Jobless Women and the Pandemic

Numerous articles have come out in the last few months about joblessness and how it disproportionally affects women. I caught an article on LinkedIn where the numbers were staggering. The number of unemployed people were well over 150,000. The number escapes me at the moment. But the one part that stood out is that only 16,000 men made up this number.

As I googled to try to find this article and give the specific numbers I read, there was an uncharacteristically high number of articles on this. The one striking line I found in a Washington Post article was that "the pandemic has wiped out the job gains women made over the past decade, just months after women reached the majority of the paid U.S. workforce for only the second time in American history."

As a woman, that astounded me. I reached out to a former colleague yesterday who was part of a layoff this year. The mutual understanding of "what now" was obvious. Having been in a similar situation, plus talking to clients, the one question I now ask is "who are you without the label of….?"

Women wrap themselves up in being something to someone or something. Career woman, Mom, Wife, Daughter, Employee, Friend…. the list goes on and on. And this isn't a bad thing. Many people I've worked with have felt this way and whether or not you're an empty nester or newly unemployed, you feel lost. A piece of you is left unfulfilled, especially when it's something you really enjoy.

My advice? Take the time to heal. When I went through a similar experience at the beginning of my career, I didn't know if I wanted to stay in my industry. I decided to take a Real Estate course to explore that. I found that I didn't love it the way I did with my current career. I never went further and don't regret making that decision. But I had to figure out what I wanted to do. I didn't lose anything for trying. It just made my decision clearer.

Next, Journal. Do it in the morning. Let your hand just write. It doesn't have to be on any topic, but it can be really relieving to just get things off your chest that you're carrying around. Whether it's something you're grateful for or frustrated about, it will help.

Lastly, partake in Self Care. Before the pandemic hit, we were a society of busy people running from thing to thing. I was guilty of it and felt much more relieved when the longest travel I had to do was run from one floor of our home to the next. We slowed down and really embraced what was important. Now who doesn't have time for that 10 minute charcoal mask you bought from your Mary Kay person a year ago?

We are so wrapped up in who we need to be for others. Take this time to figure out who you are without the labels. Are you a giver? Are you adventurous? Are you an artist? It's ok to be any of those and more! And sometimes, you are in different ways than the norm! That's ok too! And it's also ok to trip, dust yourself off and find your way. No one expects perfection. Give yourself that break. You deserve it.

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