Five lessons from the unemployment line

Found these principles scrawled on a crumpled up Taco Bell napkin.

1. Life isn’t fair. Deal with it.
Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Trouble knocks early at your door when you’re still in your pajamas. The phone rings and it’s the school again. Somebody else needs to go to the hospital. Your mom wants you to fix her computer from 1,000 miles away. And somebody ate all the snacks.

For proper perspective, go read this post by Middle-Aged Mormon Man and consider this quote from Pres. Thomas S. Monson from General Conference earlier this month.

Whenever we are inclined to feel burdened down with the blows of life, let us remember that others have passed the same way, have endured, and then have overcome.

2. Stop murmuring. Stop it now.
If there were such a thing, I would so own the Murmuring Merit Badge. It used to  be so easy to complain, so easy to channel Lamen and Lemuel. Even though we profess to trust God and his plan of happiness (emphasis added), let’s complain to anybody who will listen. And not only that, Murmurers find themselves as tourism promoters for the Land of Woe. Nephi had to endure so much murmuring that he couldn’t even begin to mention all the complaining from his brothers. “Now I do not write upon these plates all the words which they murmured against me. But it sufficeth me to say, that they did seek to take away my life.”

3. Following the prophets provides a literal temporal and spiritual refuge.
Three months ago, we were prompted to cash out a sizable 401K, despite the penalty that comes with early withdrawal. We paid down significant medical debt, eliminating several bills in the process. It so tempting to take the remainder and buy some expensive toys or to travel somewhere. We could have easily done both. Instead we felt prompted to tuck it away as a c ash reserve, just in case.

One month later, I lost my job. Because we listened to the prophets and their advice on debt, we have enough cash reserves to get us by for at least a few more months.

4. Elder Bednar is right.
If you haven’t already, go back and reread his talk from last conference on “The Windows of Heaven.” The blessings from paying tithes and offerings are true. I’ve seen it so many times, even the small and subtle miracles that he mentions. I’ve posted the entire talk here for you to review again.

5. Put the gospel first.
Yes, you need education and training. Yes, you need to know the skills to find a job, because, as fathers, you are “responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” But our employment (or lack thereof) will not ultimately define us in this life. 

Back to Pres. Monson.

The history of the Church in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, is replete with the experiences of those who have struggled and yet who have remained steadfast and of good cheer. The reason? They have made the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of their lives. This is what will pull us through whatever comes our way. We will still experience difficult challenges, but we will be able to face them, to meet them head on, and to emerge victorious.

The Lord knows what we need, both temporally and spiritually. By putting him first and seeking his plan for us, we will emerge victorious. 


9 Replies to “Five lessons from the unemployment line”

  1. I love it when you write a blog. And I’m glad about your #3. I really do hope you find work soon.

  2. Well said. We’ve had a very rough few weeks in our home, my husband was furloughed over the mishegas in DC. If I have learned anything from this it is that men need to have something to do, they need to work, it is more than just a place to go and being productive, it is more than just providing for the family, its huge. I feel like I already knew this but I’ve been reminded. It makes me even more sympathetic than I was anyway to people who are out of work. I had to leave my teaching job in 04 because of circumstances beyond my control, my husband was severely disabled and very sick and the VA for all that they do was just not cutting it, he needed more care and it was impossible for me to fully rely on the Veterans administration. It was very hard for me to leave and a huge blow, it all worked out though and he was able to be rehabilitated and is back to work and instead of teaching in person I do online education which is very different but still rewarding. I’m not on the track that I was before but I am ok with the sacrifice. I feel like I “emerged victorious” as President Monson says and I know that you will too. You are awesome and I will pray for you. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Great post Mike! You’re on my prayer list with lots of other who are traveling the same road.

  4. Thank you for your post. We all need to realize that bad things happen to everyone. Every time I have been out of work, I ended up getting a better job than the one I was laid off of. Try to stay positive!

  5. Amen to all-a-dat! One time, the Lord blessed me with unemployment so that I could work in the temple and be available to comfort and spend time with my grandma who was having surgery for cancer, who didn’t live long after that. It also allowed me to get to know some distant relatives who let me live with them…the blessings that Elder Bednar alluded to…that’s what that was!

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