Unemployment, Underemployment and Working Outside Your Desired Field

As most you who know me, know I am writing about this topic because it has touched me personally, well, not me, but my spouse.
Being unemployed is never a good feeling, but when it is long-term, all those feelings magnify and I suspect some new ones pop up also.
Long-term unemployment is stressful, of course, because you worry about, not just where your money for this months bills is going to come from, but how long will this unemployment last?
Monetary needs aren’t the only thing that play a part in the inner battles one fights during long-term unemployment.
When you feel you’ve fallen out of the contributing working sector of society, you feel shame, lacking confidence, lost and like you’re not yourself anymore.
In fact we place all these euphamistic terms around being jobless, to avoid the seemingly negative words “unemployed” “jobless” or worse the phrase “out of work”.
We prefer to use words and phrases like “in transition”, “looking for work” or “embarking on a new career path”.

The flip-side to being unemployed, is underemployment, like when you go from making a decent wage to making minimum wage. You’re employed, but you’re still unable to fully support yourself or live the lifestyle you truly want.
Whether we want to admit it or not, jobs affect our psychological health. Partly because we’re so defined by not just being a member of working society, but by our jobs themselves. What’s one of the first things we ask someone when we are first introduced to them? “What do you do for a living?”
An example of this is part of my own story:
I was a journalist, in what is literally beginning to feel like a past life. After I moved across the country, I was unable to pick up a job in that field. I spent a few years agonizing (mostly internally) about how I can’t pursue that profession anymore. I also began confronting the bigger question of: If I am not a writer/journalist/other creative person, than what am I? Just a regular run-of-the-mill, everyday Joe worker? Gasp.
I’ve recently began to make peace with the fact that I am no longer a journalist. But I am still a writer, this proves that has not changed.
I had to change my direction to see that what I am at my core is still the same (a writer), how I do it has changed (I am no longer a journalist and as of yet, I am not getting paid to write).

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