Commiserating Over Joblessness Through Stories as Half a Million Jobs Are Lost

A troubling convergence today: The US government announced this morning that 598,000 more jobs were lost in January; for the first time in this crisis, I learned of a friend who was just laid off (not counting a number of my former students who have not found appropriate work since graduating); and I was forwarded an e-mail from “Unemployed Bob” about his blog (also called Unemployed Bob). unemployedBob.jpg

In stark contrast to my entry a while back about Barbara Winter, who is “joyfully” (and deliberately) jobless, Bob, formerly a successful marketing executive, says he is “hopelessly and desperately unemployed.” He says he has been “unemployed for nine months, eleven days, and three hours” and expected to land a new job easily after he got his pink slip. He was so confident that he used his severance pay for a six-day trip to Rome. All these months later, his parents think he’s starting a software venture and have no idea how dire his situation is.

Bob has a button on his blog that asks for others to send their unemployment stories. He says, “I’ve started this forum to share my tale with those who are just like me. I want to hear your stories (all printed anonymously) so we can create a healing revolution for brilliant, deserving, and jobless.” He wants to form a sort of “Unemployed Anonymous.”

There is indeed power, or at least comfort, in sharing stories in these difficult times. He believes — and I support his belief — that sharing stories can help to make unemployed folks “a little saner and confident in our everyday routine.” Bob says:

I started this site because I don’t want any of us to feel like we’re the only failures on Earth. Everyday when I sit in front of the computer, I want to read your stories. How are you coping? How did you lose your job? How are you feeling today? How do you stay positive? I need to hear that there are more people like me. Or like you. Like all of us.

Bob is asking for jobless stories to come to him by e-mail. He’s also asking the folks spread the word about his venture.

Bob’s blog is well-written and compelling. I plan to follow it. I hope folks do indeed share their stories with him.

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Kathy Hansen, PhD, is a leading proponent of deploying storytelling for career advancement. She is an author and instructor, in addition to being a career guru. More...

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