Unemployment: A Gift in Disguise

How God can work a negative into a positive.

by Candace Simar

You never thought unemployment could happen to you, but here you are — jobless. Rather than feel sorry for yourself, take a deep breath and a second look. You may have been given the greatest gift of your life.

Think about it. How many people do you know who hate their jobs? By allowing you to lose yours, God is letting you reevaluate the direction of your life. This is your chance to reinvent yourself, travel that less-traveled road. Maybe unemployment is God’s way of rescuing you from a job that was wrong for you.

Here are some tips on unwrapping the gift of unemployment.

 Allow yourself time to grieve.

Emotional turmoil comes with job loss — not only the worry about bills and prestige but also something deeper. You may feel duped, disappointed, angry, or unappreciated.

Grief comes with any change or loss, and it intensifies when the circumstances are not of your choosing. This pain can cause isolation and despair.

Give yourself permission to feel the pain. God knows about your anger; don’t hesitate to tell Him what’s on your heart. Seek counseling or a support group. Many others experience similar losses. You’re not alone.

Take care of yourself.

Adhere to a healthy diet and lifestyle. Get adequate exercise, sleep, food, fresh air and sunshine, water, and relaxation. Take care of yourself so that you are more able to deal with the stresses of unemployment.

Study the Bible for comfort and direction.

The Bible speaks to aching hearts.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:21-26).

Allow the Bible to influence your life, and pray for guidance. Spending time in prayer and Bible reading makes the path before you less frightening as you experience God’s presence and receive God’s guidance.

Reevaluate what you liked and disliked about previous jobs.

Pencil a list of things you liked about past jobs. Perhaps you enjoyed the camaraderie of working with others, or maybe you preferred working alone. Maybe you loved having your own office or working with kids. Notice what made you feel good about yourself.

Next, list the things you disliked about past jobs. Maybe you were uncomfortable spending time on the phone or making sales. Perhaps you hated the paperwork or the office politics.

Then make a list of your dream job. Dream big; don’t hold back. Imagine the job that would put a smile on your face and bring personal satisfaction.

Apply for unemployment insurance benefits.

Your employer has paid unemployment insurance, and it is available to you. Check your state’s official Web site for details. Apply for benefits as soon as possible, as there is a waiting period.

You will need the following information: Social Security number, names and addresses of recent employers, dates of employment, reasons you are no longer employed, and recent pay stubs to verify income. Many states allow online application. Unemployment benefits allow you time to make an informed decision about your next job.

Take vocational testing, and update your resumé.

Your unemployment office offers Internet access for online job searches. Staff members are available to help you find the Web sites most beneficial to your quest. Free assistance is offered to update resumés, find jobs, and investigate government programs. Computer training, interview skills, and assistance with job applications allow you to put your best foot forward.

Free vocational testing is another invaluable tool. Often people choose career paths they are unsuited for. The results of your tests may surprise you or affirm your earlier vocational choices. Incorporate vocational testing results into your plans. Compare them to the lists made about your likes and dislikes.

If you are well suited for your present vocation, seek a similar job in a different company or location. Prayerfully consider relocation, as it can add more stress to your situation. Examine all options and what they might mean to you and your family.

Consider further education.

Sometimes your dream job requires further education or training. Ask yourself, If money were not an obstacle, what choice would I make? Investigate options for scholarship and financial aid. Lay the groundwork of prayer, Bible study, and vocational testing. Know that God is leading and guiding you.

 Walk forward in faith.

Although your future seems uncertain, God has a plan for you. Your Creator knows your gifts and talents and will place you in the best situation at the right time.

When God slams one door, He opens another. In the meantime, learn to cherish the unexpected gift of unemployment.

Scripture quotations were taken from the New International Version.