Job Loss: Focus on your achievements
This article is dedicated to my niece and many others out there who are working while at the same time taking on the challenge of additional studies to gain further qualifications. I would encourage you to not give up on your studies because gaining that qualification is priceless. Many of our young people are frustrated today because they are returning from university and not finding jobs. Many are witnessing their parents with qualifications lose jobs and are asking themselves if studying is really worth it.
When I abruptly and unjustly lost my job and career of more than three decades, I remember thinking to myself that I had wasted a lot of time studying. It was ironic that when this happened, I was studying again…this time for a retirement career! The truth is, you will never regret such achievements in your life, whether academic or vocational or practical.
Younger children are also affected when their parents lose a job. Studies have long indicated that children whose parents lose jobs will falter academically. New evidence shows that widespread job loss does not only affect the children of the jobless, it hurts kids whose parents are still employed too (www.huffingtonpost.com). “Research has found that the stress and anxiety of losing your job is actually not much greater than the stress of worrying about losing your job.” Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat, an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Economics at Duke University, noted: “When there is a lot of stress going on, everyone in the community is very stressed out. They get depressed. They get anxious. It really changes the functioning of a community.”
Young children often do not understand what it means when a parent loses a job and they worry more than we think. Older children may feel frustrated when they see their parents losing their jobs. No matter what the situation is, it always helps to focus on your achievements, and continue to talk to your family and encourage them to excel in their studies. Focus on your successes and the things that you were instrumentally involved with in moving the company forward, and record them. All of your work experiences add to your resume, and that cannot be taken away from you. Your qualifications cannot be taken away from you. When you lose a job, or experience any crisis in your life, it is human nature to focus on the negative…but if you look closely there is always something that is positive.
As you go through life, year by year, always remember that life itself is a continuous learning experience. We cannot assume that when we complete high school or university, that that is where it all ends. I recall that when I embarked on one of my study programs I was ‘well up there in age’ (and that’s all I will say!). I remember thinking to myself ‘I am way too old for this. I will never get through this.’ As it turned out, I was among the ‘younger’ students, and everything worked out just fine! In our community today, we need to develop a culture of encouragement for our young people, and we can do that in practical ways or by the actions we display. What we achieve as we go through life is a direct result of our beliefs and values, and we are motivated (or not) by the people around us. So often we are discouraged, even at work, when we try to introduce something new and exciting. As a community, let us try to change that mind-set and encourage one another to excel. Sometimes we lack vision. When I embarked on my first study program in the early ‘70s, I was told that I did not need a Bachelors’ degree because ‘Cayman is too small’. I wonder what that person would have to say in this present time… When we open our minds to all possibilities, we grow. When we close our minds and cannot envision change, we remain stagnant. Your achievements in life matter, and even though you may now be unemployed, you can carry the experience and the qualifications with you.
Of course, let us not forget that in the grand scheme of things, experience and qualifications do not matter as much as our souls. ‘What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?’ Mark 8:36 (NIV). We give God thanks for everything we have, because we know that He ultimately provided. Our achievements are made possible through Him. In everything and for everything, we give Him thanks.
If you are struggling with your studies, do not give up. Remember what our parents would tell us ‘No-one can take away that piece of paper!’