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Everything King: On being jobless

Wendy reflects on her year of unemployment
Everything King (with Wendy King)

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be truthful.

Honesty can be hard to face and is not always comfortable or pretty.

Whatever subject we are discussing, I hope people enjoy it even if the topics aren't always light-hearted.

Today, I wanted to re-visit the issue of being jobless. I am coming up on a year of being out of the broadcast industry due to downsizing. I feel embarrassed to admit that! To be completely honest, I didn’t expect to STILL be on the job search a year later. To be fair, I haven’t been pounding the pavement as I had made the decision to give myself a break. I thought it would be good to take a step back and concentrate on my health and figure out the next career step.

I have worked since I was 15 and in radio since I was 18, so I made a conscious effort to chill out and just live – no alarm clock and no deadlines.

There have been a ton of positives. I have not been physically sick in an entire year. I didn’t even know how bad I was feeling until I felt better. Sometimes I think we end up just going day to day through the motions without ever giving ourselves the right to slow down and take stock. I didn’t choose to stop but even being forced to can be a blessing in disguise. This reprieve also gave me the freedom to go to medical appointments and get a handle on my diabetes and get my blood sugar levels back to a satisfactory range. Big plus!

If you find yourself without a job, here's a few things that helped me.

I forced myself to keep some type of a routine. I would get up every day, get dressed (even the bra) put the makeup on (usually) and accomplish something. Sometimes, it wasn’t much – maybe some housework or paperwork – but something.

If anyone invited me out, I went. It’s been a real treat to visit with colleagues and friends for coffee or lunches that normally you could never fit in. I loved seeing my family more often. More cat time was a bonus. It’s really healthy physically and mentally not to isolate yourself.

I took time and savings to upgrade the house a bit with a kitchen renovation. Its important to keep your environment cheerful. It seems to be the way that if you have time you have no money and vice versa but do it anyway!

Oh, one more plus – my hair isn’t all flattened down by headphones. Sometimes it is the little things!

If I had to be unemployed, this was a good year. The endless White House antics and “breaking news” have kept me endlessly entertained.

Has the year been all fun and games? No.

There are days when you feel like a complete waste of space. Chances are you will feel like a loser with nothing to offer. It doesn’t take too long to realize everyone else has moved on with their lives and careers and you are stuck. The calls and visits will dwindle (understandably). You are on this journey alone despite cheerleaders and well wishers. You will definitely grieve the career you lost and the life that was altered for you. There will be anger. You will feel like everyone is a success and you are not. The fear of the future will put you into a tailspin. You are going to question if you have any talents at all.

It’s a different world now. Companies rarely even respond to your applications. The phone doesn’t ring like in the old days with jobs being offered with regularity. If there is a job, chances are it is not in your field or its part-time with no benefits. This becomes a very huge issue as you age. Do I think age discrimination is an issue? You bet I do. Experience doesn’t seem as important as getting someone cheap.

I still feel I have something to contribute to a workplace, the community, the world and so do you. We all have a mission and a purpose. The trick is to find it!

If you find yourself in the same boat and floundering – my advice (even if I don’t always take my own ) is keep busy, stay engaged with your interests, reach out socially if you don’t always feel like it and give yourself permission to feel how you feel.

Find a way to be your own best friend. It only takes one phone call and one offer to turn it all around. Don't give up!