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