From My Heart to Yours: A Message to the Unemployed Friend I Have Not Met

Dear Unemployed Friend,

I address you in this letter as “friend”, though we have never met.  I hope this is not presumptuous of me.  I realize that we are not friends in the literal sense of the word or perhaps the way society would define a friend.  I don’t know your name.  I have not seen your face or ever talked to you, but I have been thinking about you a lot.  Every day in fact.  You may live in my city or my country…or you may not.  You may live next door or you may live many thousands of miles from where I live.  Either way, I still think of you.  I imagine you. I imagine your life and your days.  Though we have not met, I think of you as a friend.

I am not in your situation.  Yet.  I am one of the fortunate ones. I am eternally grateful for that, but every day I know that my luck could change.  One day you and I could be in the same shoes. I know this. 

I imagine your life each day.  I imagine you rising in the morning, having your coffee and going to your computer….again.  I imagine the love/hate relationship you have with your computer.  I imagine you checking your email every hour hoping for a response from a recruiter or an employer.  I imagine the knot in your stomach each time your in-box is empty.   

I imagine you combing the ads on the job websites: Craigslist, Monster, CareerBuilder, etc.  I do not know the names of all the job websites as you do.  Yet.   

I imagine the glimmer of hope in your heart each time you send off a resume for a position that you are ideal for (if the job description is to be believed).  I imagine the slow gradual despair each evening as another day has gone by and you realize that no one is going to contact you. 

I imagine the anxiety each time you check your bank account balance.  I imagine your sigh as you open your mailbox and find more bills that you don’t know how you will pay.  I imagine you at the supermarket walking the aisles searching for deals and discounts and generic brands. 

I imagine your sadness as you realize that the holidays are coming and you won’t be able to put gifts under the tree.  I imagine your worry as you think about the pain in your stomach or the ache in your head and wonder if it is a serious medical issue or caused by stress.  I imagine your fear as you remember once again that you can’t go to the doctor because you don’t have health insurance.  

I also imagine your sense of humor.  I imagine you laughing with your family and friends even with the unpaid bills in the back of your mind and the worry in your heart.

I imagine your belief that you must put up a good front for those you love – so they will not worry about you; so that they will not think you a “whiner”; so that you will not depress them with your troubles.

I imagine you looking at the calendar counting the days until your unemployment insurance runs out.  I imagine your fear as the number of days becomes smaller.

I imagine how much you are focused on Time.  We are all focused on Time in our lives, but I imagine that Time is an even bigger focus in your life than mine.  I imagine that, for you, Time is everything.  I imagine that Time is your enemy.  I imagine all the different ways you worry about Time:   the rent due on the first of the month; the due date of each of your credit cards; your child’s birthday coming up and the gift you cannot afford to buy; the overdue electric bill; and the worry about how long Con Edison will wait before they shut off the electricity.  

I imagine your fear when you think about your age.  If you are young or just out of college, I imagine your worry that employers will think that you are too young or too inexperienced.  If you are middle-aged or older, I imagine your worry that employers will think that you have passed your prime because everyone says it is a “youth-based society” after all.  

No matter your age, I imagine the constant worry in your heart that you will never have another job, that you will become the permanently unemployed. 

I imagine the anticipation mixed with fear each time the phone rings:  is it an employer or a bill collector?  I imagine you holding your breath as you screen your calls, listening to the answering machine pick up, your outgoing message, the beep — and then the voice of the unknown caller who will give you good news or bad.

I imagine your heart racing after an interview as you rewind the conversation over and over in your head hoping you said all the right things and didn’t say anything that would cause you to be rejected. 

I imagine your frustration when you realize that you will have to cancel your cable service.  I imagine your sadness as you realize you must tell your daughter that she will no longer be able to watch her beloved Disney channel because there is no money. 

I imagine the lunch and dinner invitations you turn down, embarrassed to tell your friends the reason you must decline. 

I imagine the anxious feeling every time you encounter a new person you know will inevitably ask the dreaded question, so what do you do?”.    I imagine the sinking feeling in your gut each time you reply:  “I am unemployed.” 

I imagine the fury you feel watching the news as you watch the ridiculous endless, petty battle of our leaders who have no clue about your circumstances, yet make terrible decisions (or no decisions) that affect you directly.

I imagine your anxiety each night as you climb into bed and think about the hundreds of resumes you have sent out and the handful of responses you have received.  I imagine your dwindling hope at 5:00PM each evening as  another day passes without a single email or phone call from a single employer. 

I imagine your fear and shame each time you try to push the thought out of your mind that you might have to move in with your parents.  

Even as I imagine all of the above, I know that the deep, complicated, frustrating emotions you are feeling each day are something I can never truly imagine.   

I write to you today to let you know that somebody cares.  I cannot give you a job, but I am one of many “somebodys” who care.  There are more out here like me.   There are even more out here like you.   I wish like hell that I could do something tangible to help you.  I wish I owned a huge corporation with many open positions.  A silly wish perhaps.  I will never be the owner of a large corporation.  It doesn’t stop me from wishing.

I wish that I could give you something more than emotional support in words.  Words will not pay your bills.  This I know.  Still, I want you to know the incredible respect I have for you for the courage you show each day,  for your resilience, for your perseverance, and for your sense of humor.

From my heart to yours, I want to pass on the feeling of hope and faith that I have inside me that this terrible time will pass for you, that things will get better.  I want the faith, hope, belief, compassion and respect that I feel for your situation and your resilience to be contagious.  I want all of the positive belief I have in the power of human beings to overcome any obstacle to be passed on to you like a virus from my heart to yours. 

Most of all, I want you to know that even if we never meet, I will be out here in the world thinking of ways that I can give back to try and make your life better again.  I will write my Congressman, join rallies and protests, tweet messages of hope.  I will do all I can to make sure that your plight is not forgotten.  I will encourage others to do the same. 

The impact of my actions may not reach you directly, but above all, I want you to know that you are not alone. 

Words cannot change circumstances, but sometimes they can feed the heart like fuel in an engine to keep a body and soul moving forward even in the darkest of days. 

I hope so.  I hope words help a little.  Words can’t solve the problems above, but I hope they can give you a little strength…at least for another hour, another day. 

Words are all I’ve got for you today and I know that they are not nearly enough, but it felt important to pass them onto you anyway.  

We may never meet, but you are not alone.   I think about you every day. 

From my heart to yours, I think of you as a friend.  Bless you.  Bless your courage.  Keep going.

 

With infinite love and respect,

Coach Cinda

www.coachcinda.com

 

 

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13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by William Gerber on October 26, 2013 at 2:15 am

    Thank You My Friend for the kind words

    Reply

    • Thank you William. Sometimes I feel compelled to write about something deeply in my heart and mind. The plight of the unemployed is definitely an example of that. I hope things improve soon. Stay well over there and best of luck!

      Cinda

      Reply

  2. I am one of the unemployed. I must first thank GOD for providing for me daily. I never thought that I would be in these shoes. It is a scary feeling. If I didn’t trust GOD, I don’t know where I might be now. I know things are going to get better. I thank all of you for thinking about the less fortunate. It’s not an easy place to be in. Thanks again. If I wasn’t in school now, I think I would be in a great state of depression.

    Reply

    • So nice to hear from you Shirley. Your courage touches me so much. I’m glad you are doing OK under such tough circumstances. Sending you a very big cyber-hug. Best of luck with school and everything in your life. Your faith is inspiring to me.. Stay well and take good care of yourself.

      Love
      Cinda

      Reply

  3. Posted by RJ on October 31, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Thank you! I have been unemployed for 8 months now and I tell you, it really hurts. Somedays, I am laughing and then there are other days I feel like crying. I am taking this time to volunteer and take free online courses to keep my skills fresh. The one sad part apart this is that it’s getting harder and harder for me to look my wife in the face and call myself the head of the home. There are moments when I want to tell her I am sorry but I just don’t know how. But, I press toward, and do my best to not look behind.

    Reply

    • Thanks so much for writing. Yes I think about how it must be every day. I don’t even think people understand how hard it is or the courage it takes to get through it. I have such respect for you. Feel free to send me your resume if you like and I can try to help through the network of people I know. Anything I can do please let me know. Thanks so much for doing the volunteer work also. Paycheck or not you are making a difference in people’s lives. Bless you and good luck. Let me know if I can help in any way. I hope you give yourself credit for your courage. It’s something to feel proud about. This time will pass. I really believe that.

      Sending lots of good vibes! Keep going.

      Cinda

      Reply

  4. Posted by Linda on November 4, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    I saw you on Unemployed Friends 2.0. Thanks for posting. I, too, am one of the unemployed. Unemployed and over 45. -I’ll stop there before I start to ramble.
    Sincerely,
    -Linda

    Reply

    • Dear Linda,

      So nice to meet you! (No worries about rambling – I am the Queen of Rambling! LOL) Thank you so much for writing, Linda. Honestly, you and people like you are my absolute heroes. I think about you every day and have so much respect for how you and all unemployed people hold up and push onward under such difficult circumstances. I’m always so aware that it could happen to me or any one of us. We all need to stick together in this world. It is not easy. Please feel free to send me your resume if I can help in any way with the network of people that I know. Anything I can do to assist, I’m happy to help.

      In the meantime, please know you are in my thoughts and I have such respect for your courage. Best of luck, Linda! Please contact me at any time if I can help.

      Cinda
      http://www.coachcinda.com

      Reply

  5. Posted by rosierrr1 on November 19, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    I have been unemployed for almost 2 years now. The hardest feelings to overcome are fear, isolation and powerlessness. As I read your post, it lifted my spirit and made me realize that I am not alone and that others do care. Thank you for taking the time to write your kind words.

    Reply

    • Thank you so much for writing to me! Please send me your resume if there is any way I might be able to help you. I would be happy to.spread the word in any way I can,

      I do think about you and people like you every day. To me you are the courageous, anonymous heroes of this world. I have so much respect for your resilience in the face of such hard, hard times.

      I send much love and please do let me know if I can assist and feel free to contact me at any time through my website http://www.coachcinda.com

      Stay well and please know that the hearts of many are with you in your struggle and to offer support. Nobody gets through this life alone and we all need to stick together.

      Thanks again and good luck!

      Much respect,
      Cinda

      Reply

  6. Posted by Physics Major on December 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    It is 6:45 in the morning.

    It is cold in this room that has been set up as my “office” where these words are being thought out, worked out, typed out.

    It is not one of the scheduled items for my daily work of finding work – but it IS important. VERY Important.

    Your message forces three facts to the front:

    FACT: with all the pains, with all the nightmares – little and great – there is One Good Thing brought by times like this. If you are fortunate / blessed, you realize that bad times are a clarifier…they force you to separate the Real and Needful from the Trivial and Useless.

    That Fact is a Gift. Cherish it.

    FACT: in all the darkness, in all the frustrations there is One Other Goal you must attain. WE poor human beings often forget our call to REALLY care about others – to really feel their sorrows. We don’t need sympathy, we need Empathy.

    That Fact is a Duty. Accept it.

    FACT: in all the loneliness, in all the noise there is One Great Quest you must accept – the quest to find the One Thing you can do that will not only feed, clothe, and warm you, but will do so for others.

    That Fact is a Life. Live it.

    Please excuse me – I have to get to work now…

    Thank you. Thank you for sharing Hope.
    God Almighty bless you.

    Your unmet (for Now) Friend.

    Reply

    • Thank you so much for your message! I really appreciate your words. Stay well over there and many blessings and good health during the holidays and in all the days ahead.

      Much love,
      Cinda

      Reply

  7. Posted by Trish on December 24, 2013 at 1:56 am

    You have nice words and Im sure you are a nice person– but until you walk a mile Cinda. Because I too felt I knew what it was to be empathetic– I was forced to walk many people to that unemployment line, but I was one of the few managers who actually stayed in touch and helped anywhere I could for those people who wanted to get new careers/positions. Yet, I took a special assignment after 19yrs, and was summarily laid off as a Sr Program Manager– that is Aerospace for you! And for the past FOUR years, I have not been able to land that permanent position… So now I am walking in those shoes you say you can imagine. You really have no idea of the depths of despair! The complete lack of control and horrendous strength it takes to continue fighting off the negativety. Your friends feel bad and dont know what to say or how to help– so they vanish or become nearly invisible. Ive been in/out of great Contract positions that unfortunately end for one bizarre bad luck reason or another! Manager hired too many and so LIFO, was hired to replace a beloved 25 year Manager who they were able to get back and there was not budget for both of us, oh and the we dont have budget in this department– yet other divisions are extending contractors and hiring them by the 100’s– I just ended up in the wrong area, program launched and engineering budget blown away… it goes on and on and on…! OK- so now I like most of the FORMER upper middle class Americans… I too have blown through all unemployment, savings, 401K, sold everything that is not nailed down, dont qualify for ANY govt assistance, and have applied to everything and everywhere just to have some- ANY income!! NOPE– McDonalds, grocery stores, and all AM/PM/7-11/convenience and retails stores wont consider me (and I do have the experience too) because they fear I will up and leave with no notice…. Well, how do they know that some current the same when they decide that ski trip seems more fun than working over the weekend? My point?– I fight/we all fight everyday to remain positive– but its becomes nearly impossible when all these ads promote hiring only Veterans or only this group of persons– when it should ALWAYS be just the “BEST” and most qualified person gets the job. I am a realist– I know its really who the Hiring Manager ends up liking or feeling most comfortable with – and even a lot of the times- who they feel less threatened by!! I have killed myself marketing, campaigning, networking, and yet all my job offers still slid out until after the Holidays– after my current contract ends…. so I will be without an income YET AGAIN. This time MUCH higher consequences- as each time without a job has become. I just barely had time to almost crawl out of some of my debt… now I fall deeper, faster and will be homeless with no money to move into anyplace. Yet one of my offers will most likely come– much too late to avoid catastrophic losses. I will be living out of my car by then– hmmmm… think they will still want to hire me/or anyone in same position then? A lot of companies are pulling out the Credit Reports as a hiring condition again…. for management/leadership and non-security/financial roles. Well, lets see how long it takes to fight back from this one. I used to believe that if someone worked hard, wanted to work, exceeded expectations, and maintained integrity– you would have at least basic needs met in life– I have learned a valuable lesson about realities. But I was a born fighter– “quit” is not in my DNA and I will find a way to make lemonade from these lemons. I send prayers of strength to my unemployed soldiers (or like me, soon to be unemployed). Maybe Santa will return next Xmas… Blessings, strength, peace…

    Reply

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