The Unemployment Blues

Two months ago we received the announcement that our school was closing its doors for good. We anticipated it happening, but it was still a blow to our morale. The announcement could not have come at a worse time; job availability for teachers is fairly low during the months of July and August. What made matters more dire was the fact I was not a certified teacher; schools will not even consider you without state certification. I could have tried to transfer to another one of our schools, but I was under the impression that I would have steady employment working as an on-line teacher. Sadly, I was finally laid off and the on-line job came to naught. I faced the miserable prospect of unemployment.

The first headache I faced in my life without work was the unemployment office. I did not receive any benefits the first week I filed because I made too much money the week before. I faced another snafu when I quit my internet job. My computer malfunctioned, so I was unable to do any more teaching. When I filed for unemployment my second week, all the unemployment office saw was the fact that I quit. Consequently, I did not collect anything for the second week either. Calling the state office helped somewhat, but I have yet to receive any unemployment.

The second frustration faced with unemployment is actually looking for a job. It goes without saying that the internet has made job searching much more convenient. However, with convenience comes headaches as well. Once I started looking for jobs on the internet, my inbox became inundated with all sorts of companies promising the ideal job. One time I did not check my e-mail for twelve hours and I received close to one hundred e-mails. If I delete them, it is almost guaranteed there will be just as many to replace them. Some job search companies claimed that they had interviews waiting for me and all I had to do was click. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I’ve received countless telephone calls and e-mails asking me if I want to further my education of if I need health insurance. All of this adds up to all talk and no action. If job opportunities were as numerous as the junk e-mails I have gotten over the past month, the unemployment rate would be close to zero percent.

Not working has also affected my home life. My wife is a stay-at-home mother who home schools our daughter. Leaving for work and coming back eight hours later was the usual routine. Now that I don’t have a job, I am home almost the entire time. Regardless of who you live with or who you are, when you spend every waking hour with the same people, everyone becomes more intolerant of each other’s behavior. Even the smallest of issues, like leaving lights on or not putting things away, become that much bigger. Boredom has been another feeling that I’ve had to come to terms with. Obviously, I spend as much time as I can looking for jobs, sending out resumes, and filling out applications. However, I can only do this for so long. Since I haven’t had any responses yet, it has been easy for me to feel discouraged and gloomy. Even my wife has been feeling the same way.

The only good thing that has come out of being unemployed is the amount of encouragement I’ve received. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that they would be praying for me and my family or have been thinking about us. Some benevolent souls have even offered to help us pay our bills should things get more desperate. As much as I appreciate this sentiment, I hate feeling like a charity case; if I accepted their generous offers, I would feel like a leech or a loser.

At this point, the main thing about unemployment is that it’s all a giant waiting game. Every aspect of filing for unemployment, sending out resumes, and filling out applications is about waiting to hear back from people. More times than not, I hear nothing at all. There have even been times when people call to set up job interviews only for them never to call back again. Living this way also exacerbates the feelings of discouragement and anxiety. The solution seems easy enough: get a job. I wish it were that easy. Unemployment is a time of desperation and it’s all I can do to keep the faith and keep looking for a brighter future. I must also work to encourage my family, who is also feeling the same things I am. Yes, sir! I definitely have the unemployment blues!

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