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From Unemployment to Insights: This Sucks

Updated: May 31

The past two months as job seeker have been eye opening, caused more side-eyed looks than I am probably self aware of, far too many silent tears, and definitely has elicited eye-rolling for days on my part.

The above explains part of my job seeker journey. It is merely one sentence about my journey. The things is, job search and a job seeker's journey shouldn't be summed up in one sentence. Not mine at least. Not without that sentence running on and on or leaving out many important and impactful parts of the journey. That is one of the big reasons I started this blog series, From Unemployment to Insights. Yes, it's to keep content in feeds and hopefulling Rachel Kitty Cupples top of mind for employers and recruiters who are hiring but it is mostly because job seekers, much like recruiters, get a bad wrap. They are too desperate. They are too aloof. They are arrogant and demanding. They don't understand the life of a recruiter or hiring team member. The biased opinions from others is truly limitless.

I started this blog series wanting to showcase my journey, what I learn along the way, the pros and cons of my experience, and more. I wanted to leave the job seeker world, employer world, recruiter world, etc. better in-spite of my own devastation and dark and twisty place my head was in. Now I realize that I didn't know just how dark and twisty it would get and didn't know fear like I thought I knew - like I know today.

It wasn't that I hadn't been through worse or experienced worse. It wasn't that I was the first human to experience what I was and still am experiencing. It was just surprising. Period.

Tomorrow or in the future I will likely learn that while what I feel, feels like the seventh level of hell (whatever that means), it's really only the fourth and who knows what is to come.

Okay, now that we know a bit (not all) about the whys of this blog series, I am going to do something different with this post. I am not going to bright-side one damn thing. Not one. Why? Because that is where I am truly at. I am not going to let the fear of how I am perceived sensor this blog series any longer. It is not that I've mislead or shared misinformation. It's that I've left out an incredibly important yet terrifying subject to share while being unemployed - the state of my mental health. If I am going to be authentic and truly capture and share the life of a job seeker in 2024, I need to get deeper for my audience. For the sake of job seekers, HR Pros, recruiters, curious people, and hiring teams that may run across this series - I feel called to share deeper and in a more personal way. I need to share more than things like the bullshit (but don't misunderstand - you're still going to hear about my disdain and disappointment over candidate experience, job post, job applications, broken recruitment processes/programming, and more) I've shared in this cute yet infuriating post with baby Groot above.

I am struggling. I am not the only one struggling. Something has to change.

Something that is not discussed enough is the mental health impact job loss and underemployment has on humans. With May coming to an end for 2024, this blog post is dedicated to every single person who cannot pay their bills or is scared that they wont be able to in near future. Fear is a helluva enemy to battle. But before we dive in to that (more like dip our toes into) let's take a quick break together and scream or yell or listen to the video immediately below this.

Lets take a quick break and give a shout out to all the misinformation on the internet targeting job seekers.

And a double shout out to those that continue to prey on job seekers with scare tactics and money draining get a job quick schemes without guarantee.

Okay, no where were we...

Something else that is not discussed enough is the abandonment many job seekers feel after losing a job. The work friends, leaders, customers and collegaues - you name it - life moves on without them and often the people who are no longer working are left alone and the once daily or weekly/regular routines they had working with, talking to, and interacting with others is immediately severed.

Everyone working or not is just trying to survive. We quickly learn who our real friends and allies are after these events.

Acknowledging also that those that survive layoffs often deal with a form of survivor's guilt that can cause them to not reach out to those that have left as well.

Neurodivergent folx struggle exceptionally with this because of how we tend to bond quick, fast, and hard. This goes for personal, professional, and romnatic relationships. When we bond, we bond. I personally believe it is one of our biggest strengths and also one of our biggest sources of pain and misunderstanding when thing do not go the way we intend. Losing a job and then never hearing from the people you worked with when you've been fired, quit a job, or were laid off can be heartbreaking even when we aren't talking about romantic or friendship type relationships.

This is also not considering how many of these folx have RSD (rejection sensitivity disorder). RSD can cause struggle for a lot of folx living with it but also makes them some of the most ride or die employees a company will ever have - as long as it is not preyed upon and exploited by immature or cruel leadership.

I am not a mental health professional and you may have noticed I have not linked back up data on this from other organizations specializing in neurodiversity - I did that on purpose. It's our repsonsibility as people leaders whether indirect or direct, to learn how to best support and bring the best out of our staff. I am not at all saying at the detriment of a company or one's self. If you've read to this point, I sure hope you're tracking with me on this. My point isn't to say one person has it worse than other when it comes to unemployment or relationships. Do your research and seek resources to support you and your employees. Not just the neurotypical employees.

I know we cannot all be everything to everyone. We can however, pause and take a look at our systems in place, policies, etc. see where we can at a minimum show up better. Show up in a way that is not only focused on supporting the needs of the neurotypical human.

My point is, as humans, we are naturualy self-centered and self-focused. We often do not consider or even think to think about the type of support services we should provide others in their exit packages outside of a month or two pay, cashing out PTO if it's there to cash out, and some Cobra. For some folx, it's nothing at all. Neurotypical people can feel abandoned too, the point on that statement is that when considereding exit strategies for your employees - are you taking into considereration the indiviudal employee or is it more like a GTFO (speaking to letting one human or many humans go) with a generic package to show "we aren't shitty" to carry you over for 30 days or whatever the employer is offering? I know employers are going out of business and often struggling too. I wish employers remembered they were letting humans go more often than they actually do in their actions. I hear stories daily and so many in the past few years have been in the news. Mass layoffs and not one personal phone call or touch to acknowledge what each human brought to the employer during their time there. Promises of this that or the other are left empty and never come to fruition.

Mental Healthcare is Healthcare and should be a required coverage for six month post termination and covered by the employer if you ask me - we all know the US government is not trying to solve our mental health crisis here in America.

I said what I said. Keep reading.

Wonder Woman

If you're a job seeker and you're feeling abandoned by your former employer, leader, co-workers, etc. I SEE YOU! I SEE YOU and I want you to know that you are not alone. You have me this blog's subscribers at the very least. This is a public website so I understand why you might not want to comment, but you can also message me here or anywhere on social media. I've not been in the headspace to start a bi-monthly zoom coffee talk for job seekers but I am picking myself up from the dirt and promise it's coming. I will be able to include 10 people to start and we will see where we can grow it from there as time and finances on my part permit. More coming on that. Hoping it inspires others to start their own groups.

If you're an employer doing your best, I SEE YOU, too! If you're an employer who just can't seem to figure it out, I SEE YOU, too. We have to do better though. All of us. If you're going to employ humans, it's time you started treating your employees like humans. No two humans are alike.

I will say that again, NO TWO HUMANS ARE ALIKE.

Gen Z & Labor Market Graph sharing Market in 2025 including Values and Attraction to the Labor Market and Employers

In 2025, the labor market will consist of about 7% Baby Boomers and close to 30% of the labor market will be Gen Z. That means change. We have to stop trying to cram a square peg into a round hole and adapt to the changing labor market and needs of employees. When we know better we do better and Gen Z is going to force us to do better. It's about damn time. I thank Millennials for teaching me the importance of work life balance even though I tend to struggle with it from time to time, I no longer have guilt for prioritizing myself so I can be my best for my employer or future employer. As a proud GenXer, I am excited for how the world of work is changing between the generational differences and our technological advancements now and in the future. If we do not adapt, we will be left in the dust.

This blog post has not gone as expected. It's turned into a dear diary post like most of the others but I do hope it gave you a moment to pause and think whether you're an employer, job seeker, or anyone at any stage in the labor market. I hope it made you think.

If I leave you with anything. Please remember, you can grow flowers from where dirt used to be.

While this is not a song about the labor market or world of work, if you replace the romantic parts of it and think about the relationshop between employees and employers (don't make it weird, we are all adults here!), it might make you think some more. At the vary least, I hope you get up and dance to it at least once. You might even notice my favorite lyric of the whole song. I finmd dancing it out has helped my mental health a lot and so I leave one more song (going off theme here but it is important!). If you're a Grey's fan it is also super nostalgic.

Whether it is day one of your job search or day 402, let's buckle up, and go on this job-seeking journey together! I am here when and if you need an ear.

I sure hope I kept my word at not bright-siding, too much. I know I didn't go into major detail on mental health and the impacts it has on job seekers. I am myself afflicted. I just really hope this post means something to someoene or at a minimum makes them think about how we can all be and do better for one another. Thank you. Next post in this series coming very soon.


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Thank you for writing this, Racheal. Until this post I wasn't sure you really did see me.

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