Friday, October 19, 2012

Through the Waves

On the eve of another autumn weekend, readers, I wanted to thank you all for the overwhelmingly kind comments to my posts this week. I love reading your perspectives and, to new followers, welcome! But, I also wanted to take this opportunity to be honest, lay it out on the line, and reveal a bit more about me.

I’m unemployed and have been now twice in the past year. On Wednesday, I observed a kind of solemn, somber milestone that I wish no one would have to experience: that day marked my second full month of unemployment during this stint. That day I broke down, in my real life, far from my “blogging” self. If you just discovered Meet Me in Philadelphia, I don’t want to scare you away but I do want to be transparent. All of the projects and things I accomplish in my apartment and share on this blog buoy me during these times, as do your daily visits, emails, and comments.

Unemployment stinks, folks. But what’s worse, honestly, is the shame I feel on a daily basis. Some days it hits me like a powerful wave and I get pulled under the current of sadness. I question my purpose, my value, my direction, my choices…me. The tears well up and won’t stop. Other days, the shame and embarrassment isn’t quite so easy to spot. It sits just below the surface and I can be a functional adult; but the shame, that ever-present current, is always there.

And while my employment status is enough to get me down, the part of this experience that I was most unprepared for is that being unemployed feels like a shameful little secret that those around me are hesitant to address (I exclude 4 wonderful people—you know who you are). It’s the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’. I grant that it is an awkward subject to raise, but don’t you think it is worse being unemployed? Why not ask me how I’m doing? I am tremendously grateful for those people who have thrown me a lifejacket during this experience and have expressed their care, support and advice. Without them, I would have drowned in my own sadness more times than I can count.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: if you know someone who is currently unemployed, be there for them. And then really be there for them. Be explicit. Show them you care, whether you’ve ever been in their position or not. I promise you, it will provide a tremendous boost up and out of the waves.

Thank you for reading this, and have a wonderful weekend, everyone.


  1. Ashley, thank you for sharing this. I felt a taste of this since last summer while searching for a permanent job after our move - it felt endless.

    It's so important to share personal perspectives about unemployment. I *never* wanted to talk about my job search with anyone but Peter and my parents, and absolutely hated when friends checked in to see how it was going. It felt like a terrible reminder that I still hadn't succeeded (though of course, they were just being kind). Thank you for the reminder that sometimes gentle support is exactly what people need.

  2. Thanks for the insight. Two members of my family have recently lost their small businesses and both are deeply down in the dumps about it. They take it as a personal failure. Somehow the fact that the economy has taken a major dip does not seem to make them feel better.

  3. Ashley, I know how you feel. I've been in your position 4 times, most recently just a few months ago. I'm a new follower, but happy to be an ear for you to vent to. I understand the depression, the fear, the constant pit in your stomach. I'm behind you and here to tell you that it WILL get better - promise. :)

  4. Ashley, you opened my eyes with this post. I have a really good friend whose husband lost his job (again). I realized that I probably haven't been the friend I need to be. Your post prompted that and thank you. Also, thank you for being transparent - it takes a lot of guts to put that out there and I will keep you in my prayers and pray that your situation turns itself around. Have a good weekend!

  5. Hi there, new follower here. Nice to meet you. im sorry to hear you are going thru this. And I want to tell you that I think you are so brave and strong for being able to put that out there. Based on the number of times you used the word shame, I can only imagine how hard that was for you to tell us. i wish you only the best luck trying to find something new AND fulfilling. And in the meantime I will enjoy checking in!

  6. I've been thinking about you and wondering how your doing with the job search. It really is a terrible, helpless feeling- one that I experienced secondhand when Chris was laid off twice within six months early in our relationship. I know it is hard to believe right now, but things will turn around and you will find another job. Best of luck, Ashley.

  7. The worth or value of a person isn’t measured by the job or position they hold but by the number of people that hold them dear. People always need to be reminded of the impact they have on others. You are special to me and have impacted my life GREATLY. No one else could or would have done the same.


I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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