It's essential to understand that this account demonstrates the enormous personal growth and character building that comes with such great hardship. It's integral to understand that this account exemplifies the oft-unrecognized attributes of the long-term unemployed and underemployed: they're better people because of their great hardships. As I noted in a previous article, the overwhelming majority of employers won't consider hiring a long-term unemployed/underemployed person, likely because they see the long-term jobless as "damaged goods". As this individual, who represents millions of Americans, makes crystal-clear in his concluding paragraph, however, the long-term unemployed have the potential of being BETTER employees because of the considerable personal growth and character building they acquire vis-a-vis their protracted suffering.
Note: I've omitted the introductory paragraphs because they relate to the person's employment history and educational background, which are immaterial. I've also added bold and italics to the salient points of the concluding paragraph, as they directly relate to the personal growth and character building to which I'm referring.
So what happens after months and months and years and years like this? You live in your head. Your mind often goes through a self deprecating loop of "if I had only done this instead of that". You become filled with disgust, despair, and depression. You feel hopeless and useless and worthless. And each day that follows with no results from your efforts makes you feel even more so. You withdraw. You hide. You make excuses.The preceding paragraphs perfectly describe the immense suffering associated with long-term unemployment and underemployment. Now, the takeaway from all of this:
I rarely see my friends anymore because a lot of them don't really understand the emotional, financial and physical toll this has taken on me. Although they will listen and try to understand, they really don't want to hear it -it makes them ill-at-ease and they don't even want to think about it. I make excuses too and beg off seeing them because I can't afford to do almost anything they want to do and I'm uncomfortable and embarrassed to have them pay for me-yet one more time. The ones who really do understand will commiserate with me-at least for that fleeting moment-but then the moment's gone, and they go back to their lives and forget, and I go back to mine, into that deep black hole where I feel tormented; the one from which I fear I'll never be able to escape.
So I've become uncomfortable with the people who love me and wish to help me because suddenly, they've become one of the ‘haves' and I've become one of the ‘have nots'. I feel angry and resentful and envious and sad and scared and worthless and alone and inadequate...
Or there are the people who want to be encouraging and say "but you're so creative, so talented I'm sure you'll find something.'' and while I know they believe that, and on my good days I know it's true, it certainly doesn't feel that way when I'm living thru this hell day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.
So for now, I live for my weekends; a time when I'm not totally alone and trapped with my loop of negative thoughts. There are other people around for a distraction or I'll put on the television, search the internet, or sleep. But even though a weekend is a "vacation from my life", and I relish them, the moment I step out my door everything around me is a reminder of my circumstances-because just leaving the house costs money. Money I don't have and shouldn't be spending.
Then Monday inevitably rolls around again, and I often end up under the covers, wishing I didn't have to face all of this yet one more time. But I know I don't have much choice if I want to change my circumstances. I'm supposed to maintain and project a ‘positive attitude', to be ‘happy'. To have a smile on my face and be jovial. Really? Well, yes. When I go out to face the world, like it or not, if I want to have opportunities I need to project confidence, competence, and conciliation. So, on top of all that I am dealing with, no matter how I'm really feeling, I have to become an actor as well!
Through all the trials and tribulations of the last three years of my life, I still believe that my saving grace will be my resilience. As many people have reminded me, throughout my life, whenever I've had an obstacle to overcome, no matter how badly I've felt, each and every time when I was knocked down I always got up and kept trying, reinventing myself, and seeing that if this time the ‘spaghetti would stick to the wall'.Resilience and adaptability: marketable attributes developed through long-term unemployment and underemployment. Hiring managers and company decision makers should take note.