I have been unemployed three times in my adult life. The first time was right out of grad school when the country was in full-blown recession and jobs were hard to come by. The second was when I came back from traveling, having purposely quit my job to do so. As of Friday, I once again joined the ranks of the unemployed, swelling to millions of Americans whose jobs are collateral damage of the coronavirus.
I suspected it was coming. I started at a cruise line just four months ago and when leadership mentioned “workforce decisions,” I saw the writing on the wall.
It is definitely scary, but I am no stranger in this strange land of hopefulness and rejection. A place where you want to move forward yet feel lost and aimless. You want to arrive quickly at whatever is next without traveling the long, arduous road to get there. That’s not how it works here. You need patience and faith and hope — qualities that over time can become as scarce as hand sanitizer.
But I know this place; I know my way around. I re-read my post from that second visit, a period I referred to as the “In-Between,” and it was a great reminder of how I navigated it — the particular fear I felt but also the faith that it would work itself out. Some days I will feel good about my prospects, and other days the anxiety will overtake me. I see how tough and resilient I was and am. I will hustle every day and figure it out. I am blessed to have resources to fall back on and options. Even on the dark days there is reason to hope.
Before moving forward, I look back at the trail I have carved throughout my life. I see the craters where I stumbled and clawed my way through and the blooming fields of happier times that I breezed through. They both got me here. Now I set my sight to what’s ahead. I am ready.
My sojourn in the land of unemployment — and our exodus in the land of pandemic — is but a moment in the whole of our lives. It will not consume or define us. Hopefully we will learn from it. Our life experiences have prepared us for this one way or another. One day we’ll look back and take courage from what we are going through now. And that will get us through the next thing and the thing after that. We are ready.
Onward and upward.
“Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out
hey I will stand my ground
and I won’t back down
No, I won’t back down.”