It Sucks to Be You

10 Ways to Dull the Searing Pain of Losing Your Job

Dear Man or Lady Who Recently Lost Their Job,

Welcome to the ranks of the unemployed. I’m not one of you, but I know how you feel. I’ve been there before. It sucks to be you. I’d trade places, but that would be crazy because I have a job and you don’t.

America’s unemployment rate has hit a five-year high. As the fallout continues from this recession, real people are suffering. It’s not fair. These people work really hard at their jobs, only to show up one day and find that they don’t have a job anymore. People like Christian Slater and Alfre Woodard. Good people who deserve much better.

But that’s enough of my whining.

Today I’m writing to provide comfort in your time of need. As you read, please imagine me comforting you with a warm woolen blanket and a mug of chamomile tea. If it helps the imagining process, you may also picture me as Mr. Andy Griffith. I smell of pipe tobacco and molasses. Soft rock classics are playing on the stereo. What I’m wearing is not important.

Okay, it’s corduroy pants and a fisherman sweater.

Right now you’re angry. Or hurt. Or confused. And that’s all perfectly natural. Losing your job is one of the most stressful and painful things that we can experience in our lifetime. But as bad as it is, keep in mind that it could be worse. You could be a deer. One of the most stressful and painful things that a deer can experience is getting hit by a car and bleeding to death. The other stressful and painful things are: getting shot and watching your babies be eaten alive by bears.

See what I mean about how things could be worse?

As I mentioned before, I’ve been unemployed. I’ve been jobless for the holidays. But you know what? I survived. There’s no doubt it was hard. And heck, if you have kids, it’s even harder. But you just suck it up and you get through it. You move on. You just stage a fake Christmas morning robbery, wait for your kids to cry it out and you just move on.

But that’s enough of my yammering.

I promised you some comfort, right? Here’s a comforting list that you can keep on your bedside table. Use it as needed for inspiration and/or strength. And of course, please take this valuable advice as my free gift. Because I know that you don’t have a job and you don’t have any money. Unless it really, really helps you and you feel compelled to pay me. In which case, we can always work out some sort of installment plan.

Valuable Advice for the Recently Jobless

1. Don’t Panic – It was only a job. You’ll be working again in no time. Or not.

2. Keep a Positive Mental Attitude – Smile and the world smiles with you. Crying should really be saved for the shower.

3. Believe That Everything Happens for a Reason – Maybe you lost your job because you’re just a bad person. Or it could be because of that thing you did in college.

4. Use Your Free Time to Tackle Old Projects – You always wanted to learn Spanish. Why not listen to language CDs while you donate plasma? One hour, twice a week and you’ll be habla mucho espanol in no time!

5. Relax, Relax, Relax – Don’t lose sight of the fact that through these tough times, you don’t have to work! That means you don’t have to wake up early, dress nice or be polite. It’s like the whole day is your lunch hour. Right? But instead of lunch hour… lunch day!

6. Grow More Hair – How cool is it that when you’re unemployed you can grow whatever kind of hair you want? The men can grow mustaches, beards and maybe even experiment with cornrows. I’m not sure what the ladies like to do, but as a non-jobber, you gals are completely free to let your legs go Wookie.

7. Polish Your Resume – In a crowded job market, your resume needs to stand out more than ever. You’re going to need lots of extra pizzazz, so don’t be afraid to use animal fonts. Nothing says, “I’m a tiger” more than “I’m a tiger” written with actual tiny tigers!

8. Reconnect With Old Friends – If there’s a god in heaven, your old downstairs neighbor is still selling drugs and he remembers that he owes you $30.

9. Shave Your Pets – I have to believe that someone somewhere is willing to pay good money for fresh dog hair.

10. Get Back in the Job Market – Once you get knocked down, it’s important that you get right back up. Finding a new job is almost exactly like a prize fight. Except instead of trying to punch the other person in the face, you are trying to get them to give you a job. It is important that you do not get confused on this.

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Pete Humes

Pete Humes is a husband, father and writer who lives in Richmond’s North Side. He enjoys coffee and owns way too many records.

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