Here's a story that happened a generation ago, but it is just as meaningful as if it had happened last year. In fact, it can be particularly helpful to realize that job loss is an issue that people have had to deal with throughout history. We sometimes get too wrapped up with our own predicaments and forget that we can learn from what others went through years ago. Technology may be different today, but human emotions like fear, grief, and disappointment are the same as they have been for thousands of years.
The glimmer of knowledge that I'd be laid-off didn't make the reality any easier. Learning how to to make the best of unemployment was the real eye-opener for me.
By James Masters, Ovilla, Texas
Although I'd seen it coming for a few days, the reality of that December morning was devastating. I was fired after five years as superintendent of a private school near Dallas. I'd thought it was only people who performed poorly that lost jobs. But I was a professional and college-educated; I'd given my all to the school! I'd always had a good job and good pay. Now the letter I held in my hand told me that none of that mattered. A difference in philosophy with a school board had reduced me from an administrator to just another statistic among the unemployed.
At the beginning I was mainly angry and anxious about my family's finances. Then as I watched my wife, Jeanne, go off to her job and my daughter leave for high school every morning, I became overwhelmed by the aloneness I felt. I hadn't just lost a job—I had lost my whole identity.
For months I felt that I was hardly a person anymore. But slowly, during that time, I discovered how to deal not only with the loss of a job, but with the loss of me.
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