We found ourselves in the unfortunate situation a few months ago, where we suddenly became a one income household. UNEMPLOYMENT. Such an ugly word. I’ve always felt myself envious of households where only one parent/spouse had to work. Maybe the universe misunderstood my envy? I didn’t want to be MINUS a salary….I kind of wanted one salary to be GINORMOUS so I could have spa days and jet around the world. So maybe…just be specific when you put anything out in the universe. The ‘man I wish only one of us had to work’ non-specific sort of thinking may get you into the same sort of trouble I find myself in.
When one goes through anything huge like this, you find yourself very obviously stressed, worried for your future, worried about your kids…wondering how you’ll store your makeup when you’re homeless. Maybe in a tree?? I don’t know. Normal concerns right? We have 3 children, a bond, medical aid….and and and….
Recently I’ve been on social media, and all of a sudden I spot the plight of so many people begging for work or food in groups. Concerned about their kids, having no electricity or money for petrol. I wish I didn’t, but I click on these posts and I see story after story…..of educated people, sitting without jobs. For months and months and months. Somebody with a diploma…working as a domestic. It makes me so sad…. That’s not how they pictured their lives once they qualified for that degree/diploma! Then my anxiety level peaks. I never in my life thought we’d be in this position. Initially I was optimistic as hell…..but when I see how many people are living this life, the optimism starts disappearing.
I am a firm believer in all the cliches :
- When one door closes, another one opens.
- Something better is on its way.
- Change is as good as a holiday. (Again not what I was thinking when I dreamt of the white beaches of Mauritius)
BUT I always worry…is it optimism or stupidity?
Right now, I still find myself in a fog of optimism…..that this is better for our family. We’re getting more quality time together. One of us is available for the kids after school. There are no more crazy working hours. No more dealing with the emotions of being in a difficult, helpless and self-esteem destroying work environment. All of that is positive. Emotionally and mentally, this is the best thing about this situation. Financially….not so much. Kumbaya…we all stand together….ain’t going to pay the bills.
Some pearls of wisdom….for if you ever find yourself in this situation:
You’ll want to wallow in self-pity, but just don’t let those feelings over take your life. As a spouse, reiterate that you will be okay and get through it…together. You need to rebuild the self-esteem of the person that may now feel they failed their family – take that roll seriously.
Update your CV
If you need to work again, you’ll need to haul out that outdated CV and spruce it up…give it a makeover 😉 Enlist the help of somebody that may be good with wording a CV and cover letters, if that’s not your thing.
Think about what you want
The field you just left, is it what you loved and want to do again? Is this the change in your career you’ve been looking for?
Use your payouts wisely!
This one is important if you perhaps had a pension or provident fund payout. Do not think you’re Oprah now and splurge with your cash. Write down any and ALL debt you have. Look at your budget and obligations going forward. Does it make sense to pay off debt? Biggest first? Smallest? Leave it all in your account and let the debit orders roll off as a reserve? Invest the money? Transfer it to a new pension/provident fund? There is A LOT to consider here. There is no right or wrong thing to do…..
If you were retrenched or dismissed, get your UIF documents together and register for that AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! It may not be boat loads of cash, but every little bit helps when you’re trying to make ends meet.
If you have any reason to go this route, consult with somebody first. Companies have resources, money, lawyers…something a newly unemployed person may not have. I am sure this is a hard road, but if you’re properly prepared, you may get your job back, the reason for dismissal changed, perhaps a cash payout. Not being prepared when you have a strong case, will cost you dearly here.
I think finding yourself at home permanently, suddenly…could initially be fun. Think of all the snacking, naps and series marathons you could partake in!!!??? #LivingTheLife That is bound to take a toll though, so establish a routine, eat well and maybe incorporate some exercise into your daily routine.
If you’re that way inclined, faith and prayer will get you far in this situation. You cannot know how powerful our Lord is, and think that He doesn’t have a plan for you in this situation. It may sound foolish to some, but only faith has kept me from completely losing my shit and sobbing in a corner all day. There is a lesson in this…there is a plan…our job (if it paid that would be great) is to wait it out (but I mean, be productive as well on your side. The Man Upstairs cannot do all the work 😉 )
So many people on Twitter have shared that they’ve been through this, and it’s been the best thing for them…they survived and are thriving today! Focus on the good stories and surround yourself with supportive people. The friend that offers you a loaf of bread from 1200kms away…..even though I hope I never need to cash in on that offer, it warms my heart to know there are people who care 😉 Those are the people you need around you right now.
I know I’ve spoken like this only happens in a 2 parent household, when I know the reality is that there are single parents doing it all, unemployed. If you don’t have a significant other, I hope you have a good friend or family member to turn to <3 Have you or somebody close to you, ever gone through unemployment? How did you cope? Any words of wisdom for my family?