Six months ago I would have answered this question with pride, “I am a Marriage and Family Therapist.” Now, I am seized by nerves because I am unemployed. I feel even more conflicted because I am technically fulfilling the role of housewife right now. So why does this bother me? It’s because when I am asked what I do for a living, I am uncomfortable due to my own inner conflict about my personal and professional identities. I am accustomed to being employed and financially independent, which makes being unemployed and more financially dependent than I would like, a humbling experience.
“When you lose your job, not only is your usual source of income gone, but also your personal work relationships, daily structures, and an important sense of self-purpose. Unemployment can be, and often is, a shock to your whole system. You can experience some of the same feelings and stresses that you would if you were seriously injured, going through a divorce, or mourning the loss of a loved one. You can go through some or all of the stages of grieving just as you would with any other major loss.”Canadian Mental Health Association
“Have you found a job yet?”
With the shift of my employment status, I experience a bit of embarrassment each time I speak to family and friends and they asked, “Have you found a job yet?” While I understand there is no intent to harm, my ego feels the weight with each inquiry. My ego informs me that I deserve to have the best of the best, but my reality says: “You don’t even have a job.”
Logically, I know that sooner or later I will find employment based on my enthusiasm for my profession, networking skills and shear drive as a woman. Equally so, I recognize that I am blessed to be married to a hard-working man, which cushions the financial constraint and because of this, I am in the position to pursue my creative desires. Yet, in spite of recognizing the logic of the situation, I still cannot help but feel like I am personally lacking because I am not financially contributing to our household. I have adopted the belief that unless I am working in the traditional sense, nothing I do has value, unless there is a dollar amount attached to it.
In truth, the crux of my problem is that I allowed my professional role to be the greatest representation of who I am, instead of a part of who I am; and now that I have transitioned into a different space, I am floundering trying to figure out who I am outside of my professional capacity.
Seasons of Life
Taking the time and space to sit with myself and examine my feelings allowed me to see that in this season of being unemployed, I wasn’t able to find honor in this new role of housewife. In truth: I resented it. I felt like my “talents” were being wasted. My ego and the attachment to my professional identity, prevented me from seeing beyond the role and the benefits this season is currently offering me. Yet, it is in this stage of life that I am afforded the most priceless commodity: TIME. I have been wanting to start this blog since 2014. I laid down the groundwork back then, but I was caught up with other professional endeavors, and was unable to bring life into my vision.
Being a housewife has afforded me the time to make our apartment livable by allowing me to carefully and thoughtfully select the right items for our new home, instead of struggling to muster the energy to do so after a long day of seeing clients. Being a housewife has afforded me the time to get lost and experience this city, that would have never been possible had I been caught up with work responsibilities. Being a housewife has afforded me a unique opportunity to slow down and spend time with me, as I adjust to this new city, new home and new chapter of my life.
No matter what you do, it has an impact on various levels because it all matters. Whether you are a post-graduate working in a position completely out of your field, someone returning to the workforce after an extended break, or even a retiree, there is honor every role. When we allow our titles to dictate our influence, we cloud the impact that we can ultimately have.
Much of who we are is compounded by what we do, but we are more than that. Extend grace to yourself during the seasons of your life by recognizing this is a temporary stage; seasons always change. Yesterday is not today, and tomorrow is yet to come. Remind yourself that there are benefits to where you currently are in life. Take time to sit with yourself and figure out what can be accomplished. Keep at the forefront of your mind, that you are where you need to be right now, and no title or role can dictate your impact and potential once you have a grasp of who you are at the core.