Shortly after my job ended last fall, the work group got together for lunch one weekend. Everyone else in the group had found new jobs and so they were excited to talk about their new workplaces. I felt like a loser because I didn’t have anything lined up so I didn’t have much to add to the conversations. Walking home, I reminded myself that there would be some great opportunity for me too at some future date. of  later I began computer classes to learn how to design online seminars. I also did some writing and refinishing of furniture as posted previously. Learning new skills and getting some contract work have helped my self-esteem. In fact, I like running into my peers because I can talk about these new things.

But now, seven months later, the ugly head of loserdom is rearing its head again. There’s been some activity of interviews lately. I’ve been able to talk about my new skills and share my strengths. But nothing has cracked open yet. I fight off the loser thought by challenging myself to think creatively. How else can I get appreciation for my talents? What would it be like if I went into an interview and gave preposterous answers to the questions? What are three new activities I can try in my job search?

I also think about a comment a dear friend of mine who recently passed away made once when we were talking about our job searches. She thought employers would be competing to hire me because of my experience. She told me how she admired my adaptability and flexibility when challenges came up, and how something always seemed to work out for me. I smile when I think of that conversation.

I’ve been calling this period a sabbatical rather than a layoff. For I have been taking the time to think about what’s next. I realized that I needed a skills update and have been gaining knowledge in MS Office and curriculum design tools. I’ve designed some workshops that address some of the deeper issues of unemployment. I’ve made time for creative expression that can also be an income producer. And now I’m starting to internally challenge the job search advice I and my fellow career counselors espouse on a daily basis. We’re in a great economic upheaval, I’m following the advice I give to people; yet there’s something begging to be uncovered. Maybe this loser thought in my head is really a muse speaking truths I haven’t recognized yet.