Driving down Route 33 in a panic stricken mode, you realize, life as you knew it is now over. You may possibly have experienced a job loss, death, divorce, health decline or change of some sort or another. Along this same thought, I heard a song recently, "I never dreamed home would end up the place I don't belong."
The security of doing the same thing or going to the same house everyday is nice. However, when change occurs it may send your world toppling. While you may not know the future, you can know the one who holds the future. It has been said that the only constant in life is change. When God becomes our constant, we need not fear the changes life brings, but rather look forward expectantly to them.
Many have lost jobs in recent years, and it has lightened my heart good to watch them pick up the pieces to their lives and begin again. Others have had marriages fail, loved ones pass away, children break parent's hearts, or many other stressors.
Beginning again is something I encourage on a daily basis in counseling. God is there for you and quitting is not an option. It is important to realize that this time is a chapter of your life and not the entire book. When you see life in chapters, you can roll with the punches, so to speak, instead of fighting against them like the ocean tide. When standing in the ocean, if you fight against the tide, you will likely topple over and go under the water; but if you go with the waves, you will float safely to shore.
Some have lost their jobs and though there is definitely a grief associated with this type of loss, there is also an element of expectation. We've all heard the saying, "where one door closes another one opens," and I am here to tell you, it is true. Throughout my life I have seen this over and over. I have seen it in my life as well as in the lives of family and friends.
If you have lost your job, here are some ideas to help turn things around:
1. Make finding a new job your job. Someone I knew did this during a particularly hard economic time. He started at one end of the city and worked his way through the businesses. Everyday he did the same, only taking time to eat his lunch. Within a few days, he had so many jobs that he handed out the jobs to the other unemployed folks. He made finding a job his work. God honored that. The work ethic is a wonderful thing.
2. Take a lesser paying job or even one you feel overqualified for and work like crazy. Make the position a first class one. I've always heard the character of the employee determines the quality of the work. I've also heard that everything rises and falls on leadership. Whatever you do, do it for the honor of God and watch what happens.
3. Find other ways to turn a dollar. I am in the midst of teaching this to my kids. We are talking a lot about the work ethic and other ways to make money to support a family and help others. I never wanted my kids to be greedy, but I want them to be able to support a family and to be resourceful, thrifty and generous. E-bay and other sites like it will aid you in turning a buck when you need it. Did you know old books are selling for thousands of dollars right now? Just about everything will sell there, too. Just make sure you charge enough for postage.
4. Work at home. Many companies, including a lot of health care agencies, have work-at-home jobs that will save you lots of money in the long run in the areas of gas, clothes, lunches and other expenses. Again, be careful when the employer wants a large sum of money from you to begin.
Most legitimate businesses hire people and provide them with a computer free of charge to work at home.
5. For many this could be a great opportunity to go back to school. Online is the way to go for many adults and saves thousands of dollars. Student loans and grants are an option. (Apply at FAFSA.com to see what kind of money you are eligible to receive). Two-year degrees can make you eligible for thousands more a year. Health care is going to be one of the main employers over the next decades due to the baby boomers growing older and needing it. There are many associate degrees that can put you in the $50,000 to $60,000 income bracket. Also, both federal and state government jobs are considered stable for now.
6. Use this time as your mid-life crisis moment. By that, I mean, you did not choose it, but it happened to you and now you can rediscover your passions. What do you love to do? Do you have a hobby that could turn into a job? I'll even go so far as to ask, "What did you play as a child?" Silly? No, actually, many of us loved something since then and when we find our niche, we've not only got a job, but a passion. Think about what makes you feel alive and go in that direction.
7. You will make it. I say this because when layoffs happen, despair often sets in. Don't let it. Have your grieving time (yes, the grief counselor in me comes out yet again) and then move on. Get excited, this may very well be the best thing that ever happened to you. Have an attitude of perseverance. Read your Bible and focus on the "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" and not the TV news that depresses all of us.
8. Network, network, network. What's that? Find people in person and online through every avenue you can. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get hired. I heard of a man in New York who was laid off, so he wore a huge sign everyday advertising himself. Though to me, that's a bit extreme, he was hired by a good company.
9. Indeedjob.com - this is the place to find every job imaginable in the U.S. Type in your ZIP code and job you are looking for, or just type in "any" and everything will pop up that is available. You may also check salaries for anything in any area of the U.S. and it will give you reported incomes. They also will email you updates on a daily basis concerning the job you are looking for. You can sign up for free.
10. Newspapers. Never underestimate the age old "want ads" in your local newspapers. They are usually the first to know about a job.
11. Resume. The Internet is full of sites that help you develop a professional looking resume. Don't buy into the "pay us to do it" either. Though they have a business to run, you need to save dollars right now. There are sites on the web and books in the library (free) to teach you to do a first class resume.
Remember, when your dreams are shattered on the pavement of reality, then dream again. Begin anew. Know that every day is fresh with no mistakes in it.
If you still need encouragement to continue on, then talk to a pastor, counselor, friend or close family member. Sometimes folks on the outside can see things clearly and bring fresh perspective to a cloudy outlook. You truly can begin again when your life has been turned upside down. Start the adventure today!
(Kimberly Short-Wolfe, MA, is a home school mom and the counselor and chaplain for Cornerstone Christian Counseling. Contact information: 304-637-7018 or firstname.lastname@example.org)