Tag Archives: unemployment

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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

Photo: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / fuzzbones

Unemployment and Fatherhood

Just when you think you have things figured out, life throws you an off-speed pitch that takes you by surprise and changes the way you look at the world.

I’m about to run out of my second stint of unemployment in the past two-and-a-half years and I’m not sure what direction I’m headed.

Money is tight, I have yet to dip into retirement funds, yet my kids are all clamoring for iPhones and I have a new driver on the horizon who will surely want a car (actually, she wants a Jeep).

“Everything is on hold” I tell them until I find some steady work.

Never thought I would ever be in this sort of situation, as I have a graduate degree and many years of industrial science experience, but I find myself in a situation that many people my age and similar background are suffering through.

I worked successfully for a company for over 20 years but after a merger I find myself unemployed and wondering what to do next.

At first I thought this shouldn’t be too bad. I got a decent severance and I should be able to find something rather quickly. I’m even kinda burned out and could use a little break after working non-stop from way back in high school, through college and after.

Boy, was I wrong. And here I am, trying to show my kids that college, hard work and loyalty will do you right in the world.

If nothing else, I have used this time to really be a participant parent, which I would have otherwise not have been as I would have been working and away from home most of my awake time during the day. I’m not sure if my kids really appreciate me being home, but I would not have been able to experience the field hockey and baseball games, swim meets, dance classes, field trips, Halloween parades, class parties, marching band performances, football games, cheerleading events, everyday shuttling kids from place to place, and the list goes on and on, if I had not had this opportunity to be home.

I’m actually not sure if I really want to go back to the life I had before, but with four kids to put through school and beyond, I will have to do some full-time work at some point to afford them the chance to go beyond what I have done with my life as I know they are capable of doing.

They are so much smarter and more prepared for the future than I was at their age, and I want them to succeed and pass that to their own children at some point.

Growing up, my dad typically worked two jobs to support his family and I hardly saw him during the week, and I have probably spent more time with him now as an adult then back when I was a kid. All in all, I am very happy to have been able to spend this time with my kids at these important times in their young lives, and I
hope I have made some impact.

No, wait.

I am sure I have made a lasting impression that hopefully some day they will appreciate the time that dad was around.