My 3.5 Year Job Search Journey Part 1

Now I know you new readers are thinking “I thought this was a blog about your widowhood adventures?”  It is.  One of my adventures after becoming a widow was experiencing an extended job search.

What I Did In My Previous Life

When Joe passed in March of 2008 I was working as a mortgage collector for a major bank and had been there 12 years. I returned to work after being given 10 days bereavement leave.  It was very difficult to go back but I had to do it. If I had not gone back after the two weeks, I would probably never have returned to the bank.

Weekends during the first year were spent mostly on the couch conserving energy so I had enough to get through the next work week.

How It Came To Pass

I took a week’s vacation at the one-year mark of Joe’s passing.  When I returned to work, I was pulled into a conference room and told to work 2 p.m. – 11 p.m. or take a 6 month severance package ( I had been working 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) After much prayer, and consultation with family and friends, I took the severance package.

In a conversation with my sister-in-law, I said “I survived the first year of widowhood which was hell, so certainly I can survive unemployment.” She very skeptically said “I don’t know.” She was right, I was wrong. Unemployment almost did what widowhood did not do – kill me.

Confidence During My 3.5 Year Journey

A widows confidence takes a big hit while grieving then combine that with a lack of confidence caused by unemployment and you have recipe for a disaster of Titanic proportions. I began to wonder if I would ever work again or if living under a bridge was my destiny.

My confidence took a hit during job search because of fighting 2 stigmas.

  • The stigma of being a widow.
  • The stigma of being unemployed.

How Society Sees Widows

Widows are seen as invisible and people who do see us treat us as untouchable. At least one of the following 6 statements describe society’s mindset towards widows:

  • You have cooties.
  • You are too “young” to be a widow but “too old” to be hired.
  • We just don’t know and don’t want to know how to help you.
  • You are about to bust up a marriage or a relationship in order to get a man.
  • You are unworthy of help (household or job search) because you are a “young” widow and can do it all.
  • We were only friends with you because we were friends with your husband long before you came into his life.

Huh?!

Finding Confidence

I found confidence in figuring out who I was as a person:

  • Blogger
  • Photographer
  • Book Reader
  • Volunteer (Golden Retrievers In Need; GriefShare Co-Facilitator)

and as a career professional:

  • Loan Officer by day
  • Freelance writer/editor/photographer by night

It was tough figuring out my personal and professional life at the same time. It took a lot of self-reflection about my likes and dislikes.  By no means did I figure it out overnight. Truthfully, there are some days I am not sure I have the professional part of my life figured out.

Faith – My Other Source Of Confidence

My faith got me through my grief journey, so I relied on it to get through my extended unemployment. God blessed me with meeting a lot of people online and offline. I read my Bible, inspirational books, listened to Christian music, and surrounded myself with positive, helpful friends. All of this helped keep me upbeat but I had my down days.  When those days hit, I embraced them and worked through them.

I learned to lean on God and realized He is the only man I need to handle whatever life throws my way.  Yes, someday I might want to be involved in another relationship and marriage, but the need is not there.

Bottom Line

I kept confident during my job search and you can too.

Confidence takes a lot of work …and tartar sauce.           😉

Check back next Tuesday 10/29, for a post about blogging and its impact on my job search.

This Friday, 10/25, there will be a Special Announcement from JoyReturns. See you then!

2 comments

  • This had some great information on what to do to regain confidence. I would recommend one final idea, to look at the positive things that you have been able to do, flip the coin as it were- ‘I survived unemployment’ Not an easy thing, I don’t understand the widowhood part but the unemployment part is spot on. Thanks!

    • You are welcome Greggory and thank you for your comment. You are right about looking positively at things.

      Truthfully, I am not sure I understand the widowhood part. I know what happens as a result of widowhood but not sure I understand it. Being a widow is not for sissy’s. And from what I’ve been told, neither is being a widower.

      Joyful blessings to you and your family.