The nation is facing an economic crisis. Throughout the pandemic, the government has been issuing unemployment benefits to practically anybody who has applied. Because of this, it has been difficult for businesses to remain open and continue operating. While unemployment benefits for those claiming COVID-19 relief have ended, the signaling of a working America is now upon us. Unfortunately, the fear of re-entering the workplace has now held applicants back from applying to the countless positions available right now. Why is that?
I can still recall what it felt like to graduate from high school and not have any idea what I wanted to do next. As a teenager, I didn’t have any need for a job. My parents pretty much paid for everything. I couldn’t possibly expect that to continue now that I was a young adult, could I? That question was swiftly answered when my mom enrolled me in a security guard card course and told me that the tuition would be the last bit of money she would ever spend on me. It was time for me to find a job and get to work. She referred me to a security agency that was hiring on an ongoing basis. Within about a week, I earned my guard card, applied with said company, and got hired.
I was to begin working at my first assigned post in approximately 1 week. I was to attend orientation first before I was put out on the field. The week prior to my orientation was perhaps, the most difficult and mentally challenging week of my young 19-year-old life as I contemplated what it will feel like to work at a job that required my attendance every 5 days of every week. Gone were Thanksgiving breaks, Christmas vacations, Spring Breaks, and 3 months off in the summer. The thought of that made me fear entering the work force, of which I no longer had a choice.
Sure, I’ll be making money, but at what cost? At the cost of my complete loss of freedom? Looking back, I went extremely overboard in my thinking, but the thought of a mundane existence and having to work did not sit well with me. Before too long, I was financing my first car purchase, had moved out of my parent’s house, and was now providing 100% of my needs. At this point, my need to work had superseded my unwillingness to work.
As I reflect on my experience of entering the work force for the very first time, I wonder why I was even afraid to begin with? Back then, I failed to focus on the positives of working.
- Earning an income that could more than sustain me; it could also provide for me the things I wanted and brought me joy.
- I could start saving for the future.
- It was the beginning of my journey to find the work I love and could dedicate my life to.
- It allowed me to grow in experience and become proficient in my chosen field. (I have worked in the security industry for almost 30 years now and currently provide marketing services for a security company in Arizona).
- It gave me the desire to reach for greater accomplishments, either in my current field or another field that would represent a greater challenge.
- It gave me purpose. If we spend almost 40% of our time at work, it is imperative that we choose a profession which stimulates professional growth, health & wellness, and a motivation to improve our skills.
Nothing in life comes easy. If you think about it, there is fear in everything you
will ever try. If you have been out of work for any length of time, getting back into the swing of things and re-entering the working life will undoubtedly feel daunting. As with anything, however, we adapt, and we move on. The journey of work can lead to many things; things we don’t realize we’re doing until we slow down and appreciate how far we’ve come.
-Omar Tarango is a Freelance Blogger and Social Media Manager-