Who am I that I am unemployed?

Don't let your job title define you.

Don’t let your job title define you.

Eight years ago I lost my job.  It wasn’t just any job; I was working for my church.  The church my family had been involved in for 100 years.  I lost not only my job; I also lost where I went to church; the support system of people I had shared my faith with; the place where I socialized and many friends.  For various reasons, the members went to different parishes.  It was a lot to lose for one person. I lost the place, activities and people I would go to in times of trouble.  But it was gone.  Not only did I have to look for a new job but I had to find a new parish and start assembling faith sharing group.

Who am I?

However, I had lost my identity.  I had been a Director of Religious Education (DRE).  I had a title that described what I did, what I believed and where I did it.  If I was no longer the DRE, then, who was I?  My skills didn’t seem to translate into the secular world.

What do I do?

The chances of repeating my role as a DRE my state didn’t looking promising as 80 parishes were closed at that time.  I had tightly woven my identity, my job and my church.  I had poured my heart and soul into the job and parish; it had become whom I was.  After it had been closed, I didn’t know whom I was, where I belonged or what I wanted to do.  People asked me what I kind of job I wanted but I didn’t know.   I looked for something in a haystack but didn’t know what.

What I do.

After taking different jobs doing various tasks, I realized whom I was. I was a people person.  I love helping people.  Now when I think about whom I am, I no longer think of myself as a particular title.  I am happiest when I can help people get what they want; whether it’s a job, a skill, a connection or a listening ear.  That is what I do best.  Anything I can that uses this skill is my job.

Who I am.

I am someone who can help you.  I am proud of my ability to help people in their needs.  Sometimes I am a career coach, other times I am a wife and mother or daughter who will take her mother where she needs to go.  I am not just one thing.  I love being resourceful and efficient.  Ifneed be, I will learn all I can to better help people out.

I attend a parish regularly and have made friends there, but not tied to that parish.  I attend Mass at different churches.  I have a support system that isn’t faith-based.  I have made my job one of helping people find jobs.  But I am open to other possibilities as they are made known and not tying myself down to one identity.  When the inevitable change comes, I will be able to adapt to meet the new challenges.

How are you defining yourself?


6 Comments to "Who am I that I am unemployed?"

  1. Dan Schleitwiler's Gravatar Dan Schleitwiler
    July 28, 2013 - 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Hi Arleen,

    Thanks for your insightful article. I have been so tied up with work over the past years that I have forgotten who I am. I’ve been unemployed now for 8 months. After 20 years in the fields of Sales & Marketing it appears now that I don’t “fit the mold”. I’m still trying to find myself …

    • Stan Brown's Gravatar Stan Brown
      August 17, 2013 - 7:30 pm | Permalink

      It is a terrible sign of the times that after years of loyal service, that a kind, caring, bright and capable should be tossed out to care for themselves in what may seem a very cruel world.

      Fortunately, people do recover and sometimes go through the struggle to come out stronger. But sometimes they don’t. As a job search and career coach myself, my sense is that in 2008, the job environment got terrible and while better today, it hasn’t fully recovered.

      Faith and courage help. But it is also a determination to work hard at finding that new, best position can make a big difference.

      The grace of God can also help.

  2. Carolyn H.'s Gravatar Carolyn H.
    July 28, 2013 - 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I canb relate to a lot of what you shared. I was a pastor of a church that closed. I eventually left the denomination. I have found a place to worship and I’m beginning to develop a faith a community. I’m still trying to discern what God wants for me next. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s a real help.

Comments are closed.