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Lisa Steffler


Coping With Unemployment

Posted On:09-May-2020/10:09 pm

Being unemployed is a struggle that many of us have been through. It can be a hard time that feels as though it will never end. Almost every person I attended college with has dealt with long stretches of unemployment, and it affected all of them quite negatively. I have dealt with unemployment in the past, and I have come out the other side understanding the stress but recognizing how to overcome it.

After college, my future husband and I moved in together. Some said it was not a good idea, because both of us were dealing with being unemployed, which really added double the stress to an already uncertain situation. Now, when I say “unemployed” I don’t mean entirely. We both had part-time jobs – me working as a waitress and him working in a hardware store. However, these were both part-time jobs, which sometimes meant few shifts and very low pay. Also, both jobs weren’t what we wanted to do in life. We had both graduated from college with degrees that we both thoroughly enjoyed – both of us business majors. We were excited to leave college and walk into exciting and self-fulfilling jobs. But those of you who have experienced unemployment understand that it’s never that easy. We both applied to jobs constantly, but months whizzed by without any positive responses, not even a job interview. Both of us were unemployed for over a year. During that year, I found myself wanting to give up after a few months. I stopped enjoying my hobbies and stopped caring whether it was going to happen or not. Along with this apathy, I stopped applying to jobs and wallowed in my depression. My future husband was on the verge of doing the same, but he prospered, and his motivation helped me get out of my depressive funk.

Both of us have had managerial careers we have loved for years. That is until the coronavirus strolled along. I still have my job, but recently, my husband was released from his job.

For him, the process was horrific. On March 2nd, about one hundred employees from his company were furloughed. They were told that the company was suffering financial losses because of the coronavirus, but the return to work date would be May 4th. Luckily, while they were being furloughed, they still received employee benefits. Then on March 31st, some of them (including my husband) got a “warn” letter that the furloughs would become permanent layoffs on June 23rd, and their employee benefits would be extended to June 23rd.

I cannot begin to tell you how personal my husband took this letter and I can already see him getting into a depressive funk. According to him, the June 23rd release date was just a legal matter, he was out of a job right now. He was having none of it, while I tried to put a positive spin on the situation: his company was still giving him/us employee benefits for the next three months, the company was still giving employee grants for those who needed it, and he had unemployment insurance for 39 weeks.

I fully understand how he is feeling, because I know how devastated I would feel if I lost my job, particularly now while the entire U.S. is quarantining. The thing about unemployment is you simply cannot give up. If you’re not actively looking for jobs, it’s never going to happen – especially during stay-at-home-orders. You need to work at it every day: applying to jobs via the internet, sending emails, making phone calls, creating job connections, and using your own networks. Giving up and wallowing in self-pity will not result in a new career, just more of nothing. Another thing that helped both my husband and I was after college was keeping busy. It’s easy to sleep in every day and spend your workless days watching TV, but that’s a very quick road to a slump. Keep at your hobbies. When you’re not actively looking for a job, fill your time with something creative or productive. I read quite a lot – I got more reading done than I had during my entire time at college. My husband learned to play the guitar. By building these hobbies, not only were we keeping ourselves occupied, but we were expanding our knowledge and horizons. These are things I keep reminding my husband about.

Getting through a bout of unemployment can make you feel hopeless, but you need to keep reminding yourself that it won’t last forever; neither will the coronavirus. By keeping at it and never letting yourself give up, you can make it through the stress of unemployment. Finally, lean on your family and friends for support. This is the best way to reduce the stress. I am there for my husband 24-7.


1 : At the best of times, unemployment can be a horrifying experience.

2 : Even during the coronavirus, do not give up, keep looking for a job.

3 : To prevent stress and feeling defeated, rely heavily on your support systems.

Category:  Work/Career / Subcategory:  Unemployment During the Coronavirus

Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, hopeless, networking, support system, not give up, depression, stress, job, career, furloughed, layoffs

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Lisa Steffler


Thanks to everyone that wished my husband good luck. I really appreciate it.

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Bruce Peters


Lisa, my heart goes out to your husband. When employees are furloughed, they are happy that they still have a job, so later when they are fired, it must be such a blow. I feel lucky that I have not lost any of my team members (yet), but I know the company has done some firing. Most people don’t think of the company’s perspective--with few or no customers/business, a lot of companies cannot afford to keep employees on the payroll. This is just a bad state of affairs all around.

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Nadine Wu


Lisa and Amara, I also feel fortunate to have a job during the COVID-19 pandemic. I think it would be worse to lose your job while you are isolating vs. not having a job at the start of isolation. It would probably make you feel more helpless. Lisa, I am going to assume that while your husband is being furloughed, his company is offering Employee Assistance Programs/help with finding a new job. I have my fingers crossed for you and your husband.

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Amara Kone


Lisa, I feel very fortunate that I am still employed and can work from home. But I have friends who have lost their job. I speak to them regularly, so I know exactly how your husband feels. Unemployment does take a toll on the mind. You offer good advice and as you mentioned, having a support system is key. Good luck to your husband, and let’s hope the economy heals soon after a coronavirus vaccine surfaces.

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S. Jakes


Lisa, I promise I am not crying after reading your duppydom. I know exactly how your husband feels. Right now, I do not have a job, and if quarantining continues into the Fall, who knows if I will even be working next year. It totally sucks being a substitute teacher. Like your husband, I try not to get in a depressive funk, but some days I cannot help it. I tell you, it’s nice quarantining with my parents--their love and support are amazing.

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D. C. Lawrence


Lisa, I agree with your wholeheartedly. Being unemployed or becoming unemployed during COVID-19 might seem defeating to many--their mindset might be, “so what else is going to happen to me”. I can understand why many would feel hopeless, particularly if they have a family to support. I think having a support system would be very beneficial, but counseling might also be required. The coronavirus has changed our mindset--because we had no choice--this is something none of us has ever experienced. As such, many of us might need new tools (mental models) to help deal with the coronavirus and some of its realities--like unemployment. Good luck to your husband with his job search! Good read, Lisa.