Today marks the first anniversary of my unemployment. For me, it is a somber reminder of what is going on in the national economy where millions share my story of long-term unemployment. Unemployment is one of the most humbling and terrifying experiences a person can endure. It is also one of the most liberating and bountiful experiences where new and exciting possibilities can present themselves almost daily.
My journey of unemployment has allowed me the time to solidify what’s really important and what’s not. What has always mattered most to me have been my relationships. Life is all about relationships. In my career, I have always applied more efforts and value to my relationships and how I treat others; even at the expense of technical skills or “hard skills”. To me, it’s simply more lasting and important. When I’m with other people, I want to be engaged and present. When I’m networking, I am establishing meaningful relationships, not just asking for job leads and contacts. Developing relationships requires effort and commitment. It’s worth it. Every minute of it. When you die, and others remember you, how many will talk about the position you held at some company or your technical or educational prowess? People will remember you by your character and how you treated others. They will remember you by how they felt when they were in your company. They will remember the relationship they had with you and they will grieve a deep friendship that has expired.