In the summer of 2011 I found myself unemployed. Having had a job since I was fifteen years old, it felt completely surreal that I did not have consistent income. Immediately, I spruced up my resume and began job hunting. I had two degrees, connections, and charisma. It seemed only logical that hiring managers would flood my inbox in no time.
A couple of weeks of not hearing from anyone turned into a few months. Follow up emails, calling HR professionals, and executing every networking strategy my graduate school years taught me lead me to dead ends and sheer frustration. It wasn’t until I was forced to move in with my sorority sister that I began to officially panic.
My prayers for deliverance became cries for strength to face bill collectors and student loan payments. I wanted God to take me out of the pain because I did not see the purpose, yet it was not until much later that I realized how necessary this stage was in order to redirect my life.
Looking back, there were things I discovered from being unemployed that I would have never discovered if I had never received a pink slip.
Here are 3 Tips to Stay Encouraged When You’re Unemployed…
1. Discover Your True Worth
We live in a society where our worth is determined by the external. Our profession and the ability to bring home the bacon (well, in my case the broccoli since I’m a vegetarian) are tied to who we are.
During my unemployment I learned to find value outside of my bank statement. I looked internally for the things that made me wake up in the morning. I found other ways to fulfill myself, which allowed me to discover new interests and relationships.
My worth did not equate to how many hours I could put in a week, but how satisfied I became with my character and daily actions.
2. Focus on Purpose vs. Paycheck
To be honest, I never liked the job I had to begin with. It paid the bills, but it left me stifled. When God removed the position I was able to see clearly what I wanted to do versus what I thought I had to do. I still had dreams and goals that had been nagging at me for years. So, I tried new things. I started and finished projects I normally didn’t have time for.
I sketched out what eventually became the layout for my first children’s book and I began to reevaluate my entire perspective of actually being happy in the moment.
My search for a career became less about finding a paycheck and more about finding my purpose, which never before had crossed my mind when I was punching a clock.
3. Trust the Struggle
Things never just happen. What may seem like a surprise to us is never a surprise to God. Instead of asking God “Why?” I should have been asking Him “What?”
What is it that you want me to do? What do you want me to learn?
What do you want me to see that I could not have seen before?
God never makes mistakes (no matter how much we try to second guess our circumstances).
If you find yourself unemployed, please know that God will take care of you. You are being prepared for the next stage in your life so allow God to shift your focus. Maybe it is time to start that business, go back to school, or anything else you have put off due to the excuse of full-time employment.
Being unemployed is undoubtedly a fearful experience, but it is not the end of the road.
Although you may question your talents and gifts during periods of uncertainty,
although you may feel inadequate or less than remember the words of Luke 12:25-26 “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”
This situation you are in is temporary, have faith as you transition to the next level, and use this time to grow and reflect. Trust your brilliance, trust your struggle, and, most importantly, trust God.