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A Change in Momentum

21 Jun

Maybe its the fresh mountain air getting to my head, but I feel that a change in momentum is upon me. A break from my usual surroundings and a step back from the job search grind has allowed me to gain a fresh perspective. What is different now that allows me to foresee a change in momentum? Continue reading

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A Respite from the Journey

19 Jun

I miss my passport (using it that is). I still have it with me but currently it only serves as a reminder of the wonderful travel experiences that I have had, and a tease of how I might fill the pages in the future. There are so many more places that I want to explore, foreign and strange foods that I want to eat, and smells of far away cities that I want to take in. Continue reading

Spring Flowers, Resilience, and New Beginnings

12 May

I don’t think I have ever appreciated spring flowers as much as I do this year. After an incredibly long winter, made seemingly longer by unemployment, seeing flowers come up this spring feels like a miracle. I have some perennial flowers planted near my back patio, and every year when the plants are still brown and battered from the brutal winter, I think that there is no way that I will have blooming flowers. But every year the flowers are back, a remarkable symbol of resilience and new beginnings. Continue reading

On Hope

5 Apr

I was hopeful (in January). It was the start of a new year and I figured that hiring would pick up after the holidays. And, a new year always brings a sense of refreshment and hope. I would wake up early and excited, optimistic that I would find the type of challenging, rewarding, and interesting position that I was seeking. I was optimistic that I would soon be back at work, using my skills, keeping my mind engaged and energized.

January turned into February, which led to March, and then crossed into April. With each passing month, it is kind of a shock to the system. It is a strange contradiction in that the days and weeks seem to creep along, yet the months have passed like a blur. Continue reading

On Being Strong

26 Mar

I have tried to be strong throughout this job search process and all of the other transition that I have experienced this past year. I’ve willed myself to learn new skills, to volunteer, to start a blog, to keep networking, and to continue the job search. But, today I don’t feel strong. Today I don’t have it in me to be strong.  Today I just want my life back. Today I want to be excited because I have a reason to get up early, to go to my interesting, and challenging  job. Today I want to have a reason to use hair products, possibly even use an iron, and maybe wear something other than my tennis shoes. Today I want to enjoy a lunch out with friends without having to calculate how much longer I can live on my savings. Today I want to be able to buy Manchego cheese and not worry about whether or not I can afford something more extravagant than two (now three) buck chuck. Today I am not strong and that’s ok.

I will be strong again tomorrow.

photo credit: JD | Photography via photopin cc

Use your Ninja Powers to Survive Unemployment

19 Mar

I know a lot more than I should about Lego Ninjago, due to a certain very enthusiastic 6 year-old boy. The Lego Ninjago characters have special strengths and powers such as intuition, creativity, strength, patience, and many more. The ninjas travel to the caves of despair, use a tornado of creation to destroy the bad guys, find the keys to unlock their true potential, and  learn the secrets of their golden weapons, among other things. If you are going to survive unemployment, and thrive, you are going to need to find your inner ninja, and use your special powers.

Being unemployed takes a great deal of inner strength, resilience, and determination. The stereotypes of people kicking-back, collecting their unemployment “royalties” and enjoying life simply aren’t true. Maybe there is a small minority of people who abuse the system, but for most people being unemployed is anything but an enjoyable free ride. If you are unemployed for an extended period of time, you’re going to need all of your ninja strategies to get through this time, to survive, and even to thrive. Ninjas are smart, resilient, creative, crafty, and wise. Below are some tips that I have learned from harnessing my inner ninja during this time of unemployment. Continue reading

Keep Swimming

4 Mar

Being unemployed during a long Minnesota winter has not been without challenge. I really never thought that I would be unemployed and it really is one of the most difficult things that I have been through in my life. It is really isolating, and it is hard to maintain a sense of purpose when you don’t have the routine of going to work and feeling productive. I especially miss the camaraderie of co-workers, and the feeling that we were all working toward a common goal. When you are unemployed, sometimes you feel like you are going through the struggle all alone. Mondays can be especially hard when everyone is going back to work and you are trying to find a reason why you should get out of your pajamas.

The days go by, and the weeks, and then months. You feel no closer to your goal and you aren’t sure if it is ever going to happen. It seems as if politicians have stopped caring about the unemployed, and you wonder if everyone else has to. You often get questions that seem to imply that if you would just work harder you would have a job. Human resources staff can make you feel like a felon, and you wonder if anyone really understands what it is like,  being unemployed. You start to question whether or not your education was really worth it, and whether or not you have made the right decisions in pursuing the field that you are in. Uncertainty breeds fear which can be paralyzing in trying to chart a path forward. Which direction do you take? What else should you be doing?

Don’t give in to the fear and uncertainty. Fight it.  There will be tough days, but it is so important to find something that gives you meaning and purpose during this time of transition. Find your inspiration in giving back to your community.  Use your skills volunteering with a local organization. Read books that you have always wanted to read, but didn’t have time to. Is is easy to find this inspiration during this difficult time? No it isn’t. I get it. It is sometimes so difficult to get one thing done when you have the whole day in front of you. But, you’ve got to do it. You have got to find the inspiration to live a purposeful life. Allow yourself to dream about the life that you want, and believe it.

It is not going to be an easy path to get there, and the scariest part is not knowing when you will get there. Just stay on the path and keep walking, or swimming as the case may be.  I have a visual of this time being like swimming in a choppy ocean (or lake for us Minnesotans) on a dark, stormy night. You can’t see where you are going, but you know that you aren’t too far from the shore. The waves are tossing you around and the current keeps pulling you farther out into the ocean. But, you keep swimming. Keep swimming and you will find the shore.  Keep swimming.

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