Unemployment is a scary word. I mean, I’ve gone through periods where it was my choice (taking a month or two with family prior to or after living overseas), but the moment it stops being your choice….well, basically, you feel like you are failing.
Unemployed people are lazy, they are not as talented, or they are poor at Marketing their abilities, right? Not always right. The world is many shades of grey, sometimes you need to look for eggshell before you find white or the charcoal before you hit black. Sometimes EMPLOYED people can be lazy, less talented or poor at Marketing their abilities, but a friend of the family, or 20 years in a job keeps them in the green. If you think really hard, often the brightest minds were the least stable and taking the most risks.
So, recently we met a group of people who never went to post-secondary school, only worked half the year and did door-to-door sales. I think our initial reaction was that these people were kind of lazy and didn’t have real jobs. I mean, geeze man, grow up. If you make such good money, why not work more and save up? Well, let’s be honest, if you could only work 5 hours a day, 5 months a year and make enough to just dick around the rest of the time, wouldn’t you?
We’ve all had stressful jobs and chaotic periods of time where we would just like a break. A break from work, from family obligation, from responsibilities and frankly from our life. When you get this much needed break, but it isn’t your choice, suddenly there is a perception of pity and worry around you. But, sometimes a break gives you the perspective you need to figure out what really matters to you.
I know that shockingly, once I got over the first month of full-time unemployment, I stopped worrying. I am probably going to be working for the next 35 years, so what’s 6 months off? The market isn’t what it used to be and taking the wrong job can affect more than you think. So, when you are working part-time and still have creative outlets, suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad. I’m a diligent worker, but not a great 9-5er; my health suffers, I’m constantly running late and I am horrible at keeping work at work. As it turns out, I am best when I am my own boss and make my own hours. I’ve needed to let go of the stigma that I am failing or not living “regular life” and figure out how the hell to create financial stability with my new found enlightenment.
Everybody is different and once we let go of the expectations of others, we can better understand the expectations of self. Not everybody is the same, so we need to remember what works for one may not work for another. I just know that with each new person I meet, my opinions change and each new experience I have, my expectations lower. My dad once said, figure out what you love and the money will come. I like to think that reigns true for most things – so figure out the money and it leaves time for the things you love.
“I get it now; I didn’t get it then. That life is about losing and about doing it as gracefully as possible…and enjoying everything in between.” – Mia Farrow