This blog post comes to us from a listener who wishes to remain anonymous. We think this story is worth sharing and will resonate with readers at About Men Radio, which is why we have agreed to conceal the author’s identity.
In writing about the hardships of being the breadwinner, being laid off and then the uphill search for work, this contributor touches on a growing trend in today’s economy and society.
As documented recently in an excellent story in The New York Times, “The Vanishing Male Worker: How America Fell Behind,” finding a job is more frustrating than ever and then, once you have one, it maybe be unrewarding.
It’s a case of being too young to retire, of being considered too experienced to land a job you’re truly qualified for and of how, ultimately, it all feels like taking sandpaper to your soul. –Chris Mele
After college I worked for 24 years straight without a break. Three places of work, all in the same field and, overall, I enjoyed my time. There were ups and downs but generally I gave it my best and I was treated fairly through most of it.
After much turmoil as the result of a corporate transaction, I was downsized. I actually welcomed it, and was ready to give some time back to my family. I embraced being home and spending time with my wife and kids. I was involved with the kids’ schools and activities to the max.
I was out of work for almost a year, much longer than I ever thought it was going to take to find new employment. My advanced education and years of experience seemed to be more of a disadvantage in this economy for the jobs available. I landed a temporary job doing what I had done previously.
It was like starting over, and although I had more experience than most people at this place, I was the low man on the totem pole, but that was OK. I actually liked it in a way, having the least responsibility.
I did my work and went home. Work stayed at work.
It was very disappointing when I was passed up for a permanent position, as I would have been expensive to keep at that level. So, I was back to being unemployed.
This time around was different as money was short and my savings was all about gone. I needed a job, period. It still was hard out there finding something. Six months went by and so did the unemployment checks.
It was a stressful and depressing time. My self-worth took a severe beating and I questioned some past decisions that may have set me up for this predicament.
It’s very bad to think this way and very self-destructive.
Finally, a really good opportunity came up. It pays well, but it is still a temporary position. It’s also a very long commute and I spend more hours a day on the road than I would like.
I just needed to suck it up and do it. Survival mode.
Some months later, I’m not really excited about what I’m doing, and I find it is very different than what I first expected. Is it just that I can’t do this like I used to, or is it truly a poor fit and poor judgment on my part since I was distressed when I made the decision to give it a go?
I’m not sure, but it seems to be sucking the soul out of me.
I miss spending time at home, as everyone had gotten very accustomed to me being there and depending on me, and now I’m gone over 12 hours a day.
Sounds like I’m whining, but I’m not happy with my situation and looks like I’ll need to try something else again. But what if I make a change and still feel unhappy?
I think being unemployed has spoiled/ruined me in respect to working.
Being unemployed allowed me to experience something that I might not have ever had the chance to do otherwise.
So what is my time worth to me? My time is almost priceless when it comes to my family. Whatever I end up doing to support my family will need to provide me a sense of worth and hopefully something I enjoy.
Or maybe I just need to retire.
I know this is not an option right now and I will need to do some serious self evaluation and soul searching in the coming months so maybe I can start planning for that day.
I can’t wait
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