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Keep hope alive when you have lost your job

Keep energised and busy while waiting for work.

Glenford Smith
Career Writer

Just when it seemed that things were really bad, it gets worse, with every indication that the worst is yet to come.

For months, we had become comfortable with the bad news that 30,000 persons had lost their jobs in the private sector due to the global recession. On November 6, however, Prime Minister Bruce Golding updated that figure to 40,000.

And only three days later, addressing a Generation 2000 (G2K) gathering, the PM announced the setting up of a special rationalization unit, with a mandate to trim the public sector workforce by roughly 15,000 jobs.

This trend is a recipe for widespread hopelessness and frustration, if ever there was one. The stress can become intolerable for many. Some may end up not just losing their jobs, but also their minds.

If you are a member of the burgeoning ‘unemployment sector,’ you’ve got to keep hope alive. Many years ago, I learned this valuable lesson when I graduated from college. Despite a very good academic record, I struggled – and suffered – while trying everything to land the job I desired. It was the toughest time of my life, ever. My state of mind cycled between hopelessness and fear on the one hand, and short lived feelings of optimism on the other.

I however learned resilience and resourcefulness – how to be mentally tough and to use whatever I had at hand, rather than worrying about what I didn’t have. I learned humility – how to suspend my pride and ask others for help, and to do whatever I could to survive, rather than feeling ‘too good’ to do menial jobs. I learned self-reliance – that often it’s when you need friends the most that they are not there to help, so I need to depend primarily on myself. And I learned, most importantly, what Dr. Robert Schuller has taught in his powerful book by the same title, that “Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do.”

If you’re unemployed and you’re frustrated with trying to find a job; sending out resumes, making phone calls, or pounding the pavement, don’t surrender to despair. No matter what. Keep on calling. Ask for help; to find a job, or to just survive. Volunteer to help others in your community; don’t just sit down. Use the time to develop yourself: read, study, and learn from other people.

Does hope seem like a pie-in-the-sky concept far removed from the harsh realities of life you are facing? It’s not. Nelson Mandela led South Africa beyond the scourge of apartheid through hope. In the darkest hours of his 27-year imprisonment, he kept hope alive, and it kept him – and his dreams – alive.

He said of hope through music: “African music uplifts even as it tells a sad tale. You may be poor, you may have only a ramshackle house, you may have lost your job, but that song gives you hope.”

It’s a hope you must keep alive, no matter what else you may lose in life.

*Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and personal achievement strategist.
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