“Our wellbeing actually recovers more rapidly from the death of a spouse than it does from a sustained period of unemployment.” from Well Being by Tom Rath & Jim Harter
Do you find this surprising? The best way for me to begin to understand this “statistic” is to recognize that we have rituals as well as family and community support for the loss of a loved one. We even get time off of work to grieve! We do not have any rituals, spirituals practices or community ‘hug’ for the loss of a job, years of under-employment, loss of a business or anxiety about entering the workforce after spending years caring for family at home.
In A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson writes;
“In order to insure our progress toward the goal of enlightenment, the Holy Spirit has a highly individualized curriculum for everyone.”
So how did you, your spouse, your neighbor or millions of people in this country and around the world get signed up for this course in unemployment? What can be learned? How can we look on this as an opportunity for spiritual growth?
One idea is that unemployment provides the opportunity to separate ‘who I am” from ‘what I do’.
How do you feel when people meet you for the first time and ask you “What do you do”? In other cultures it is rude to ask someone you are just meeting for the first time “What do you do?”. It is an insult for you to think that who they are is less important what they do!
Many of us have rehearsed an elevator speech that quickly and concisely describes what we do and how it might benefit the person we are talking with. In my Strengths Based Living workshops I challenge the participants to greet people with who they are first!
“Hi, my name is Jennifer. I am a strategic thinker with original ideas, an intuitive perception of the big picture, a vision for the future and the ability to win others over to new ways of thinking.”
(Don’t worry, I have a shorter version as well!) After this introduction, I can tell them what I do if they are interested!
We may have lost our job or business, feel the daily pain of being under employed or even questioning your ability to become employed. We have not lost our strengths, our unique combination of talents and abilities that only we can bring to the table. The answer lies in our ability to shift from fear to love. From a belief in the uniqueness of our strengths and talents that causes us to love ourselves and be available to love others during this difficult “curriculum”. We are necessary to the function of sharing love in this world. We never, ever lose that ‘job’!