Today, you probably know someone unemployed. It’s even possible that person is you. COVID-19 is having a significant impact on jobs, and no one knows whether these job losses are temporary or permanent.
Yet unemployment isn’t unique to COVID-19. Every year in our country, 21.7 million Americans lose a job they didn’t want to lose (Bureau of Labor Statistics 10-year average). That’s equal to every man, woman, and child living in Florida. And it happens every year! Even in the best of times, you probably know someone unemployed.
Losing your job and going through the new job search is one of the most difficult challenges you can face in life. It’s an emotional roller coaster, and those who are unemployed rarely talk about it.
The biggest challenges are emotional ones, and you probably don’t understand them unless you’ve gone through unemployment yourself. With a better understanding of what a jobless person is experiencing, you can be a better friend.
The following are seven emotions experienced by those who are unemployed.
Everyone has some anger related to their job loss, but they usually repress it. To move forward, they need to deal with their anger healthily so they can put it behind them.
2. Fear & Worry
Life is uncertain. There’s no way to forecast how long the job search will take and what will happen in the future. Our fears and worries are projections about what might happen in the future but have not yet happened. It’s been said that worry is a conversation we have with ourselves about things we can’t control.
So much of our identity is connected to our work. When that part of our identity is taken from us, we often struggle. The first question when we meet someone new is, “What do you do?” That becomes awkward when you don’t have a job. You can also feel embarrassed that you’re not working, especially if you’ve always had work in the past.
4. Loss of Self-Confidence
Your self-confidence is like a battery: Sometimes it’s full, and sometimes it needs to be recharged. Losing your job can drain that battery pretty quickly. The longer the job search, or when interviews don’t turn into offers, doubt begins to creep in. You wonder if anyone will want you. Or you ask of yourself, “What’s wrong with me?”
People who become unemployed often spend too much time alone. This can give way to over-introspection. Unemployed people often miss their co-workers—the community of comrades they may have spent more time with than their own families.
No matter how emotionally strong someone is, everyone will experience despair—that feeling of hopelessness and wanting to give up. It may be for a couple of days, maybe weeks. The longer the search goes on, despair becomes a bigger issue.
7. Conflict with Time
When working, there was never enough time to get everything done. Now there is too much time and not much to do. How do you spend it well, balancing the job search and trying to enjoy the gift of time? Finding that balance is difficult.
Remember, we have been commanded to help others who are struggling and share their burden. Please reach out and help someone who is unemployed.
Here are Ways to Help
If you want to do even more for your unemployed friend or loved one, here are some resources for you:
- Five ways to help an unemployed person
- Six ways to help an unemployed spouse
- Consider giving them this book
- Pastors or lay leaders, consider facilitating a Bible study for the unemployed
If you are unemployed, start with these resources:
- Six things to do if you become employed
- How to face off with a career transition
- Here’s my devotional for those who are unemployed
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Galatians 6:2-3 (NLT)