Dear Rachel,

A few months ago, I was let go from my job. I wasn’t particularly upset, as I wasn’t very happy there. I lookedI’ve become discouraged and despondent forward to using my severance for some of the things I’d been wanting to do, as well as paying off some debt. I also looked forward to starting a new chapter in my life, and finding a job I really enjoyed and was good at.

However, as the months have gone by, I’ve become discouraged and despondent. I’ve had to use my severance just to make ends meet since my Social Security payments haven’t been enough. And as I’ve faced rejection after rejection, I see that I’m going to have to end up up taking the same kind of boring job (if I’m lucky), and I won’t be able to realize the opportunity I thought this was.

Please advise,


Dear Optimistic,

Why “Optimistic”? Because to be disappointed, you had to be optimistic to begin with. You saw this change of fortune as an opportunity and looked forward to what you could do with it professionally, personally and financially. That’s a tremendous quality. I can tell you that most people don’t face unemployment as an opportunity with potential for growth.

I can understand your loss of enthusiasm as time has gone on. I’m sure that you did indeed utilize the time unemployed wisely. Maybe you relaxed a bit, reconnected with old friends and explored possibilities that had lain dormant in your mind. Those are achievements not to be dismissed.

The sages say that making a living is as difficult as splitting the sea.1 Why? Because only G‑d can do it. G‑d is the One who decides how much you’ll earn and how much you’ll need to spend. G‑d also gives you your job assignment not only based on what you can do and what you’d like to do, but where He needs you in His Organization. We have such an influence on our work environment that we are sent to where we do the most good. We don’t always know why we’ve been given particular talents and gifts, and how exactly we’re meant to benefit others. But there’s a Divine plan guiding our lives, even if we can’t see it now. Rejection is merely a Divine GPS to put us back on course.

So with that in mind, here are some tips:

Know you’re where you are because G‑d wants you there.

Since you already look at change as opportunity, examine the opportunities in your daily life (and your new job, when you get it) to actualize yourself and contribute to your environment.

Focus on the good.

Look at the positive things that came from your losing your job and write them down. Be thankful that you are no longer at a job that makes you unhappy, and look at each day as a new opportunity to capitalize on the good fortune of your new situation.

Keep working towards your dreams.

Just because you haven’t gotten to exactly where you want to be doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Make a list of the things you want to do and the steps you have to take to do them. Don’t be afraid to be flexible. If you dreamed of writing a book, you can contribute to a community newspaper. If you dreamed of being a veterinarian, you can volunteer at the local shelter or petting zoo. We can usually find ways to get some of what we want, even if it’s not exactly what we want.

Be practical.

If your resources are running low, take whatever job you can get, with the knowledge that you can keep looking even after you’ve started the job. Something better may come along a little further down the road.

Be humble.

Remember the Source of your income and your job. Pray for what you need and want, and have faith that you’ll get the best circumstances for you.

Endorse and reinforce yourself.

You’ve really been optimistic and brave and proactive, and those are tremendous character traits. Give yourself credit and look at the other ways this experience has been character-building. We all deserve recognition for our efforts and achievements, and sometimes that means giving it to ourselves. Make sure to pamper yourself in small ways, and remind yourself that you are of value with or without a paycheck.

Wishing you success and fulfillment in whatever you do,