Life Advice: Stressed and Unemployed

Dear Shan Tell’em,

 I’m a 49-year-old husband and father. I’m an IT Program Manager who has been unemployed for going on 6 months now. My unemployment benefits have ran out, and I’m in dire straits. We’re about to lose our home and overall way of life. I am very stressed, depressed and frustrated about my job search as I have had several interviews with companies, and when I get to the last interview, I do NOT receive an offer or any feedback. I had a meeting with a staffing agency who wanted to critique my interview style; this was in a conference room with 10 women, 3 of whom were executive level. They placed my resume onto a white screen and asked me the stand up and interview as I would with a company. After it was over, they gave me some good feedback and some constructive criticism, but overall, they said I did very well and couldn’t understand why I can’t get an offer. I have great mentors and a great support team, however this still does not help my unemployment situation. When I look at my family, I feel like a complete failure to them and myself. I need help. 


Stressed and Unemployed

Dear Stressed and Unemployed,

I’d like to start off by saying that I am sorry that you are dealing with this. Unfortunately, a lot of people are out of work. While the Black unemployment rate has seen a minor decline in the United States, things are still pretty tough for working Blacks, and all minorities. Since this subject deals less with love and relationships and more about life obstacles, I reached out to Jinnie Cristerna who is a licensed clinical therapist to weigh in on your issue:

“Nature abhores a vacuum. Sometimes we hold on so strongly to an image of what we want and how we want it to come to us that we “fail” to see or value the other options that are just as viable as the ones we want. When we are in situations and circumstances that bring us to the brink of losing those things that we have become accustomed to, it is often because something better is waiting, but we must let go of what we feel we can not live without. Allow yourself to be open to a new lifestyle. Perhaps it will be simpler or more modest. In the end, we will get everything we need; all we have to do is let go.”


With that being said, you cannot be too hard on yourself. Pity will serve you no purpose. Allow yourself to feel the stress, depression, frustration and anguish, but do not sulk in those spaces. Nothing is permanent, and like many tough times in your life, you will get through this. But you MUST be willing to remain tenacious. Several no’s, coupled with a resilient attitude and consistent application for work will equal one yes. And it will be the right yes too.

Often, the obstacles and challenges that we face are actually tests of deeper things. This challenge may be less about your financial tests, and more of a test of will. Instead of looking at your family and feeling like a failure, work on being grateful that you have them. I don’t say that to diminish your situation, but to encourage you to shift your perspective as a positive one works wonders in the midst of trials. You can do this. You just have to believe in yourself, your talents and your skills enough to push past the dark cloud that is hovering over your psyche. Love and positivity can conquer all.

Good luck and I wish you the best.

love pic

Got a question for Shan Tell’em? Email us at or simply comment in the section below!

Shantell E. Jamison is a Chicago-based writer, radio personality, and cultural critic. She’s also JET Magazine’s Digital Content Editor. She’s been featured on WBEZ 91.5FM, “The Monique Caradine Show,” Vocalo 91.1FM, KDKA Newsradio 1020AM, WBGX 1570AM, WYCA 102.3FM, Chicago Now, The Grio, The Black Youth Project, The Gate Newspaper and “Launching Chicago with Lenny McAllister.” Her debut book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self” is available now at