Letting Go

I hesitate to even write about my unemployment situation again because above everything else, I like to keep things light here. It’s a blog, not a diary.

But it’s also impossible to ignore the stress, the panic attacks and the uncertainty that I deal with every day and that some of you might relate to. Plus, people have asked, so funny next time but an update today.


Imagine being stuck at the bottom of a deep, dark hole with no idea how you’re going to make your way out. There are times you can see the sun up above and feel the rays on your face, but yet you are still down in that hole, surrounded by nothing but darkness on every side.

Friends and family walk by and offer heartfelt advice and encouragement, sometimes throwing a rope down to try and pull you back up. Grateful, you eagerly grab a hold of both the literal and figurative lifeline, only to find that it’s not strong enough and eventually you crash back down.

You try and remember that the next rope that gets thrown your way could be the one that saves you, but not knowing when that might be—or if it will ever show up, for that matter—makes looking up pretty hard.

It’s exhausting.

It’s disheartening.

It’s unemployment.

The thing is, I’m someone who functions best when I’m productive and creative. When I get on a roll—whether it’s just tweets, a blog post or something professionally—I feel great. I feel useful. I feel productive.

One of the biggest frustrations with unemployment—aside from not making money, of course—is that I don’t have anywhere to really focus all of that creative energy. Granted, hours of my day are often spent sending out emails, researching job boards and trying to find something new, but I’m a big fan of instant gratification. Work hard—see results.

Well, it’s been two months and yeah…not so much.

Every time I open my email or see a new posting, my heart lifts before dropping down. There have been several occasions when I was certain that I would be a perfect fit for the job, only to be greeted with a rejection, or even worse, nothing at all. 

This uncertainty is new for me.

I don’t like it.

Even though I know things could be so much worse, I’ll be honest and say there have been some pretty dark days. And as much as I appreciate the support, I find myself uncharacteristically envious of people with jobs or spouses to financially help them out, and I hate that. I find myself wondering if I’m doing something—or everything—wrong, and why just one thing can’t go my way, and I feel selfish.

I feel like I’m fighting a battle on every side. Much like a Saturday afternoon in Walmart, it’s not very attractive. It’s also not very much fun, and a pretty big creativity buzzkill.

And so this is where I add in the “hopeful” part and say there are two ways that all this can go—I can cling to how I want things to be or I can adjust to how things are now. When we cling to things—whatever those things are— we struggle. When we grasp at what we want or think we want, we suffocate it. When we identify with a list of “should,” we always fall short in the end.

So, I’m trying to let go—to some of the doubt, expectations, guilt, attachment to results and the idea that my next path needs to be a straight line.

Some days it’s really hard, but I know the next rope that gets thrown my way could be the one that saves me. Or it could conk me in the head because I was distracted by something shiny down in that hole. But for the most part, I’m more than ready to grab on.

And it starts with letting go.

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47 responses to “Letting Go

  1. We went through a long term unemployment when my husband was let go; so I know exactly what you are going through and feeling. Sending hugs.

  2. Omg, you just described exactly what I am going through. Some days I want to scresm, and I do. Stay away from Walmart on those days. 27 years I worked and I am now on month four. and I am going through it at the same time as my sister. Two educated hard working fi r ls, unemployed. let’s share some daily tips as to how to get through the day. Love your posts! Even the serious ones!

  3. Letting go is the hardest. I so appreciate your post. Although I am employed with a long sad, horrific story behind how I became a single mother of two awesome children; the enevitable of every month is what will be turned off. Or will it be eviction? My daughter is desperately trying to go to university of Arizona for writing and film. That has been her dream since 7 years old. I too, look around and see so many supported emotionally and financially by loved ones. The darkness. ..the way it should have been….is the worst. the fear….at times tries to swallow me. You help.

    • Well, knowing that I helped you makes the insecurity of writing about things like this worth it. Hang in there, as cliche as it is, and thank you so much for reading.

  4. I really empathize with what you are saying here. Exactly one year ago, I was beginning a similar situation which went 3 months before resolution and a job. I HATED dropping emails into an empty well along with my wishes and never even so much as hearing a splash. I really, really hope and wish for your that you land on your feet soon.

  5. Ugh. I so understand this. It is difficult to tread water waiting for that opportunity. I hope you find a great job that fits. Always focus on the light. Good luck to you!

  6. Oh sweetie…the first time I was ever let go from a job I thought it would kill me. I WAS that job…that role…that function. Well, here I am, still chugging along, and I’m honestly happier and a better person for having gone through that time…that soul- searching, that (owwww) CHANGE. You are not the sum of those tasks you do to make a living. Big hugs, sweet girl…embrace the Zen side of you that is telling you to focus on the now, not the “when in the hell is this gonna get FIXED?” side that’s trying to make you nuts.

  7. My husband was without work for 11 months and 1 day. It was hard for me to know what to say or do. He took it on by himself, and told no one. Only those who he thought may have leads. I know this was isolating for him, but at the same time, I understand how he viewed it as failure and reflective of him. I cant change him, but I think how much easier this time would have been, had he turned to others. I’m glad you’re turning to us to pass the time until you are working again.

    • Thanks. I do want to keep a lot of it to myself because I feel that I sound whiny, but just as I’ve thought with my depression posts, it turns out so many people can relate. It helps me to know that it might help someone, and also, you never know who is reading and might be able to lend you a hand. It’s not a weakness, which is what I realize now.

  8. I have been in your shoes & it sucks. I learned to let go of what I “thought” was the next logical step for me in my career. I had loads of time to really sit & think about what I was really good at & what brought me joy. It turned out that what I really wanted seemed beneath my degree. It taught me
    that what I thought was beneath me was
    really what I was searching for in the first place.

    • Thanks so much as I can relate to this a lot. I’ve never been about “things” or a title at all. Just being happy and comfortable, so I’m hoping that can happen again sooner rather than later.

  9. This is so good, it’s hard to find the words. I think you’ve helped a lot of people today, and, perhaps, helped yourself with some cathartic relief and a new way of being. That relief would be acceptance.

  10. Abby,
    Keep looking for that rope…it will be thrown to you and then hold on! Being positive is really tough sometimes, but please don’t give up. So many if us love you and are here for you. There is a job out there for you…just be patient and take care of yourself so you will be ready and able to tackle it when it arrives. In the meantime, go outside (I know it’s cold..just wear a hat) and enjoy the beauty around you.
    Love and hugs…

  11. Abby, I can relate to every sentence! Do not loose faith and be proud of your fantastic blog!

  12. I relate to and recognize all of this oh so very well. It’s usually around the one month mark where I get the “quit giving me advice and just give me a f@$#ing job” attitude. I’m also tired of the “uplifting” comments … “The next job will make you glad they let you go”, “Something perfect will pop up any day now”, “Hang in there, you’ll make it” …. all from people who have jobs and know how they’re buying groceries this afternoon. I’m STILL sort of in that position and thank God for the Veterans Administration and the generosity of friends or I would be starving. Faith is all we have sometimes, but you’re not alone when that faith starts to run dry. It’s just frustration and we all go through it. Your faithful readers will always be here as a sounding board when you need it. We believe in you!!

  13. I know that feeling. Unemployment was short for me, but I was very,very lucky. I still felt the way you described here, and it did take a lot to let go of control. Don’t let the darkness get you, as hard as it is. Easier said than done. We’re here for you, and rooting for you.

  14. I know this feeling very well. Not quite the same situation, but the emotions are the same. I’m a musician. Employment for us is often described as swinging between trapezes: you let go of one and hope you grab that other. When I was getting divorced, I realized that my husband had made enough money to support my employment uncertainty. If I missed the next trapeze swing, it was ok: there was a net. But during and after my divorce: no more net. What was I going to do? How could I support my child? That fear led me to stay waaaaaay too long in the failed marriage. But eventually I did just start reaching for trapeze swings and take those risks. I got lucky. But 6 months of fear doesn’t do great things for your mental health. It’s so scary, I know. Just keep taking your own advice and know that it does get better.

  15. Maybe picking up some small jobs from a place like O-desk will help you feel like you are getting some “wins” and positive feedback along the way to your next full time gig.

    • I’m doing small freelance things and have realized that maybe a “traditional” job isn’t in the cards, and that’s not a bad thing. I’ve never been an office person and while I can adapt, maybe that’s not what I’m supposed to be doing. Day to day!

  16. I know you don’t need any more advice but I am here in support. You have a gift of expression and I hope someone sees that and gives you a job that you will love.

  17. Abby, I love reading your posts and really feel for the situation you are in. I went through the ups and downs of a job hunt last year (while parenting two kids AND trying to keep my sanity). Here’s the conclusion I came to from my own experience – hope it helps. Hang in there! https://onthehighwire.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/am-i-bovvered/

  18. Wish I had something more tangible to offer, but I’m sending you warm wishes and strong belief that you’ll be gainfully and happily employed again soon!

  19. thank you abby for being you! x huggles! x

  20. I’m 56 and have been unemployed for 9 months. I start working at a new job on Tuesday. After spending the last nine months (well, not the summer; one does have standards, after all) on LinkedIn, Monster, etc., applying to jobs, talking to recruiters and going on interviews, an old colleague called me out of the blue with an opportunity at her company doing what I’d done for her 15 years ago. I am so lucky. So this is just to say, you have to keep trying but you have to let go because the solution may come from where you least expect it. Good luck, chin up and our prayers are with you!

  21. I have been following you for so long and I just love you. I love your funny posts but I love your serious ones more. Maybe because I can relate to them so well. You are in my thoughts often and I hope you find the job that is right for you really soon.

  22. Hang in there. I lost my job in 2009 and was unemployed for 4 months. It was a very low point in my life and we were literally hungry most of the time. I hope things get better soon.

  23. I have been there and there is nothing easy or useful to say apart from I wish you were not going through this and with your ability, something will change for you but in the ,meantime my thoughts are with you

  24. Maybe the good or the best of whatever can happen from this period in your life is your creativity and what it can produce. I’ve always wondered why someone like you isn’t on bookshelves or in major print.

    Just know you have a friend wishing you the best.

    And spring training starts soon.

  25. I’m currently unemployed as well. I was let go in mid September along with a lot of other people at my work. I’ve now gotten into the bad habit of staying up late, sleeping in, and not really being very productive at all. I am trying to change this and of course still check job listings everyday but there hasn’t been a lot I can apply for lately. I’m currently living in a small town (and have been for 3 years). Not having lived here for a long time and not being one who makes friends easily has definitely been a disadvantage for me in finding a job.

    Love your posts and hope you find something soon! 🙂

  26. I’ve been there before. It’s extremely frustrating, especially when I applied to five different jobs a day for a solid month and heard nothing. Not a peep. Hopefully something will turn up for you soon!

  27. I just want to say that you are my latest Blogging Crush! I love your blog, I love your humor and I love that you are real. I, too, have made myself sick about employment before and went through all of the stages that comes with it. I finally took a ginormous leap of faith and turned my hobby DS business into a full-time job. Now, I’m just trying to learn how to blog, which is making me go through all of the depression steps again! I feel like every post is its own resume. lol

  28. I can truly appreciate everything you said here. Thanks for putting your thoughts into words and sharing them with the world.

  29. I too know how you feel and I’m a recruiter and career coach! Know one is mine and it really stinks. The system is not set up to help you find a career just to get you a job. Don’t let the design of unemployment force you into an imperfect job. Stay true to you and your talents. The job will come when it comes. And I know that can really stink! Hang in there!

  30. I know exactly how you feel. While reading your update I told my hubby “She could be writing about my life”.
    I’ve been unemployed since right before Thanksgiving 2011. During my time of unemployment there was a 13 month stretch where my hubby was unemployed too. It’s not fun. It’s not pretty. And it nearly cost us our marriage due to stress, dark days and moments of giving up. It’s a hard battle having been a productive member of society, having been able to meet your obligations and still have a little left over to have some fun, and then find yourself without that outlet, that direction, and that paycheck. There are times I look at myself in the mirror and ask, where did that driven, successful woman go? She vacated the building a few years ago, to be honest, but I’m striving to bring her back.
    I won’t give you advice. I won’t even to tell you to keep you chin up, because I know there are just some days that it’s just to damn difficult to do that much. What I will tell you is you aren’t alone and I hope things turn around for you sooner rather than later
    I love your blog. It’s really the only one I’m following that I actually read. You make me laugh, think, and yeah, you even hit a few notes of what my day is like too. So sisters we may not be, but we are in the same boat. Grab an oar it time to start rowing again.

  31. It might sound trite, but I truly mean it when I say that you have so much talent, that I know you will land on your feet. And you’ll be running. And skipping and jumping. Sometimes it just takes a damn while. You have something the universe needs, and I think the universe will get off its ass and realize it. Hang in there.

  32. Not for nothing, I’d hire you. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’re one of the few people who’s cleanliness standards would be up to my own. 🙂

    Keep grabbing those ropes; one of them is bound to be the life line.

  33. I love reading your facebook posts and your blog. My hubby & I have been through this, it’s hard. tomorrow I start a new job after being unceremoniously let go from my previous job. Keep looking up, keep writing, keep the faith. You have lots of people pulling for you.

  34. Hi Abby,don’t give up. I love your blog. You have something special that a lot of would kill for. I’m firm believer in manifestation. When my husband lost his job he was devastated, looking for jobs was a fruitless hassle. Everything in life happens for a reason, when one door closes the other opens. The world is full of opportunities. Stay positive and focus on your goal and all the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place. 😉

  35. Hang in there, Abby. Positive juju and prayers your way.

  36. Though I’m too young to experience unemployment, I can completely relate to your preference for instant gratification. My job right now is to go to school, and as grateful as I am, I sometimes forget why I even go, all the stress and work that I have to put in just builds up. Then I lack the motivation and I just feel like giving up because I don’t get that instant satisfaction from all my hard work and dedication. But then I try to stay positive and just keep truckin’ on because I know that some day I’ll look back and thank my past self for working hard even though I didn’t want to, so future self can be happy. So I hope you too can keep on truckin too.
    Best of luck,

  37. Yes, I know how you feel… But at least it gives you more time to write and create. Think of yourself as a writer! And best of luck…

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