I don’t think anyone can help but shutter when they hear the word “jobless”. In fact, the idea of being jobless conjures up feelings of failure and ineptitude. So, does being jobless mean that we’ve somehow failed at success? My view of being jobless wasn’t always and probably still isn’t always positive. Although we typically respond to the idea of being jobless with negative feelings, being jobless can actually be an eye-opener (we’re talking about seeing the cup half full and not half empty).
A few years ago, I went back to school to take pre-med courses to fulfill prerequisites. My plan was to apply to medical school within two years; it never happened. I found out that I was pregnant and later became very ill (hello hyperemesis gravidarum aka what Kate Middleton has when she’s pregnant). I knew that I didn’t want to endure endless amounts of nights studying for exams with a newborn. Eventually, I got better at six months and began looking for a job. Yet, all I got were a few interviews that went nowhere. I felt crushed but gave myself time to start job searching again until after my son was born. I began applying one month postpartum, but no one was calling me. It was a dreadful feeling to open my email inbox. The idea that I was unhireable unnerved me. Was I THAT unqualified?
While talking this subject over with my husband, I mentioned that maybe being jobless was a blessing in disguise. Surprisingly, he agreed with me. Over those late night chats, I not only learned to appreciate that once-hopeless word but also these five lessons about being jobless:
Being jobless isn’t fun especially when there are bills to pay or that cute clothing item for the season. The item may not make it to your closet, but there will be other (perhaps more meaningful) things to enjoy when you’re not glued to a 9-5 job.
For me, I was able to spend more time with my then-youngest child and now my newborn. Knowing that I get to care for my newborn instead of someone else was a relief. To this day, my husband continually reminds me that my eldest son’s certain quirks are an extension of me. These are things I cherish and would not have been possible if I wasn’t jobless.
A job can leave you overwhelmed and tired, which leads to you forgetting that self-care is critical. Let me repeat – self-care is critical! You need to take care of you. That is true with or without a job.
While working at a new position, I gained thirty pounds within a one year period. When I left my employer, I found time to go to the gym. I lost 10 pounds in one and a half month. I haven’t lost all the weight I gained but what I discovered was that I come first.
You had a plan and it didn’t work out. Maybe you had a goal that you wanted to achieve by a certain age or amount of time. I know I did. In fact, I had many goals that didn’t come to fruition and plans that never worked out the way I hoped they would (ahem, being a physician by age 30).
It can be challenging to comprehend why goals weren’t achieved or why a seemingly bullet-proof plan failed. The lesson is to not give up on yourself even if you must change or abandon goals you had set for yourself. Whatever the number of years it takes you to achieve what it is you want, remember that it is okay if the journey resembles a maze instead of a labyrinth.
Having a full-time job leaves you with less time to do other things that you may also be passionate about – things you probably forgot you love doing. I’ve been writing since I was twelve. Yet, I never felt like I had the time or clarity to continue writing in my adult life. Eventually, I would go months and even years without writing. I was just too busy.
During this jobless period, I kept thinking that I would love to journal and connect with others. This led me to the idea that I should start a blog (my first blog was a fashion blog nearly nine years ago!). Eventually, I started this blog (initially it was called The Jobless Daily) and I’m glad that I finally pulled the plug on my hesitation.
Being jobless allowed me to think about me. Who am I? What do I want out of my life? Do I still want to pursue medicine as a mom of three? I was able to realize that I wasn’t sure about who I was. Somehow, between being a mother and a wife and juggling work and while completing my degree, I forgot about me. I learned that I wasn’t fulfilling my life with things that inspired me and that I was surrounding myself with people that drained me. Being jobless gave me the time to process my life more thoroughly.
The notion that I was unhireable scared me. No joking, I had to ask my husband repeatedly if I was smart. I learned that validation for your worth doesn’t come from someone or something – that includes a job. Sure, there may have been hiring managers who looked at my resume and found it bland compared to other applicants. The fact is that it doesn’t undermine my abilities.
The truth is that no one will value you the way that you value yourself. A job does not command your worth. You have talents and value that a resume cannot thoroughly express.
Don’t be afraid when you suddenly find yourself without a job. By reminding yourself that your working title does not define you, you can flourish without restraints.
Has being jobless been a blessing in disguise for you?