Emptiness Of Unemployment
Posted by Dr. Vollmer on December 12, 2013
Shayna, twenty-three has never perceived a bump in her road. She did well in school, went to an Ivy League college, majored in a humanity, and is now searching for a job in the publishing business, knowing well that the business is drying up and her prospects are poor. She has returned to her parent’s house, with contentment. She is not burning to move out, or to move on, for that matter. Her life feels “empty” but not “boring”. She entertains herself with her friends who are in similar situations. She could go to graduate school, but “why should I waste all that money?” She tells me, as if she is echoing her parents. She has a boyfriend in town, who is hard-working, at a steady job in the technology world, and he pays for their entertainment, but “I am not comfortable,” she says, expressing ambivalence about their financial inequality. “Maybe you are scared you won’t find the job that satisfies you, so you are stuck in a place where movement is more threatening than stasis.” I say, highlighting her apparent challenge to become an adult and commit to a profession which both makes her happy and provides financial independence. ” I do not feel fear,” she says directly, “but I do feel stuck,” she responds, letting me know that her surface is paralysis, and under that surface is foggy to her. “I guess I am scared,” she continues, as she thinks about my comment. “I have never not gotten what I wanted, so I am not sure how I cope with disappointment,” she says with admirable candor and courage. “Maybe the adventure is to be open to coping with disappointment and/or enjoying your next chapter.” I say, highlighting her uncertainty that she may get rejected from jobs, and/or she may not like the job she lands. “I am stuck now,” she says, “but I am also afraid of getting stuck in a job that makes all my time feel wasted and not creative,” she says opening up our discussion of her inhibitions and her fears. “Which kind of stuck do you prefer?” I say, encouraging her to make more conscious choices about her behavior, as right now she seems to be unconsciously choosing to not pursue jobs very aggressively in order not to land a job which makes her feel like she is selling her soul. “I guess I prefer my current situation,” she says, with hesitation and uncertainty about her response. Stasis versus movement, comes to my mind. Inertia is powerful, and yet upon reflection, can feel like a wasted opportunity. “We need to think about this more deeply,” I say, as I toy with how to approach her fear-based inertia.