4 Unexpected Blessings of Unemployment

4 Unexpected Blessings of Unemployment

I grew up with a father who worked in the fickle world of pharmaceutical sales. We went through several periods where my father didn’t have a job, and those moments of anxiety and uncertainty were the most devastating times for me. I vowed I would never be in the same position when I had kids.

Fast forward many years. My husband graduated with a master's in business administration from a top MBA program in December of 2014. We weren’t too worried when he didn’t have a job upon graduation. Over the last three years, roughly 95 percent of the MBA candidates from his school have a job within 90 days of graduating. 

That day came and went at the end of March. 

And while my husband has had many job interviews and prospects, we are still waiting for an official offer.

So here we are, over four months past graduation, and my smart and talented husband doesn’t have a job yet. While this is definitely a trial of faith, here are some unexpected blessings we’ve discovered while on the hunt for a job.

Enthusiasm for Temple Work

With two little girls and a job working from home, my family barely made it to the temple once a month while my husband was in school. But now that our days are less hectic, we make the 90-minute trek to the Houston Texas Temple almost every week. We have both, for the first time ever, finally figured out how to navigate FamilySearch.org and found ancestors that needed their temple work done. We are teaching our children that we love the temple, and they are excited to go. Our love for the temple, family history work, and especially our Savior Jesus Christ has greatly increased because of the time we’ve spent serving in the temple. 

Being Financially Blessed and Learning to Budget

My husband had to decide between two MBA programs—one in Utah and one in Texas. We both felt really good about going to Texas, but that meant giving up my cherished part-time job at a local news station in Salt Lake City. I sadly said goodbye in July 2013.

However, that goodbye was short-lived. A month after moving to Texas, I was offered an official work-from-home job with guaranteed hours to continue working for the local news station back in Utah. So while my husband has been looking for a job, I work almost 30 hours at home. The Lord knew we would need the money during school, and especially after school, and He has blessed us with this extra income.

Our lives have not drastically changed since my husband graduated. We still basically live as we did while grad school students. We continue to pay our tithing and fast offerings every month. We keep to a strict budget, but it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. We are learning to be even more frugal with our money, and this knowledge will help us quickly get out of school loan debt once my husband is employed full-time.

Christlike Compassion for Others in the Same Situation

I thought I already had compassion for people who didn’t have a job because it happened in my own family growing up. But this situation has given me a greater sense of love for anyone who struggles with unemployment. It’s not because my husband doesn’t try hard enough or isn’t smart enough or isn’t employable—it’s just the hand we’ve been dealt. I hope we retain this perspective and help others who struggle with unemployment when we can for the rest of our lives.

Spiritual Strength for Every Member of Our Family

Trying to have family home evening and nightly scripture study and prayer can be nearly impossible with loud, fidgety, head-strong toddlers. But since January, we’ve made it a non-negotiable fact that this is what our family does, regardless of harried parents and toddler attitudes. 

My dad often reminds me of the talk given by Elder Bednar at the April 2010 general conference, where he said, “Youth of all ages, even infants, can and do respond to the distinctive spirit of the Book of Mormon.” I’ve seen this in our home. Our 2-year-old and 3-year-old are excited to read the Book of Mormon now and are beginning to understand that this book is about Jesus. The spirit that is in our home from reading scriptures and saying prayers every day has helped my husband and me to be more patient parents with our sweet but mischievous toddlers, more loving towards one another, and more Christlike and charitable towards our friends and neighbors. 

Despite living my “worst nightmare,” I’ve never felt more peace and comfort from the Lord. I’ve had a few bad days where I’ve felt discouraged and thought our situation was unfair, but I’ve been able to bounce back through tender mercies of the Lord. 

After one particularly discouraging day at the end of March, I performed sealings in the Houston Temple. I prayed hard in the celestial room for the Lord to let me know when a job offer was going to come, and I hoped for reassurance it was going to be soon. I was yearning to feel hope. I was disappointed I didn’t feel anything until I flipped open the Bible to Romans 15:4, which said “that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

I felt like the Lord was telling me to be patient and showing me the path to feeling peace and comfort, even in my darkest of times. Temple work and scriptures are my lifeline right now and really pull me up when I feel down.

My husband has been a rock during these times. His faith never wavers, and he is always sure Heavenly Father and Jesus are aware of us and have a plan for us. 

I keep returning to one of my favorite scriptures when I need a little pick-me-up: 

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” (John 14:27).

I know despite our situation, we’ve been blessed hourly with peace and comfort directly from our Savior, and I have never been so grateful for a trial in my life.

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