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Umemployment sucks @%#&!

First off, I have no use for despair. In the literal sense of emotions serving useful purposes for survival, I can see none for despair. Fear and anxiety may suck in the wrong context and may even hold you back at inopportune times, but they can also save your life by keeping you alert to danger. See? They have a very real and useful purpose in an organism’s survival. But despair? I can’t think of any species that got one up on Darwin by utilizing the lay down and die response. So when despair crops up in my mind, it’s summarily ignored.

Discouragement, however, is a bit trickier. Unfortunately, I could justify a purpose for discouragement. If you keep trying to fight a tiger with your bare hands and repeatedly wake up months later in the hospital, this might discourage you. In this case discouragement would be your brain’s way of saying, “Hey dumbass! This is going to get you killed!” Trying to change my status from un-employed to employed, while certainly not dangerous, has been fraught with discouragement. I know I’m not the only one by a long shot dealing with the current employment woes, so I know I’m not alone in my discouragement. We’re a sad brother/sisterhood, the unemployed. But we have to remember that discouragement is an emotion and like all emotions, you have ultimate control over them.

Easier said then done? It certainly feels that way at times. Damn, it can get exhausting fighting through discouragement. This is not where I saw myself at 35. I figured I’d be much further along my path. I look around me and see all my friends busy in successful careers, or at the very least, good jobs with room for advancement. And while I’m certainly happy for them and know they've worked their asses off to get so far, I can't help but feel sort of, well useless, when I'm still merely trying to worm my way into entry-level stuff. Many of my friends are married, getting married or at least in stable relationships. I have a account that I hardly ever use because, even though I’ve met some promising women, I know I can’t afford to take them anywhere nice.

I’ve made choices that seem dubious in hindsight. I’ve lived on two different coasts twice in the past decade. It’s hard to plant roots when you don’t stay still. I had big plans that didn’t work out for many reasons, some of which I could have controlled, many of which I couldn’t have. The details don’t really matter. The specifics are different for everyone, but the outcome is the same. You don’t have a job. And the longer you go without employment, the harder it gets to change that because that hole in your resume keeps growing. It gets very easy to take the constant rejections to heart. Having to take a dead end, ten dollar an hour job just to get by while everyone in your life moves on, can make you feel that much more worthless. It gets overwhelming at times, like having to get over some insurmountable mountain, or fighting a tiger with your bare hands.

So what do you do? The only thing you can do. You keep going. The bottom line to all of this, no matter how discouraged you get, it’s all in your hands. It’s on you to fix it. If you stop at discouragement you have to be willing to except that your failure is your fault, no one else’s, not the economy’s, not Wall Street’s, not any number of politicians’. There are enough resources out there that it’s a guarantee you haven’t tried them all. The day you decide to stop looking is the day you miss out. You could easily take that dead end job and save for classes to increase your odds. You just need to do something, anything, to change the energy around you. Keep it in your mind; it’s your problem to figure out and no one else’s. You can’t sit around waiting for people to drop employment in your lap. In the words of Slim Kid Tre: “There comes a time in every man’s life when he’s gotta handle shit up on his own. Can’t depend on friends to help you in a squeeze, please they got problems of their own”. This is not to say that my friends haven’t been immensely helpful; everyone in my life has been. But it's a matter of pride for me that I like to be the one doing the carrying and that's the way it should be. It’s YOUR lesson to learn. If you look at any number of successful people throughout history, one of the things so many of them have in common is they hit that point where all hope seemed to be exhausted. And they took another step. Sometimes success needs to test you to see if you’re really worthy of it. If this sounds strange coming from someone in my situation, it shouldn’t. It shouldn’t be any stranger coming from you. You have no idea where you’ll be this time next year. You have no idea where you’ll be tomorrow. It’s just a matter of time, maybe hours, before it turns around. But that will only happen if you’re still in the game.

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