We’ve been unemployed. A lot. More than we like to talk about because, well, unemployment hurts.
Unemployment is a soul-crushing pain. Something that right now, 1 in 25 people are experiencing in our country.
Which in our lifetime, our country saw its second highest unemployment rate in the last fifty years; ten percent of the U.S. was unemployed–hello, recession!
We knew that when we graduated in 2012 that unemployment very well could happen to us. And it did.
I’ll tell you our story, but you need to know before I share the big, ugly saga, that this is ultimately a story of gratitude.
Our Unemployment Story
In December 2012, we graduated with two shiny and brand-spanking new bachelor degrees. We moved in with family in Salt Lake City expecting jobs to follow quickly after the move. I dove into student teaching and trusted a job would be easy to attain.
In my case, it was.
We blindly, and completely on faith, moved back to Idaho–where within 24 hours I was hired to teach at our Alma Mater. It felt like an affirmation that at least I was where I needed to be. I’ve been working for BYUI since 2013, but for Adam–a newly minted marketing manager, he couldn’t find a job in his field for eight months. It was heartbreaking, and we couldn’t figure out why. In August 2013, Adam was hired as a digital marketing coordinator at Netmark, where he joyfully worked for two years.
Just when we felt stable, and only five weeks after we welcomed our son into our family, Adam’s company nearly folded: they laid off 75% of their employees. We were heartbroken. And I fell deeper into my postpartum depression.
We prayed, and again, blindly moved to California.
Adam found a job at a company that doesn’t even deserve to be named–because they did shady shiz. He worked there for a year and a half–only for us to be hit with our hardest bout of unemployment yet.
He left the company, and we entered into six long months of no plan and no job. We applied for 167 positions in California. Adam interviewed at 22 different companies. No job offer.
By April 2017, we were broken and burnt out. We prayed and found the answer in DevMountain, which would require us to live apart from one another for up to six months. Adam completed the web development program and found a job within two weeks of completion with a startup in Utah. He worked there for six months before they admitted they grew too quickly and played off 2/3 of their employees.
This broke my husband. Broke him. In our son’s three years of life, he had been laid off three times: two of those times were completely due to a company’s lack of financial success.
My husband has never been afforded the luxury of walking away from a job on his own terms. And it is a luxury–that is something that these last several years have taught me.
Walking away from a job on your own terms in a luxury that no on talks about.
He and I faced all kinds of PTSD: would we have to move in with family again? how many applications would it take this time? how many times would our hopes be raised and crushed? how many arguments would we get in because we feel overwhelmed?
I hugged him more. I held my tongue more. I approached everything with sensitivity because I knew what he was facing was hard. In our marriage, we’ve always talked about how I don’t mind contributing to our family’s income, and I am glad to contribute. I let him know that this doesn’t have to sit on him. I wanted to help. That’s what marriage is about.
This go around, we really only had two true weeks of unemployment.
Seeing the light at the end
He spent two weeks coding a new portfolio and two weeks interviewing.
He landed a paid internship at corporate Younique. It’s a dream position. We had a week of celebration before he started. We felt like we could breathe–and laugh and live.
We are grateful. We cried big, giant gratitude tears (and by we, I mean mostly me, but Adam did tear up–his equivalent). We danced and celebrated. We called everyone who had been praying for us (that we knew of–and trust me, I felt the prayers of many more who I didn’t know were praying for us).
I feel like we needed to experience this in order to grow. It sucks that it’s the same trial repeatedly, but I know that we are unrivaled support provided by our family and friends. #IAmFreakingGrateful
It was hard. Don’t get me wrong.
People will never see is me, sucking up my pride and walking into a variety of offices to apply for state assistance, unknowing whether or not he would be out of a job for a month or months. People will never see the tears we cried or the prayers we offered, but I write all of this because I know that there are so many people experiencing this, thinking they’re alone.
You are not alone. This is normal. This is adulthood. This is life.
This is a series about unemployment. Related posts will be linked below as they are written: Supporting Your Spouse Through Unemployment, Embrace the Suck: Unemployment, etc.