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I’m growing weary of rejection. I’ve been on unemployment since July, and have applied for quite a few jobs in that time. This afternoon I applied for a job that I thought would be a great fit for me and got an immediate response telling me that I did not meet the minimum requirements for the position. Fair enough — they wanted someone who has directed a day care center, and I have not done that. I do, however, have a Master’s in Teaching, and several years experience teaching elementary and middle school. I have also substituted in a daycare and spent the past year as the full-time care provider for my own child.

I think I’m also feeling bad about myself because I had to go the WorkSource center this week for an info session on unemployment. I was required to attend this session in order to continue receiving unemployment and I had hoped that it might be useful and that they might chat with me about my resume and job opportunities in my field. But it was just a Powerpoint presentation about how to properly claim my weekly unemployment benefits, something I already have been doing for awhile now. Also this week I started using LinkedIn, which makes me feel bad about myself because everyone I know on LinkedIn has a professional job.

Why is it that so much of my self-worth seems to rely on having a successful career? Why isn’t it enough to just be a good mom? I think our society seems to expect women to be everything — to be great mothers, wives, friends, and also have successful careers. These expectations set everyone up for disappointment.

I try to remind myself that my self-worth comes from God. One of my favorite Bible verses is Isaiah 43:1: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name, you are mine.” God is telling me that I belong to Him. It is for God, not the world, that I should live my life. It is God who determines my steps. I do not have a job right now, because God wants me to be at home with my beautiful daughter right now, who hasn’t even reached her first birthday yet. God will give me the right job at the right time. It is up to me to trust.

Why do we call it Good Friday? The crucifixion was a horrific event. It’s where we get our word “excruciating” — “from the cross.” But it was a good thing, an amazing thing, that God was willing to be sacrificed for us, that we might be redeemed.

Sometimes things that seem painful at first turn into blessings in the end.

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Image: Crucifix by Cimabue

 

Teething is very sad for all parties involved. Baby Bear is currently teething (again) and/or sick. She has a nasty-sounding cough, which I think is caused by all her teething drool. Last night at about 12:30 a.m. she would not stop screaming. Usually she will easily fall back asleep if I nurse her, but this was not the case last night. Finally I just got up and sat with her on the couch so that my husband could sleep. After awhile of this she fell asleep and I was able to go back to bed and sleep with her head propped up on my shoulder. She still woke up every few hours after this until we finally got up around 7:30.

It’s days like this that I’m thankful that I don’t have to go to work. Although sometimes I feel like parents who work have it easier, since they get to have a life away from their child. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. (Not that I had the option of going back to work — I got laid off during my maternity leave).

Anyway, I look forward to the time when Baby Bear has all her teeth AND sleeps well all night. I also look forward to the days when she is potty-trained and no longer puts everything in her mouth! And most of all, I’m excited for when she can talk and tell me what she’s thinking and feeling. She is 11-months-old already so I know those days are coming…slowly.

Now I have to go stop her from climbing the bookshelf.

Sometimes blessings come in disguise. I have been thinking lately about this Chinese story we read in grad school:

There once was a poor rice farmer, who had a very small field just large enough to feed his family.

Then one day a herd of wild horses came run­ning through the vil­lage. They ran into the farmer’s rice field and got stuck in the mud, and since they couldn’t get away, they were his.

His neigh­bor came run­ning over and said, “This is good news! Such good for­tune! You are rich, this is amaz­ing!” And the rice farmer said, “Good news, bad news, who knows?”

A few weeks later the farmer’s 12-year-old son jumped up on one of the wild horses for a ride, only to be thrown off and have his leg bro­ken. The neigh­bor comes run­ning over and says, “Oh no, this is such bad news!” And the farmer said, “Good news, bad news, who knows?”

A week later a Chi­nese gen­eral is march­ing through the farmer’s vil­lage on the way to war. On this march, the army is con­script­ing every healthy boy over 10 years of age. So they took every boy in the vil­lage except the farmer’s son because of his bro­ken leg.

The neigh­bor comes run­ning over and says, “Yes! This is won­der­ful news, how lucky are we!” And the father replies, “Good news, bad news, who knows?”

During my maternity leave, I was laid off from my job at a private school. Enrollment was down, so my position had to be eliminated. This probably sounds like bad new! But it has allowed me to collect unemployment benefits, about equal to the amount of money I would have been making at that job. So, it is sort of like getting paid maternity leave for another six months or so. This gives me precious time to bond with Baby Bear while she is little.

Another thing is that I did not have health insurance through my work. As a result, I became a member of this great cost-sharing organization called Christian Healthcare Ministries, which paid for all of my prenatal care. They would have also paid for my delivery costs, but I was able to get Medicaid to pay for those costs. And now Baby Bear is on Medicaid, so we don’t even have to pay a co-pay for any of her doctor visits. Other people I know with regular health insurance have had to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for their deliveries. We didn’t have to pay anything. A huge blessing!

I am sometimes a little bit worried about not having a clear plan for the future. I get frustrated with applying for jobs that I know have hundreds of applicants. I would have had a better chance of getting into an Ivy League college than I do of getting most of the jobs I apply for!

Because I am receiving unemployment, I had to go to the WorkSource office a few weeks ago to take some tests and meet with an employment counselor. The counselor looked at my resume and said, “Oh, you’re a teacher. Time to think of Plan B. We see so many teachers every day.”

Okay, sure. I would also accept a job as a writer for National Geographic or Outside magazine. Maybe White House Press Secretary. I do have a journalism degree, that should be worth something right?

Right?

Well, the point is, I don’t know quite what the future holds. Besides a lot of diaper changes. All I can do is enjoy this opportunity I have to bond with my daughter while she’s a baby. I am thankful to God for this opportunity. I love our time together! Although our conversations are a bit one-sided.