Surviving Unemployment: Are You Holding onto Something You Should Let Go Of?

There are some things that get better with time; a fine wine; a broken bone; or a loving relationship.  Then there are the things that don’t; leftovers; overnight guests; and anger.  In fact, the latter gets rank the longer they hang on.  We like hanging on to things regardless of whether they get better or worse over time.  We don’t like change, or to let go of things.

The things we hold on to drag us down.  They prevent us from moving on.  It isn’t just things but also our thoughts.   In movies about settling the west, the pioneers move across the prairie in over-loaded covered wagons to settle in new lands.  They brought with them all their possessions of their past life.  But then the wagon axle breaks, and in order to go to their new life they have to let go of some of their belongs.  Things they were hoping to bring them comfort and pleasure later on have to be released.

When the decision was stay stuck in the middle of nowhere or get rid of stuff, they quickly chose to part with what was going to keep them from moving on.  Although I’m sure it was reluctantly and maybe even some tears, they did it.  They had to.  They had a life waiting to start.

Well you’re not traveling in a covered wagon across the prairie.  But you are a trying to blaze a trail for yourself.  However, it seems like everyone has some input in your path.  Your spouse, children, parents, friends, and managers impact your course.  A manager determined that you would be employed by a company.   Then at some point someone  decided that your position should be eliminated thrusting you into unemployment.  This action hurt and angered you.  You felt betrayed.  Your self-esteem suffered.  Although it has been a while now, you are still holding on to the resentment and hostility against your manager.

These negative feelings can weigh you down and prevent you from moving on which shows up in your appearance and demeanor.  You make excuses for not looking for a job.  Or when you hear of one you have many reasons for not going after it.  It’s too far, too close; you are not qualified, over qualified;  or other such reasons.  Or you do pursue it, and you don’t get the job.   This just drags you down further.  And the cycle continues.  There is an air about you that doesn’t show enthusiasm and energy.  There is a flatness about you that shows up and is holding you back.

Forgiving the person responsible for your lay off is required to break the anger, resentment and discontent you feel.  After you let go these feelings, you will feel better about yourself and your demeanor will improve as your attitude improves.  It isn’t an easy task, but it is well worth the time and effort you put into it.  When you start showing enthusiasm and energy, your job search will benefit from your improved outlook.   For one thing, you will be more responsive to new opportunities.

There may be a comfort in holding on to what is familiar, but comfort can’t be found in waiting for your life to begin.  Like the pioneers of old who tossed their excess baggage, tossing out your unnecessary feelings will take you to the life that’s waiting for you.


Arleen Bradley is a certified career coach and certified job loss recovery coach.  She assists clients in moving beyond job loss grief in order to land dream jobs.  To learn more about the Job Loss Recovery Program and how you can benefit from it, log on to


Photo credit:  m_bartosch

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