Author: Corey Worrell
LOSING YOUR JOB IS HARD – still hard for me.
It’s midnight and I sit to write this post as a means of encouragement to all those who were retrenched, made redundant or fired – whether in the public, private or NGO sector.
Losing your job can be a traumatic and difficult experience for many and what makes it even harder is if it was sudden.
I was a satisfied civil servant who was in a teaching job I loved, in a vacant position, not subbing or filling in for anyone and was given the assurance my post was safe and I was returning for the next school year, having just completed a full school year. On August 6th, 2013, during the summer vacation, I received a phone call stating I no longer had a job. (No, I never received a letter). The news was shocking and came at a blow especially since on August 1st, just 5 days earlier, we had upgraded from an apartment, to a beautiful home in Mullins [Barbados] very close to the beach.
Within three months, we moved to another house, then had to move from that location because we couldn’t afford the rent and settled the following August in an apartment.
From a 3 bedroom house to a one bedroom apartment – 2 adults and 3 children – 5 of us in one room. Over that period we had to sell our vehicle as it was too costly to maintain and within 1 year of buying a much cheaper second-hand vehicle, had to sell it as well as it had too many issues.
October 18th  that just went, would be 3 years we were without a vehicle.
Before I lost my job, my wife and I could travel at will, visit any restaurant we wanted and didn’t have many restrictions when leisure or grocery shopping. Crab, octopus and salmon were regulars in our [shopping] cart. We also helped lots of people financially and were heavy and consistent givers.
ALL OF THIS CHANGED over the last 5 years.
Because I have personally experienced what being unemployed or underemployed for an extended period is like, I want to share with you some tips to help you through your journey.
TIP #1 – CHOOSE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE
Being bitter or angry will put you in an emotional dark hole that won’t be easy to get out of. Be hopeful, have faith things will improve again and look for the positives in the situation.
TIP #2 – ACCEPT THAT THINGS WILL NOT BE THE SAME
Due to no income or reduced income depending on your situation, you will have to rely on savings, unemployment benefits (both of which have a limit) or on a partner or someone else in your household earning – or support from extended family or friends.
You will not be able to live as you usually would and though this will be uncomfortable, you can adapt and adjust. It is possible.
Tip #3 – EXPLAIN THE SITUATION TO YOUR HOUSEHOLD
This is critical, especially where children are concerned (especially teenagers). They will be required to change their expectations and behavior – this can be very difficult for them to achieve and a frustrating process for them and you.
Tip #4 – HAVE A PLAN
If you fail to plan, you will be stressed out. Plan what jobs you will seek – how much of your savings you will use – what you will have to cut – what will have to change – etc….. Oh, and the plan should be adjusted as things improve.
Tip #5 – DO NOT PAY BILLS WITH SAVINGS
Well, don’t pay them for an extended time. Paying rent or a mortgage alone over an extended time, lets say 6 months, will eat up your savings in no time, making your situation worse. Imagine adding food, gas and utilities to that.
Tip #6 – DON’T WATCH FACE OR FEAR MAN
Many people suffer due to fear of what people may say. Your situation may require you to sell you car and buy a cheaper one. It may require you to move to a place with more affordable rent or even moving in with relatives and renting out your home. It may require you to take your children out of private school.
People will talk – let them – it is your life to live. The Bible says,”…the fear of man is a snare.”
TIP #7 – TRY NEW THINGS
Don’t be afraid to apply for jobs – if you aren’t successful – try again. Also, don’t be afraid to try new things. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
Tip #8 – ENTREPRENEURSHIP ISN’T FOR EVERYONE
The word of this season is entrepreneurship but here is a reality – it isn’t for everyone. You can try it if you desire, but if it doesn’t work out, just move on.
Tip #9 – YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE
Losing your job or having to change your way of living does not make you a failure. Life is filled with many unexpected turns and we all go through them – we must learn to adapt.
One of the things that helped me was, I said, ” Corey, why not you? People lose jobs daily – are you so special you can’t lose yours?” Why should others be the ones to experience such discomforts – get rid of the selfish mentality.
TIP #10 – TIME OF REFLECTION, INTROSPECTION AND PERSONAL GROWTH
Being unemployed has both advantages and disadvantages. Being home can present you with many positives – one being, personal introspection and growth.
You can exercise, work on a new skill, spend time with your children or aging parents, start a garden, read books, have a new outlook on life, do some self healing, attend workshops and conferences, go and study again and the list goes on.
I was able to raise two of my children and experience all their developmental achievements. I was also able to take on 80-90% of the house work, which made things easier for my wife.
TIP #11 – EAT, SLEEP, RELAX, EXERCISE
Unhealthy food is cheaper than healthy food, so with a decreased income it is easy to eat bad. Think about it, flour and bread are cheap but eating too much of it isn’t good.
It’s important to do things that relax you and go out – even if it is just to lime with friends. This is good for your mental health.
Sleep and exercise – well those speak for themselves.
TIP #12 – PUT YOUR FAITH IN GOD
In December 2017, I sat my wife down and told her, if it wasn’t for me reading and living the scriptures daily, I would be in the mental.
My faith in God and his Word was the foundational thing that kept me. It was and still is my source of encouragement, strength and hope. I would not have made it this far and long if it wasn’t for Him.
Many who don’t put their trust in God, turn to alcohol, sex, drugs, partying, relationships and the like but here is the reality – they solve NOTHING – actually, they make the situation worse.
The last 5 years and 3 months were the hardest 5 years of my life financially, BUT…it was the BEST, the GREATEST, most AMAZING 5 years in my christian walk and personal development. I am not the person I was 5 years ago.
I know I have grown in my relationship with Christ;
My mind is constantly being renewed;
I have matured;
I am a better man, husband and father;
I have gained new skills and talents;
My character has been shaped and polished.
This may surprise many of you, but I don’t regret any of it. Yes, in the first two years I didn’t have this perspective but now – man I am so glad I had this experience.
Did I cry? – Many many days. Was it hard? – Still is. Did I fight depression? – Yup and still do. Do I face disappointments – Many… BUT I know, I didn’t go through this for nothing. This was preparing me for what is to come next.
In order for there to be progress, we must go through the process.
The production time, often defines the value of the product. I often say that I feel like a hybrid between Joseph and Job – but I am excited, because I know how their stories ended.
The only place from here for me is UP. My future is GREAT, and guess what – my preparation journey will not only benefit my family and I, but YOU and BARBADOS also.
Don’t be discouraged – it isn’t over – this experience may be the best thing that ever happened to you.
BE ENCOURAGED. I am BLESSED and so are YOU.
A TIME IS COMING – [YOUR TIME IS COMING]