who you have batting for you. Square pegs without strong advocacy from powerful figures don't always get a chance.

The contract I'm waiting on is with DHS (indirectly, its actually a review of security procedures for TSA). I've let go of it - whatever happens, happens. State Dept sounded sucky, fwiw. Maybe you didn't miss anything at all.

The website I'm planning is going to be on counterterrorism, counter-radicalsm and counterinsurgency. It really looks like writing for web consumption is the way to go for me - 'go with one's joy'... rather than waiting for the world to give permission (in the form of the magic book contract or approving literary agent). I think it's a life-lesson. For me, for sure.

Having a good day today - got cleaned up and out to Home Depot for lumber for my newest apt project (decorative wall panels, since I can't paint)...

Take tomorrow as it comes - or as my good friend says

'Let it be what it is, until it isn't.'

Thanks again. The encouragement was greatly appreciated.

.

'An artist lives on the membrane between worlds'

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