Understand the "Hidden Benefits" of Unemployment m18.jpg

Job loss certainly drags families through intense emotional stress and discomfort. But believe it or not, it's also likely to provide hidden benefits.

  • Many PIT members feel more secure about their future after they lost their jobs and later enjoyed successful reemployment. As one professional put it: "The worst thing that could possibly happen to me - getting fired - did happen. And I lived through it.
  • Other PIT members find that unemployment provides them with an opportunity to rethink their priorities and reflect on what's most important to them.
  • Their focus inevitably shifts away from fast cars and fancy shoes, as they embrace fear about job loss." a simpler way of life.
You don't hear much about the benefits of job loss when a manufacturer "downsizes" or a phone company lays off 1,500 workers but, trite as it may sound, the payoffs are real. In fact, a PIT member recently told me unemployment was "the best thing that ever happened to him." When Jim lost his job, he and his wife withdrew their daughter from daycare to save money. Jim became her primary caretaker, and he was there to see her take her first steps. As Jim explained at a subsequent PIT meeting, "I spent ninety percent of my time on the road when I was working. If I'd been my usual high-powered self last week, I certainly wouldn't have seen my beautiful daughter learn how to walk. No one told me I'd actually find joy in unemployment, but there it is."

Your new sense of security and shift in priorities will likely linger long after you've accepted a new job.

  • When I was out of work, for instance, I was able to spend more time than ever before with my family. Each morning I would take my daughter to school, and some days I would surprise her by "popping in" for lunch with her favorite fast food meal.

  • Unemployment also created opportunities to help with homework, and just to share quality time. My wife Donna believed and stood by me throughout the eight months that it took to find permanent reemployment. Times were very tough, but our love and commitment grew stronger as our relationship deepened together. That was a great time of bonding for all of us.

  • Not long ago, I got a call at work from my son, John. He told me that he wished I could be with him, and I was deeply touched. Fortunately, I'd accrued some compensation time and was able to indulge my parental instincts; without hesitation, I dropped what I was doing and came home. John opened the door, saw me, and the look on his face proved to me that he was the most delighted little boy in the world. We shared a hug, played a board game, and then Annie, Johnny and I cooked dinner together.

  • When Donna got home, we all enjoyed a leisurely mealtime. As much as I enjoyed the family time prompted by John's spontaneous phone call, I know this never would have happened before I lost my job (even though, in my last position, I had the luxury of coming and going as I pleased).

  • Back then, I simply didn't understand the value of my wife and kids as well as I do now.

┬ęCopyright 2008 Professionals In Transition Support Group, Inc.

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