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Hope for the Jobless

The job market is terrible. Here's how to make it through.

Let’s face facts: the economy sucks.

For those of us who are older, it has been a swift kick in the shins. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment numbers during the fourth quarter of 2010 for those aged 25-34 were a depressing 9.6 percent. Taking a closer look at the number, you will see the number was 9.9 percent for men, 9.3 percent for women. Silver lining, the overall number actually dropped since the same time last year, but by less than half a percentage point (although it rose for women). That small number looms large.

You could have been laid off or, like this writer, just finished an advanced degree hoping to emerge into an economy begging for your skills.

Did not quite happen, did it?

Your typical day probably looks like this:

9 a.m.: Wake up and then lie in bed for a half-hour thinking, listening to music or playing with an iPod or iPhone.

10 a.m. - noon: Catch up on TiVoed shows from last night or the night before.

Noon: Lunch, consisting of either fast food or cereal depending on how much money is in the wallet.

1 p.m. - 4 p.m.: Go to either Borders, Barnes & Noble or Starbucks (depending on your rotation) for the fifth day in a row and look/apply for jobs online.

4 p.m.: Return home or go to the nearby gym and work out.

6 p.m.: Dinner, same choice as lunch.

7 p.m. - bedtime: Watch the television, read or return to Borders, Barnes & Noble or Starbucks to continue your afternoon activities.

Not much of a day, but there is something missing there. Hint: He is omnipotent, omnipresent and has a white beard (that last part is a joke, but you get it).

That's right: God.

It's easy to lose motivation for spending time with God. You are stuck in this morass of unemployment, feeling lost and probably alone.

Gainfully employed friends do not understand what it is like to be in your 20s and unemployed; some have been in their careers for at least five years and some had jobs waiting for them right out of college. When they try to help, it most likely revolves around this oft-told verse:

    

So do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:31-33, NIV).    

Easier said than done. The folks living in the time that verse was written did not have to worry about rent, electricity bills, gas bills, cable bills, phone and Internet, car payments and health care bills. Life goes a lot more smoothly if you have a job. It’s discouraging to graduate from college with your whole life in front of you ... and discover your best option is to move home.

And in your late 20s, it’s even worse. As you get closer to 30, it seems you are expected to have the wife, the 2.5 kids, the nice car, the suburban home and the fulfilling career doing what you love. If you’ve been laid off, you suddenly had this dream ripped from you without warning. Those who stayed in school to get that MBA or master's or J.D. to obtain that job feel as if those years were wasted. Yet due to whomever or whatever is to blame for this extended economic trough (let us not get political here), those hopes have not come to fruition.

Life seems to have lost its meaning. God has lost meaning. Praying feels empty, and the Bible is just gathering dust on the coffee table. How does one, to use the British phrase, “Keep Calm and Carry On” when there is no motivation to worship God or continue the day-to-day grind of trying to find work? That’s the big question.

I don’t have the answer at hand, but there are sources for the answer. One is that great Christian apologist C.S. Lewis: “I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”

You look at each day as a sad continuation of the last. The only way to break that is to look toward God. It makes the days more bearable, but it takes work. We must be willing to spend a few minutes each day looking at God’s word and seeing what He has to say to us.

Give ear and come to me;

Hear me, and your soul may live.

I will make an everlasting covenant with you,

My faithful love promised to David (Isaiah 55:3, NIV).

If we can forget that we are old, that we are unemployed, and just remember we are God’s, then we can make it through these aimless days. The only factor should be what we can do to glorify God and His word, instead of lying in bed and wondering what job we will be rejected for next. Another verse to remember is:

Since you are my rock and my fortress,

For the sake of your name lead and guide me.

Free me from the trap that is set for me,

For you are my refuge (Psalm 31:3,4).

All of us who face joblessness can, by keeping strong in the Lord, realize one day this pain of unemployment will pass and we will find our way in God’s way. The key to making it through is remembering, amidst the rejection, applications and unemployment benefit forms, God is there; we just have to let Him touch us.

28 Comments

Mellietronx

3

Mellietronx commented…

Sometimes this is hard to believe. God is faithful even to the faithless.

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Guest commented…

This article makes me cry because this is exactly what I am going through. I was laid off from a great legal administrative job with a great company about six weeks ago. I am smart and have a good personality and I've never had a problem getting a job. I thought that this time it would be no different. Much to my despair, it has been six long weeks with no paycheck. Unemployment has denied my claim twice (and we can't figure out why) so on top of no paycheck, I am waiting for an unemployment hearing to be scheduled and hoping that I come out victorious. I am having a really hard time staying upbeat and joyful. I am having devotions and working through a Bible study in Psalms and Proverbs. I know that joy comes from Christ, but I just don't feel it. I wake up around 8-9am and stay in bed thinking "why get up? There's nothing to do today anyways, but look for a job, which I'm failing at..." I feel depressed and I know that this does not please Christ. I get up and spend the next 6-8 hours online looking for a job. I don't even change out of my pjs most days because "what's the point?" To top it off, people are constantly asking me if I've found a job or sometimes if I'm even looking! That's so frustrating! I feel like such a failure because I--along with everyone that knows me--expected to have a job within a week of the layoff. I feel like I am letting everyone around me down and especially myself. I am disappointed in and starting to really dislike myself. I am 22 years old and I feel like an absolute failure in life. I am constantly being asked why I don't have a boyfriend which was really getting old...but I didn't care because I haven't met the right guy yet, and I had a successful career. When people asked about the dating relationship, I could confidently say I'm focusing on other things right now (career) and waiting on God. Now, I feel like all the "losers" I graduated with from Christian school that are working at restaurants, living with boyfriends/girlfriends, and not serving God. I don't mean to judge, but there seems to be a pattern like this... I had so much confidence in my career and that has come crashing down around me. I don't even know how to pick myself up from here? I am really trying to focus on my relationship with God because I know He is my hope, but I don't FEEL like reading my Bible or praying. I'm stuck in this pity party and I honestly don't know what to do. When I talk to my Pastor he basically just says that I need to "be faithful" and "give more time to the church." That's great, but volunteering at my church won't pay my many bills.I'm a very motivated person and I like to be in control.I don't understand what God is doing, and this is driving me insane. I was being a good witness at work and I was called "the sunshine" of the building because I have an outgoing, happy personality. Fellow employees cried when I left because we had such good relationships. I was making a difference for Christ, I believe with my whole heart. I don't understand why God would pull me out of that situation. While I want to someday marry and raise a family for Christ, I was content to wait on God with that and just throw myself into my career. Now people say, "if you were only married this wouldn't be a problem." I want to scream, "You think I'm enjoying this! Do you think this is what I WANT?" "Do you think I don't want to be in a wonderful relationship with a Godly guy!?!?!" I guess I am okay with not having one or the other (Career or relationship), but not having either is different I guess. I feel so alone and I need something more than "Trust God." (And the people saying this are always married and working in their field.) WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I mean, really....Please help me apply this in a practical way to my life? I don't want to get bitter or desperate...I see the path I'm heading down and I don't like it....I'm just not sure what to do...Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Krystle commented…

Hey there. I know what you're going through... I'm going through it myself. Maybe look into an internship somewhere, I find they are very helpful and motivating. I know most of them don't pay :( which totally sucks but they are absolutely worth it. You can make so many connections and learn about different fields of work. I know it's easy to get discouraged. I'm 25, just graduated from college and I'm applying everywhere and haven't found my full-time gig yet, just two awesome internships that I'm praying lead to something and if not... it wasn't time wasted. I got to learn more about the field I want to be in. So many people are going through the same things right now. I have to remind myself of that too. It'll all work out. I truly believe that. Maybe you can look into temp agencies in your area too? It's another good way of making connections. I feel like it's about who you know and not what you know lately. I'll be praying for you. You'll meet the guy God wants you to be with someday too. :) God bless and take care.

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Guest (reply to Krystle) commented…

Thank you so much for your kind words, Krystle. I was very encouraged to receive your post. Heard an excellent message yesterday at church on Joseph. He didn't ask to be in prison, he didn't "deserve" it; but God had HUGE plans through that. Pastor pointed out that if the butler had remembered Joseph (like Joseph asked him to), Joseph would have been released two years "early" and he prob would have headed home to his dad....the entire history of Israel could have been so different... I was very encouraged that God has not forgotten me in this unpleasant time. Sometimes we go through things that we don't like or ask for (Another example is David...he didn't ask to go through the valley of the shadow of death! Who would ask for that?!) but if we look for God in the situation, we are sure to find Him. :) I was very blessed yesterday with these truths! I appreciate your prayers. I have an interview today and I am just praying for God's direction, as well as the ability to walk away if I don't have His peace about the job. Thank you for taking the time to care. Will be praying for you as well!

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Krystle commented…

Thanks so much :) Best wishes with your interview. I completely agree with all of that. We all go through things for a purpose and only He knows where it will lead us. Take care!

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