From WHYS listener Julia
Hello, my name is Julia and I’m in Portland, Oregon. I first contacted BBC when they asked the now oft repeated question “Have you been affected by the economic downturn?”.
Their question was posted the day I was laid off from my IT position that I’d held for 9 years, this happened in October of 2008. My response to their question was obvious, a resounding “YES”. WHYS contacted me that evening and through an emotional, raw conversation I was allowed to briefly tell my story and to hear other stories from around the globe. Now, after eight months without a job, I’d like to talk with those of you going through similar hard times.
I’ve always been fortunate enough to have had very short breaks between positions, no longer than a couple weeks at the very most. Since I’ve been off work for going on eight months, I’ve been thrust into an environment totally alien to me, highs, lows and unknowns. There are frustrating, depressing, emotional days and then there are those little rays of light that make it seem not so bad.
My biggest frustration comes from not receiving any response good or bad from the applications I send out. You can start to feel like you are sending resumes and applications into a black hole. (To those very few employers who do respond, even when it is to say ‘no’ – I thank you!) The depression and negative emotions seem to hit when you start to worry that this environment is some big cosmic judgement on your own personal value, I think this is the hardest part to fight.
The rays of light that I have found in all of this are the people, the people who have helped me get back to who I am and what I love about life. I fight the depression and negativity by realizing that I am not alone in this. I have friends who lost their jobs the same time I did and we support each other, we help each other to remember that this isn’t personal and the whole world is being affected by these events. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a family member who has lost their job or been furloughed. If the unemployment rate was two or three percent and I still wasn’t able to find work, then I’d start to think there was something really wrong with me. But, when you have literally millions of people around the globe struggling to make ends meet and to keep or find a job, people who really truly want to have work and contribute to their communities, then you cannot take it as a personal failure. (Although, it is still difficult to remember this sometimes)
To cope, I try to get out and do those free events that I never had the time to do because I was working. I go for walks, bike rides and accept the generosity of family and friends. I still have bad days, but I do my best to keep looking for work and get out, see friends and do something, anything to keep me from wallowing in self pity. I may not always be entirely successful at this, there are just some days that it is okay to lay in bed, watch a movie and eat ice cream…I just try not to do that very often.
I know that there are people struggling everywhere with this, Great Britain, Africa and all over the globe. What do you find the most difficult thing? The endless job applications? Or just trying to keep your self worth? Have there been any unexpected upsides? How do you go about keeping hope alive? Please share your story with us and let us know how you are doing.