An Education in Unemployment

Despite earning a great academic record in grad school, she struggles to find a job and her optimism. 

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Most of us look forward to Wednesday, a.k.a. “hump day,” to those who are presently employed. I look forward to Wednesday simply because it is half way through a very long and lonely week of my unemployment existence. I look forward to counting down Wednesday’s hours and blending Thursday and Friday’s hours together, until I am met with Saturday. Saturday is a joyous day. Saturday is the day when my family is home, and I am no longer alone with my thoughts. I can remember years ago when I couldn’t wait for my children to go off to school so that I could be alone with my own thoughts! How times have changed and only now do I recognize how much I miss the simplicity of years gone by. As I sit here and reminisce about the simplicity of those old days, words from that time period suddenly pop into my head (great timing, I’m trying to get out of my head!): “It doesn't matter, it's in the past” (Rafiki, Lion King, 1994). I keep telling myself just that — the past is the past, and I need to move beyond, to begin anew.

I keep telling myself that the path that leads to “finding me” is just around the educational bend. I firmly believed that education was the key to leaving the past in the past. Education would become the metaphoric flower stem from which I would blossom. Flash forward. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. Three seasons have passed. I have left the past in the past and forged forward on the educational path to reinvention. For two and a half years I walked on the hot coals of my educational development. In the end, I found myself running through the flames of graduate-college hell, landing on the graduation podium toting a shinning 4.0 and a newly awarded master’s degree in education. Amid the tears, hard work, and struggle, I survived. I became more educated and now hold the certificate to lead others to become educated (English Teacher). I am now reinvented. I left the past, grew toward the future, blossoming in the present.

So, you say what is the problem? The problem is the economy tanked, huge education cuts were made, teachers were laid off, and I can’t find a teaching job. Due to the economy and educational cut backs, and lack of employment, I am left feeling disheartened and like a failure. I keep reading how others have weathered the economic storm in an attempt to learn from them. Thus far, I do not have anything tangible to grasp. I am treading water. I don’t know what direction to go in. I need to find a way out of this puzzle I call my life. I want to be that blossom in life. But how do I achieve this? There must be a missing puzzle piece that I cannot seem to find.

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