Top Menu

The Surprising Benefits of Being Unemployed

Being unemployed changes a person.


…especially when it becomes a long-term condition. It can erode self-confidence, wreck relationships, and undermine physical and mental health. But it doesn’t stop there and the list seems to go on without end. With so many Americans who are, or have been in this situation, I wonder if it has changed the core of our nation.

Jobseekes become change-agents.


A lot changes. Not being able to find a job changes the individual at his or her core in terms of perceived value. It changes the relationships between families and friends. Social connectivity, especially during holidays become awkward and strained.

For the jobseeker, it’s all new.

Jobseekers get a lot of “new” as they navigate their way down the treacherous path of unemployment.

New Vocabulary: A new terminology permeates household conversations. Examples are: Jobseeker, personal branding, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), transferrable skills, LinkedIn, and austerity measures.

New Skills: This includes the obvious: time management, budgeting, and managing the emotional roller-coaster. Evaluating job descriptions, customizing cover letters and résumés, interviewing, and managing new technologies almost on a daily basis.
Liz Ryan, a contributing writer for Monster, in her article, includes Pain Spotting, and Showing Relevance, as top skills for jobseekers. (The article makes excellent points!)

Ruth Mantell, of MarketWatch, in her article sites creativity, adaptability, and flexible proficiency (the ability to take on new functions as business needs change), as her top choices.
New Understandings: First, comes the importance of work. Although most unemployed persons are grateful for their unemployment checks – the ones I know would rather be working. This isn’t just about having more income; it’s about their dignity. It’s about their identity, purpose and value.

Second, comes a new understanding about debt and personal economy and with it comes a deeper comprehension about our national debt. A Bloomberg article from 2011, How Household Debt Contributes to Unemployment is indicative. Another article by Marcus Mitchell, a senior research fellow from the Mercatus Center writes, How the U.S. Debt Problem Magnifies Unemployment. Both articles are worth the time.

Surely, we are gaining a deeper understanding that our nation is comprised of individuals who are integrally linked together. My actions and my decisions affect others. I have a responsibility that extends beyond my house and family.

New values: Perhaps the value of having a job, even if it isn’t “the dream job” is a poignant change for many jobseekers. Perhaps those prickly people who were so irritating at the office, weren’t so bad after all. Maybe we aren’t “sweating the small stuff” as much. With the excruciatingly slow pace of the economy, perhaps we are learning to value patience.

One client, an executive, is so “hungry” to go back to work, he would be happy to get a job washing dishes. A former client, who left a highly toxic position said, “If I knew what it was going to be like to find a job, I would never have left.” Another former client said softly, “I would rather be dead than unemployed again.”

Where does a jobseeker find hope?

  • As we learn to count our pennies, we are also learning to count our blessings. Many jobseekers, completely discouraged about their job search will say, “I know I have a lot to be thankful for.”
  • Another common thread is, “I know things happen for a reason.” This comment sometime follows someone who has been laid off just before a close family member needs major surgery… or after a job rejection, that leaves room for a better opportunity. Perhaps we are learning to trust and have faith.
  • Perhaps we are learning to persevere; to get back up, and to keep trying until we reach our goals.
Are you a job seeker? Do you know one? What changes have you experienced or noticed?

Before a successful job search:


This short video reminds me of many jobseekers, just starting out on the trek to find employment. Their initial attempts are dismal. But notice that no one leaves the race. And even when it’s unbelievably bad – notice the coach that continues to encourage the inside runner.

…and after:a master jobseeker:


This next video demonstrates a job-seeker who has been through the torment of a long-term job search, managing the negativity from others as well as from within, and pushing hard to make the mark.

Courage means getting up and coming back. I’ve been watching and tracking for over seven years and the only job seekers who don’t succeed, are the ones who stop trying. This blog is dedicated to those who fail and muster the courage to keep going until they are hired.

Please join me in the hope that the valuable lessons we are learning, and the changes we are experiencing as individuals will soon be seen amongst our nation’s leaders.

This blog is dedicated to those of you who responded last week and committed yourselves to not giving up. The next step is for us all to gear up, to muster our strength and drive to the finish. To you F. L.! Hat’s off!

Need Help?

Free consultation:
Call me for a free 30-minute consultation at (860) 833-4072.

, , , ,

Comments are closed.