Childfreelife’s Weblog

{February 1, 2009}   Unemployment and Depression

The feeling of value I internalized from working and earning money slowly deteriorated after several months of unemployment. True, I was working in a hostile environment in the first place, so my self-worth was suffering from the constant abuse from my boss. (I mentioned her earlier, the one that felt volunteering to help a troubled child was immature in comparison to her being a mother…) However, I am dealing with bad feelings after losing my job.

But what is a person to do when the unemployment could loom on for months? In the recession around 2003, my mother and my aunt were unemployed for a year. A friend, I respect, one of the most innovative and hardest workers I know, Taylor Elwood has been out of work for 5 months. I really can’t expect to pop into work any day now. And I have to stave off the feelings of worthlessness if I am to keep positive. Here are some things I am doing to cheer myself up and stay confident:

*Talk to friends. Talking to other people you respect and getting their feedback about their own periods of unemployment can really help me feel like I am not alone. If my mom, my aunt, and my friends have all gone through it–all of which are awesome workers–how can I blame myself for this period without work?

*Do something fun. Sure money is short, but when will I have so much time again? Gas prices are way down, I feel like I have teleported eight years into the past–so driving to the beach doesn’t feel like an expensive luxury anymore. I still plan to conserve and save money, but a nice local road trip can really change my point of view. My brother and I went to a really awesome beach to take in the sites on Friday. No one was on the beach and we also got to check out a covered bridge. Also I saved a stranded cat. It cheered me up immensely.

*Volunteer your time. If you keep busy volunteering in something related to your career you can keep that on your resume as a current position as you continue to look for work. Gaps in work history can be frustrating to explain in an interview and can break my mojo–I would prefer to talk about my awesome volunteer work rather than how I ended my last position.

*Consider taking a job that isn’t perfect but will keep you fresh and teach you new skills. My brother can help find me a job doing some legal work, but it is not in a law firm, nor in any of my favorite areas of law. However, I really enjoy my brother and he loves his coworkers and boss. Working somewhere encouraging could really boost my confidence and give me a great reference to put on my resume as I keep looking for work. Who knows, I might end up loving this are of law!

*Start a money saving or money making hobby. I am planning a little victory garden to help feed my family and to keep me busy. The whole endeavor will only cost about 50 bucks to get started. But making things grow is really spiritually enriching and the added bonus will be super yummy things to eat in a few months. I am also focusing on painting pictures for my friends. A friend commissions the sort of painting he or she wants, and I create it custom just for him or her–and I make a little cash.

I am cheering up after a period of feeling down and out after losing my job. What do you ladies and gentlemen do to keep positive when out of work?


I’m a professional musician, primarily a guitarist. What do you call a guitarist who’s lost his girlfriend? Homeless. Yeah, it’s a joke but all too often true though in my case my wife is also self-employed. She does house cleaning. It’s less interesting than being a guitarist but pays a lot better.

We decided to forgo the dubious pleasure of full time employment. Instead, we’ve adjusted our needs to suit the income we have. That means we cook instead of eating out, we don’t gamble, go to theaters, rent movies, smoke, drink or buy ‘stuff’ we don’t need. When we do actually need something, we shop in flea markets garage sales and thrift stores. Nor do we feel deprived. We’re content with our lifestyle.

If I needed more income I’m sure I could get a job as a checker or a stocker in a dollar store or supermarket. Heck, I could even flip burgers if it came to it. Who I am isn’t defined by how I earn my bread. *shrug* I think there’s a semantic error in one of the commandments; it should be “Love thyself, then love thy neighbor as thyself’

childfreelife says:

Thanks Don,

It is such a coincidence, because I am heavily considering self-employment right now. I have one contract job lined up and I am interviewing for another today. If the second one works out I can venture out on my own as a self employed paralegal.

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