Are Illusions THAT Important?

ostrich with head in sandBeing out of work is tough for many reasons — having a disconnect from your professional identity, feeling embarrassment in public situations despite the fact that over 10% of the population is in the same boat, not knowing how to explain your joblessness to your kids — and the list goes on.

I read an article from the Wall Street Journal about people who were affected by layoffs, some as early as March 2008, and yet continued to live in the lifestyle they were accustomed to because they had received severance packages from their former employers. One job seeker interviewed for this story even passed up job offers early on because he “thought he could do better” and seemed to assume that he had time to find the right job.

And now that the severance and savings are running dry? They have to face the reality of sticking their heads in the sand for so long. Mounting debt, loss of possessions, loss of face, etc. I do feel sorry for them for what they are going through.

At the same time, I know how a lengthy job search can affect a family. Was maintaining a lavish façade really so important?

I talked in an earlier post about how my husband and I made the decision to forego two vehicles during his layoff. We also talked about worst-case scenarios, and there were many other lifestyle changes that we made to trim our budget to maximize our savings and other resources.

Facing the reality of the situation early on help us process what was happening and made it easier to gradually introduce ideas surrounding my husband’s job loss to our children.

It also led us to make smarter decisions regarding what was really in the best interests of our family. I’m not just talking financial choices; while it was still a stressful time in our lives, being proactive about stretching the resources we had did reduce the financial concerns a bit and allowed my husband to be not as fragmented with multiple worries while learning as much as he could about job hunting in today’s world.

In our situation, trying to maintain some false illusion would not have served anyone in our family well.

What choices you have made? How are they working for you?

ostrich courtesy of Kalinago English

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