Identity Crisis

In my recent post The End of the American Dream?, I considered the seeming hopelessness of the economic future of the working and middle class. In the same article, Former Gov. Florio makes the statement “Working –class people without work lose their very identity.

I was a banker but I am now unemployed.  If I am no longer a banker, then I have no professional identity. I am content to re-invent myself but in what capacity?  Opportunity seems to be lacking in many industries.  I lack direction and don’t know how to create a new path for my life.

I lost my job four months prior to Stephen’s death.  In the first months after his death, I felt only grief for Stephen.  I continue to feel that grief and this prolonged period of unemployment is taking its toll on my sense of self.  I had purpose as Stephen’s partner and wife and as an employee for one company for 18 years.  In very little time, my purpose seems to have ended.  I’m too young to retire but painfully feel the awkward moment when someone asks me “What do you do for a living?”  Even more daunting are the application and interview questions, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” “What unique qualities will you bring to this company?” These questions seem inane for a person my age applying for entry-level or minimum wage jobs.  I’m fortunate that the interviewer can’t hear the smart-ass answers that I keep to myself as I make up lame responses that they want to hear.

Reading my words and talking about my unemployment make me feel so negative. But I can’t seem to see the positive in the every day drudgery of job hunting.  I’m not very good at feeling something that isn’t there.

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