I have an admission to make: I’m currently unemployed. Well, that’s something of a half-confession in that I do own a business and my last “job” was as a 1099 contractor. In essence, I’ve been technically unemployed for over a year. That said, I’m not working as a contractor, my business isn’t bringing in much cash, and I don’t have employment.
So, basically, I’m unemployed.
And this is something that I’m a bit at odds with. I’m still working (i.e., writing, planning, developing new products and services), yet I’m not bringing in income. That’s not good.
Part of me feels like I’m down and out, that I’m going to lose everything and end up a derelict. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has felt this way.
But here’s the thing: while I may not have income at the moment, as I continue to move, continue to work and look for either employment or freelance gigs, I’ll be OK. That’s the “up and at it” part of the equation.
Now, all that sounds fantastic, right? Get up and get going! Success is within your reach, you only have to keep reaching! Don’t give up! Are those inspirational and motivational comments or simply platitudes?
Both, I guess.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been in dire straits. Yet, this time around, I’m realizing something: being at the end of one’s tether is both good and bad. It’s good because, when life is running on greased rails, we can become comfortable with good and not go for great (à la “Good to Great” by Jim Collins); we run the risk of dulling ourselves. Additionally, we may even get to thinking we’ve got everything figured out. The latter may lead to self-glorification and vanity. In a struggle, we tend to humble ourselves and attempt to look at our situation (and how we ended up there) through an objective lens.
The bad is self-evident. There is stress and self-doubt in times of want, not to mention the precarious nature of trying to operate one’s life with a bank account close to zero; one misstep and the whole thing comes down like a house of cards. And it can take years to heal. They say successful people count their pennies. In a way, unsuccessful people do too.
Yet, it’s good to put things into perspective. I may be down but I’m not down for the count. And I’m not as down as so many others have been or who are currently struggling. I still have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, and gas in the car. Compared to so many, I’m rich.
It’s times like this when I recall the book “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl. Many of us have read this book and have been inspired. Yet, I’ll admit that, internally, I overemphasize my own struggle and underestimate the struggle of men and women like Frankl. Think of it: he was able to not only endure the harsh environment of a WWII concentration work camp, and, at the same time, come up with one of the most inspirational books in history! And I’m worried about bills and achieving self-actualization? It’s ludicrous to compare.
Having said that, we can use our struggles to help us understand ourselves and others. Heck, we can even create our own inspiring works under such circumstances. In doing so, we can never be truly down and out.
I had a life coach who told me (when I was going through tough times in the past) that the experience I was having was part of my story. I love that. And I’m looking forward to a happy ending.
Having said all that, I’m going to get back to looking for work.