Unfortunately, there’s a huge stigma surrounding unemployment that just doesn’t need to be there, particularly given recent circumstances. The subsequent shame associated with temporarily relying on unemployment can make you feel judged. But the truth is, there’s no need to be embarrassed about needing a little help, especially under certain circumstances.
The fact of the matter is, if you avoid talking about unemployment, you’re really only adding to the stigma. You’re also making the situation a LOT worse for yourself. At the end of the day, the longer you go without discussing it, the more lousy you will feel and the easier it is for others to make assumptions about your job status.
In fact, times when you’re unemployed are undoubtedly stressful, and are actually moments when you need the most support from your social circle. If you never speak to anyone about your unemployment, then people won’t know how they can help you. Additionally, speaking about your situation may encourage others to talk about their own unemployment, which in turn will help them out too.
As if that isn’t enough reason to get chatting, trying to keep your unemployment a secret or covering it up is also a huge drain on your energy. It can make you feel even more depressed, and seriously hinder your ability to actually find employment again.
HOW TO TALK ABOUT YOUR UNEMPLOYMENT
GRIEVE THE JOB LOSS
There’s actually plenty of ways you can discuss job loss or being unemployed without making it seem like an entirely tragic incident. The first step, however, is to allow yourself the personal time to accept the situation and grieve the loss of your job.
Becoming unemployed is a pretty big blow, and it’s going to feel a bit awful for a little while. But (and this is important) it’s not the end of the world. You will move on and get over it, but you have to let yourself do that. Accepting the situation is a critical first step in moving forward and starting your career search again.
KNOW THAT YOU’RE NOT ALONE
Guess what? There’s a TON of people who have gone through exactly what you’re going through. Seriously. At the end of 2020, there were more than 20 million Americans receiving unemployment benefits.
Unemployment isn’t some uncommon and unprecedented situation that mars you and sets you apart. Quite the opposite; it’s actually pretty normal There’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a situation that has happened to many, and will continue to happen to many more. Don’t let it define you.
LEAN ON YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM
Tough times are when we need those who support us the most. Once you’re able to talk about your unemployment, you can really start to lean on those who care about you. Have conversations about the situation, and ask for advice and support. Chances are, once you’re honest about being unemployed, people will be more than willing to offer a helping hand.
GET STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
Honesty is key. If someone asks you about your employment status, just tell them. Don’t beat around the bush, you’ll only make the situation awkward and make it obvious that you don’t want to talk about it. Be upfront and honest that you’re unemployed right now. The more straightforward and less embarrassed you seem to talk about it, the more likely the other person will see that it really isn’t a big deal.
BE THERE FOR OTHERS
As you start talking about your own unemployment, there’s a high likelihood you’re going to end up in conversations with other people who are in the same boat. Supporting each other during this hard time is a great way to emphasize that you aren’t alone.
Chatting about your situation will help the other person, but it will help you feel better too. Not to mention, you might be able to show others that there shouldn’t be a stigma around talking about job loss. The more people out there who can discuss it without feeling ashamed, the better.
BE STRAIGHTFORWARD WITH EMPLOYERS
When it comes time to hop back on the bandwagon and seek a new job, a lot of people are (understandably) nervous to say that they’ve been unemployed. However, telling employers during interviews about your situation honestly is a FAR better option than lying.
In the majority of circumstances, an employer is likely to be more understanding than you would think about your reasons for being unemployed. Particularly currently. On top of that, they’ll certainly appreciate your honesty.
The truth of the matter is, being unemployed is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s relatively common. Everyone goes through periods of stress and worry during their careers, and losing a job is definitely something you’ll move on from. Talking about your unemployment might feel scary, but it’s actually one of the best ways you can manage the situation. Keeping it bottled up inside will only make you more anxious and hinder your healing.