Updated: Unemployment Is Harder Than Grief

(Author’s Note:  I am on a 2 week vacation to purge some frustration and restore my spirit.  In the meantime, I dusted off and breathed a little bit of new life into some older posts.)


Tom Rath and Jim Harter wrote a book titled “Wellbeing, The Five Essential Elements.” 

After using the code from the book and going to the website, it indicated that career’s significantly shape our wellbeing.  So much so that it takes less time to recover from the loss of a spouse than it does extended unemployment.

I concur.

Recovering From Grief

I was 18 months into my grief journey when I realized that I was 98% through grief.

The journey was painful and the 18 months seemed like 18 years.   However, I had access to a quality support program – “Griefshare.”  Those of us in the program could relate on some level to what each person was going through.  We were there to support each other.  The co-facilitators were available 24/7 if we needed them.

The Most Important Fact

There was a consensus about how to recover from grief.

It was going to take time, leaning on God, viewing the weekly videos, completing the workbook exercises and sharing out stories with each other.

I was confident grief would always be with me but would eventually be manageable.  It did become manageable but not as quickly or painlessly as I wanted.

While working through a grief journey was tough, it was not nearly as tough as being between jobs.

Recovering From Extended Unemployment                                                                      

There are more career counselors than one can shake a stick at, so that means there is NO consensus about what to do and how to do it. The only thing coaches have in common is they love doing a “Jack the Ripper” number on resumes.

One coach says your resume should look like this, a second coach says it must look like this and a third one says the heck with what coach #1 and #2 say – do it my way!

An Outplacement Agency Adventure

For example, while working with an outplacement agency, the counselors talked about having “white space” on my resume so it was easily readable.  After I got done, I looked at my resume and said to myself “Where’s the whitespace?”  All I saw was a lot of words.  The only “white space” was in the margins.  At least they got the party about my resume being accomplishment based right.

Back To Square One

So I went back to the drawing board and refined and tweaked my resume on my own.  I did not do a bad job.  However after attending a video seminar by JT O’Donnell of and, my resume had plenty of white space. WhoooHooo!

I’m So Confused

Extended unemployment can also lead to career confusion.  One moment I was sure which path to take, the next moment I was scratching my head.

So I started taking career assessment tests.  Since Joe’s passing I had no idea who I was which made taking career tests even harder.  I knew what Joe and I liked to do, but was clueless about my personal interests as well as career interests.

“Even Now”

It is harder to keep motivated during extended unemployment.  I began to question my self-worth.  Do I have anything left to give society or am I all washed up?  Even now, there are days I still question my worth.

The 80%

Then there was the little tidbit of information my doctor told me.

Shortly after Joe died I went in for a check-up and the doctor told me my chance of becoming ill and dying with-in two years was great.  She did not say how great and I was too shocked and chicken to ask, but I got the impression it was at least 80% or better.  Talk about encouraging news.

It made sense a year later when I became unemployed why no one was calling me back for interviews, after all I was going to be dead by the second anniversary. This led to me having very little motivation for job hunting.

The good news is I have since made it passed the second, third, and now fourth year anniversaries of Joe’s passing.  Yes!

In His Time

I know extended unemployment will come to an end in God’s time, not mine.   No one in my family thought that with 13 ½ years of banking collections experience, including 7 years in management, that I would be unemployed for over two years.

Maybe I should have answered all those insurance sales ads I got once I put my resume on Careerbuilder.

#1 Career Tip

Michele’s career tip #1 – If you want to transition into insurance sales put your resume on Careerbuilder.  Companies will inundate you with interview requests.


Since this story was written, I updated my Careerbuilder resume.  It is now titled “Communications Manager/Social Media Strategist.”  I actually had a phone interview for a Social Media Analyst position.  Since I have no experience as an analyst for another company, I did not get an in-person interview.   However, no insurance companies have contacted me about becoming an agent since updating my resume – well at least not yet.                   😉