Sooner or later, we all become unemployed.
For men especially, our job, our income and the stability and success in those things have a huge impact on our self-esteem. Being unemployed also impacts our feelings about our success as both husband and father. And when we become unemployed, that can often send us into a downward spiral. For a Middle Class Dad, it’s all too easy to let that decimate our feelings of self-worth.
We feel inadequate and we feel like a failure
But this doesn’t have to be the case. This could be a blessing in disguise. A fast track pass to L3Harris US Flight School, a college degree you wouldn’t have otherwise considered, or a whole new career path that could have gone amiss if things in your past career path went more smoothly.
I’m not here to talk you out of those feelings. I’ve been there and I have felt those feelings. I have been unemployed. I’ve felt the confusion of not having a routine, of not knowing what was coming next and the pain of not knowing how I was going to provide for my family. I’ve felt the embarrassment of wondering what my former co-workers think.
I’m not at all saying women don’t feel these things too, but even in this modern age, I do think there is still this vision, however antiquated it may seem to some, that the man is the provider for the family and while maybe the burden is simply one we put on ourselves and maybe not even accurate from a family financial point of view, many of us still feel that way and when we lose a job, all those feelings of inadequacy can be easily triggered.
As I said, I’m not here to talk you out of those feelings, but I want those feelings to be motivators. After all, EVERYONE makes mistakes. Every great inventor failed before they succeeded, whether you’re talking Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein. In fact, I’d go so far as to say anyone who ever achieved anything we would describe as great has probably failed a great deal!
For personal finance, I’m a HUGE Dave Ramsey fan. You can read my family’s story of our journey out of debt using his principals on my blog entitled 5 great ways to improve your finances & save your future!.
Guess what happened to Dave; the finance guru? At one time in his life, he filed for bankruptcy. Now he’s the number one trusted source for personal finance and quite wealthy. He didn’t let his failures drag him down; he learned the lessons from his mistakes and used that to drive him forward.
Your failures should be the primary motivator for your future successes!
Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success- Dale Ca pic.twitter.com/9kGq39wDTU
— Joeri Van Overloop (@Joeri_Vo) September 11, 2016
All too often I see folks wallow in their misery; stuck, frozen and otherwise not able to push through this challenging time. The longer the unemployment continues, the worse it gets, so the key is to not linger in the disappointment of the loss.
Remember, our families are counting on us to be strong, to be resilient and to push through. That doesn’t mean not validating or feeling our feelings, but we need to turn those feelings of frustrations into action.
FIRST, we need to make sure we are learning the lessons life is trying to show us. (Unemployment Solution One)
- Why did your last job end?
- What could you have done to affect that outcome?
- What do you need to do differently next time?
It’s easy to get in the blame game, and who knows, maybe in your case, it really was someone else’s fault that you became unemployed. But often times we were the one in the driver’s seat and the choices we made, the attitude we brought to the job, the enthusiasm we showed or things like our flexibility and reliability (or the lack thereof) were major contributors to why we’re now unemployed.
Even if we left the job voluntarily, we still contributed to the things that made us want to leave and ignoring our contributions to those issues stunts our growth and potentially means repeating those mistakes.
I don’t want you to dwell on what you could have done differently
But it IS crucial that we identify what went wrong, take responsibility for our actions (or inactions), choices and statements so that for this next chapter, we’re going in stronger than ever and while I guarantee you’ll make mistakes in the future, they hopefully won’t be the same mistakes made the same way.
The current unemployment statistics for men between 25 and 45 is that just over 4% are unemployed at any given time (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
That’s roughly 1 in 20, so chances are everyone reading this blog knows someone who is unemployed or has been that someone at some point in the past few years. So whether you quit a job you hated, got laid off, quit before they fired you or even got fired, you’re not alone and in and of itself, the loss of that job isn’t something to feel ashamed of. Shame has a paralyzing effect, so let’s shed those feelings quickly.
An old friend of mine and someone high up in HR at my former employer was fond of saying “there’s no better predictor of future behavior than past behavior”, and while that is often true, the choice is ALWAYS ours. We don’t have to be defined by our past mistakes and habits.
WE CAN DECIDE AT ANY POINT TO BE A DIFFERENT AND BETTER PERSON
— Lolly Daskal (@LollyDaskal) September 9, 2016
The problem, which is why he was fond of saying that, is that all too often people don’t take responsibility for their actions and they try and justify their behavior and focus the blame on someone else. Hence they don’t learn from their mistake(s) and are bound to repeat them.
As a leader, I once had to fire someone for theft (actually many times, but one specific incident for my example). She justified her theft because the cost of the item she took was low, and she blamed me for the loss of her job (even years later when she found me on Facebook to chide me).
Thus, while she may have been smart enough not to steal from her next employer, you can bet she cut corners and justified those choices in the same way and probably hasn’t been as successful as she could have been because she never took ownership of her choices than led to her being unemployed and instead chose to blame me. Most likely she has faced unemployment elsewhere in life.
LOOKING AT OUR MISTAKES AND CHOOSING TO ACCEPT THEM AND MOVE FORWARD IS CRUCIAL TO SUCCEEDING IN LIFE (Unemployment Solution Two)
accepting failures and mistakes= success pic.twitter.com/iJMMKW7i5x
— sujata kunder (@KunderSujata) September 3, 2016
This isn’t just about ending unemployment. This is about winning in life.
This is about being the best husband you can be, the best Dad you can be and the best you. In and of itself, it’s not that hard to find another job. Yes, maybe it’s hard to find the exact job you used to do, or maybe it’s hard to find a new job that pays what your old job paid or maybe it’s hard to find your dream job, but . . .
Right now we have 2 immediate goals:
- Put food on the table
- Boost your self esteem so you don’t get stuck
Doing almost ANY job achieves those short-term goals. (Unemployment Solution Three)
Deliver pizza at night while mowing lawns during the day. Those are 2 jobs that are almost always in demand in almost any part of the country (and while I’m not an expert on countries other than the US, I bet your country has those (or similar) needs too.
No, they aren’t necessarily what you want to be doing in 5 years (unless it spurs you to start a lawn care company or open a pizza restaurant). They also aren’t something you’ll be bragging about on Facebook. However, they fulfill our immediate unemployment goal and they give you time to work on the future.
You can probably generate about $3,000/month by working consistently doing those 2 things. The pizza job is more immediate as you just apply, get hired and start, whereas the lawn moving will require equipment AND some hustle to get started; put a sign in your yard offering the service, get one of those magnetic signs for your car doors and post on social media if you have, for instance, an HOA Facebook group or similar. Craigslist could work too, but you get the idea. The best part about both those jobs is they give you the opportunity to work on yourself while also ending your unemployment!
Don’t listen to music while mowing or driving; listen to podcasts! (Unemployment Solution Four)
I got started on my blog after I discovered a list called 100 Podcasts to Make You Smarter. Somehow on that huge list, I discovered a man named Pat Flynn and his Smart Passive Income podcast. But there are other great podcasts on that list too. Listen to as many as you can while taking these short-term steps to alleviate your unemployment situation and I can almost guarantee you’re setting yourself up for long-term success.
See my list of favorite bloggers and podcasters HERE and spend some time with some GREAT people!
MAYBE THE UNEMPLOYMENT WILL HAVE YOU ON THE VERGE OF STARTING THE BEST NEXT CHAPTER OF YOUR LIFE!
The one thing I know for sure is that nothing changes when we don’t take action. Sitting on the couch eating or drinking your sorrows away binge-watching TV is, at best, going to do NOTHING for you or your family. And at worst it could destroy your health, your self-esteem and your family’s respect for you. I’m not saying we haven’t all been there at some point in our lives, but we don’t want to linger there. We have to see failure for what it is:
Failure is something to learn from and to motivate us to do better!
You know what the man achieved who NEVER made a mistake? Not much! To really succeed in life, we have to take risks. We have to take action, and in every risk or even every action, there’s always the chance we won’t be successful on that first go round.
Just like with starting this blog. Sure I HOPE it reaches thousands of people, but there was always the risk that I’m just typing (loudly since I’m an old guy who learned on an old-school typewriter) for myself. But I know one thing; If I never took action, I would never know if my writing was any good!
Like Yoda says, “Do, or do not; there is no try”
I could quote Star Wars all day, and believe me; for a fictional film series, it is chock full of true and genuine wisdom; more than most people will ever know.
We have to do, we have to take action, we have to envision a brighter, better tomorrow and be willing to take baby steps to get there. It may not happen instantly. That tomorrow may not happen when you expect (or even need) it to. It may not come in the form you were expecting. I wasn’t expecting or even looking for a job in the martial arts industry when it found me, and it changed my life (see my blog on that called 7 powerful ways martial arts saved my marriage). But end my unemployment it did.
So my final solution is kind of a mix; (Unemployment Solution Five)
- Be patient
- Be open-minded
- Stay positive
- Be willing to do whatever is necessary today while you build your better tomorrow
- Know that with the right attitude, the perfect job will come your way (sometimes when you least expect it!)
So see this short-term setback as a potential for you to reinvent yourself and try something different. Even if you find a new job with a new company doing essentially what you did before, find a way to do that in a new and different way so that you have a different outcome with this new employer. I don’t want you to just subsist; I want you to win, to succeed!
So while taking an identical job with a similar employer could be the right move for you and your family, don’t limit yourself into thinking that’s the only option. This is especially true if what you were doing before wasn’t something you were truly passionate about and something you loved doing. In fact, if the opposite of that was true, then I really want you to think very carefully about your next moves. We don’t want to end up unemployed again!
When we take a job where we just go through the motions, that, at best is deathly dull. There’s almost no way you’re going to be excellent at that job under those conditions, and believe me; that takes its toll on your attitude, health and affects your relationships at home too.
You AND your family deserve the very best version of you; don’t just settle!
One book that helped me, that I later lent to a friend who became unemployed is called 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller. That book is well worth getting and reading or listening to and you can hear his thoughts right here!
WANT A FREE PDF GUIDE/CHEAT SHEET TO HELP YOU STAY MOTIVATED?
I’d like to end by asking for your comments, both what you’ve done when you found yourself in this boat as well as what you did to move forward and any mistakes you made in that process. As guys, it often isn’t easy for us to admit mistakes or open up, but doing those things really is crucial towards moving the needle forward.
What’s Your Story? What solutions did you try? What worked and What Didn’t?
Thanks for being with me! I appreciate you!
Podcaster Sign – https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/
Fortune Cookie – https://bit.ly/1WSTgUh
Yoda Statue – https://bit.ly/1TDVDGm
Super Dad – https://bit.ly/1Rqc7gE
Job form (used on Pintrest post) – https://www.flickr.com/photos/76657755@N04/