Thursday, April 23, 2015

Finding the Silver Lining in Unemployment

I mentioned Tuesday that I'd be sharing a couple posts about how we survived our second major unemployment period and what we've learned from the experiences.

Yesterday I talked about some things we did that helped us financially, but today I wanted to talk more about coping with unemployment. It can be difficult mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. I will admit that the first time we went through the roller coaster of unemployment, I did not cope very well. I was very stressed out and really had a hard time.

This time I was a lot less stressed out. I can't say for sure that I was praying more since I'm sure I was praying a lot last time too, but for whatever reason, this time I just felt like it would all work out and therefore I didn't need to get all worked up about it. The part that stressed me out the most was adding to our debt instead of paying it off like we'd planned- that was very frustrating.

I've learned over the years that finding the silver lining in a difficult experience makes it easier to handle. It doesn't necessarily make the experience enjoyable, but at least I can see a reason for it or something good that's coming out of it.

For example, with our first unemployment stint, we were living close to a lot of family and were able to spend more time with them before we moved halfway across the country from them. This was a great opportunity for Sunshine to spend time with her grandparents, some of her aunts and uncles, and some of her cousins. Growing up, we never spent much time around relatives because we usually lived far away from them. When we realized that Mr M's likely job opportunities were far from our families, we took advantage of the extra time with them.

This time around, I was able to leave the kiddos with Mr  and go running outside by myself. This gave the kiddos more time with their daddy and gave me time to run somewhere other than the treadmill. Having Mr M at home during the day was great for all of us since we got to see a lot more of him than if he was at work all day. This family togetherness was even more valuable since it was followed by Mr M being gone a lot with his current position. Since he wasn't driving the truck to work everyday, we were also saving a lot of gas money. 

As we searched for job openings, we found a potential job/location that we were previously unaware of (there's not a lot of options for his line of work). In looking into it, it appears to offer much more long-term job security and stability than what Mr M has been doing for the last five years. It's only because we were (and are) open to jobs pretty much anywhere that we even found out about this particular job opportunity since it's a rather random location. If we hadn't been looking for jobs, we never would have found it. This particular job has the added attraction of being in a location that has lower real estate prices than our current location, so we could actually afford to buy land and have a mini-farm. And now we have alerts programmed to let us know when job opportunities there become available.

While I've had lots of practice looking for silver linings (health issues, fertility issues, deployments, unemployment stints, etc), I still have to work at it. It's a conscious decision to focus on whatever positive aspect I can find rather than on the much more obvious negative aspects.

And that's not to say that focusing on the positive makes everything all better, because it doesn't. Life is still full of trials and troubles and we can't just sail past them.  I've seen that in my life- trials do not bring out the best in me. I wish they did, but they don't. Instead, I just tend to get stressed, cranky, irritable, and/or grumpy. I can maintain an overall-positive attitude in a situation, but the smaller issues still work their way under my skin.

So I'm a work in progress. How about you?

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