According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of June, the unemployment rate was 8.2 percent and millions of people remain without jobs in America.
For many, the only skills they have developed in their lives have become obsolete or been shipped abroad. Unemployment benefits are not sufficient to maintain their way of life until they secure other employment. They start sinking into personal debt. Worse, they often sink into personal despair.
Faced with a challenge they never thought they would encounter, many don't know what to do, or how to reinvent themselves to better appeal to the current job market. Once the realization sets in that the income they came to depend on will never be replaced unless they do something different, some go back to school in search of new degrees that have more promise for employment. Technical and other schools are great places for many to consider if they take the ancient advice of Spartacus and "admit defeat quickly." For some, who cannot fathom going back to school, let alone figure out how to pay for it, life grows difficult, and fast.
Interestingly, when faced with the shocking reality that they need to change career focus, some decide to use the moment as an opportunity to do things they always dreamed about; such as Greg Kaminski, an unemployed auto worker who decided to go into teaching and coaching sports. He reasoned that if he wouldn't be able to find a job at something that would pay him the same amount of money he was used to making, he might as well be doing the things he enjoys.
Many, in times of struggle, turn to God, not only for heavenly support to get through the hardship of unemployment, but they turn their lives and energy over to God for whatever good purpose God puts before them next.
Some 1 million visitors each month consult www.Christianet.com to search for purpose-driven jobs. Another popular site is www.jobrapido.com, which boasts some one hundred thousand "God jobs." In the Jewish community www.JewishJobs.com has hundreds of current job listings, as does www.JewishCareers.com.
The number of older workers, 55 and over, has been hovering near 7 percent since the beginning of the recession, and it is harder to find employment with advancing age. The age group just under that is difficult to understand. The 25-54 age range, which is the largest group of unemployed by numbers, would be better broken into decades to see the trends more clearly among them. Since such a large age range is measured in one group, it would be hard to see which ones in this group are more easily changing direction and adapting, which ones are making trade-offs of lifestyle for income, and which of these are the ones going to work for God.
As we grow older do we bring God into focus more in our lives? Are those with their mortgages paid off and with their kids through college more likely to try something in the greater-good arena?
Religious institutions have long been criticized as moneymaking machines and some of them rightly so. But much work that emerges as God or "purpose driven" is absolutely for-profit enterprise, such as Jewish travel services and Christian music sales. Some is just good old-fashioned community service that people can attach their own meaning to, and some is highly creative, such as Christian programming on the TV or Internet.
There seem to be many options for God's people, wherever they are in their career paths.
Whether one considers these moments of unwanted change a challenge or an opportunity, it undoubtedly helps to have a positive attitude to secure better employment footing.
Depending on attitude, the chance to reset one's journey and restack one's priorities can be crushing and immobilizing or wonderful blessings in disguise.
Hopefully the economy will pick up soon, but for anyone who might need a little attitude boost here are a few easy clicks toward optimism: