Trees of Transition

Comfort for people going through life transitions by sharing thoughts, photos, cards, and recipes.


How to Support Your Spouse through Job Loss

As I was changing my son’s diaper, my husband walked in and hugged me, saying, “I will be home tomorrow” (when a big snow storm was coming through). I asked, “Will you work from home?”  As he pulled me closer, he said, “Well, sort of…I got laid off today.” The joy of knowing he would be safely at home with me during the snow storm added joy to the whole situation and even though losing a job is not what was planned, I felt peace. From that 8th day of February, 2018 until he started his new job on Tuesday, April 17th, I learned more how to support a spouse during job loss, job hunt, and relocating for a new job. Both of us had lost jobs before, but it was a growing experience to go through job loss together. I was controlling and fearful at times, but overall it was a helpful experience.

What were some of the things I did to support him and that you can do to support a spouse that is unemployed?

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Navigating Unemployment: It CAN be a Fun Time or “Funemployment”


No job? No money (and that seems like it would be no fun.) A few weeks into my unemployment a friend told me the concept of “Fun-employment,” that is, choosing to have a lot of fun while being without regular work. So I tried it! I walked by the lake, visited my nephew for days, and wrote a book. I started dating a wonderful guy, and then found a fulfilling job that has more opportunities than the job I lost. Fun-employment works.

How can we prepare so that unexpected unemployment can be a time of growth, fun, and healing instead of fear and panic?

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Top Ten Activities to Restore Hope After Job Loss

During this transition time, these activities have helped me greatly:

10. Run Toward Love. After I was fired, I drove out to my parents’ home where they served me pot roast and just let me cry, tell my story multiple times, and love me.
9. Take Someone with YouIf you still have to clear out your classroom or cubicle, take a loving person with you to finish off the job of clearing out your things. My Mom accompanied me; it helped to have a cheerleader.
8. Unpack Your Boxes and Reorganize Your Life. I let the boxes from work sit there for a week, then I tackled the project of finding spots for all those books. Just face into the boxes and start creating new life rhythms by putting your favorite work objects around your home.
7. Connect with Loving Co-workers, if possibleI communicated with several people at my old job about what happened, and it surprised me how compassionate they were! Several wrote me emails and cards full of truth and encouragement. One former co-worker brought chocolate and came over to talk; it was hard, but helpful to hear her opinion. Multiple people encouraged me to not let this situation jade me toward teaching, and told me “You ARE a good teacher.” Their words helped pull the poison out of the wound the job loss had afflicted. Because that co-worker had more objective viewpoint right then, she helped me know what I could say about the job loss. I’m so thankful for her coaching.
6. Go Away for a Few Days. Yes, file for unemployment as soon as possible, but you just need time away for a bit to let down so that you can heal. I visited my brother and his family the week after my job ended, and it was there, surrounded by love that I had the strength to file for unemployment. Filing and retelling the story was hard and very humbling, but it helped me process the trauma. Hugs from my one-year-old nephew, and then an invitation from my sister-in-law to stay for four days instead of one was healing balm. My mind could let down, forget what happened for a while, and just rest, play, and love.
5. Create a New Life Structure. Get up early on work days. Apply for jobs, go network, and let job hunting be your new “work.” Have hope; you will get another job.
4. ExerciseI planned exercise into my day because it relieved stress, and brought me joy! Go run by the lake or plan to go dancing.
3. Maximize Your Networks. Yes, sign up and use networking and job hunting sites, but also connect with people in person. I went to my grad school’s career office, and they loaned me career books (a great one is The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People by Carol Eikleberry), critiqued my resume, and supported me in thinking about different career choices. They helped me know it’s fine to try something different, like floral design…
2. Do What You Love and Feel Your FeelingsI read, I sang, I cooked. I took floral design classes, and I started writing a book. I cried, felt sad, shouted with anger, ached with loss, and chose to forgive. Then a tutoring job came!
1. Believe and Know That You Are Loved Just As You AreYes, sudden job loss wounds your heart and your confidence. Yes, you need time to heal, but while you are healing, just know that there is a plan for you designed by the Great Creator. Know that you are loved. You are not your job; you are of full value just as you are.
Copyright 2014 by M. H. Campbell

Careful Nurture

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“…it is not the cunning careerist who wins in the end. It is the careful nurturer who tends his garden daily and grows the most natural, organic, and unforced flowers.”
-Henry Geldzahler


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The End of Hodge-Podge Jobs and Vacuuming up Dog Toenails

What do peanut M&Ms, cat fur, and a peaceful farmhouse all have in common?

Working at an animal hospital! They aren’t all mixed together, of course.

I didn’t figure out what all the little black bumps were that would rattle up the vacuum tube for a while. Then I shouted out “Ewwwwww!” When I realized they were dog toenails!

Some seasons of life are more thrown together than others. Two years ago I needed a second part-time job to supplement my first part-time job. I asked at a dinner my friends, who are vets, if they were hiring. They were!

It took the business manager weeks to contact me, and by that time I had picked up a tutoring job, but I was open to more work, so a rather big patch got sewn into my crazy quilt of employment.

I’ve had quite the adventures there: Before my boss told me I couldn’t bring in people to help me clean, I dragged several people in. The first guy was a date who wanted to take me dancing, but who I told I couldn’t go unless he helped me get the cleaning done. Oh, wow… Let’s just say I saw that guy walking with another girl the next day. Singing at the top of my voice and dancing around with a mop was fun.

I also dragged my Mom, several friends, and my former boyfriend to clean bathrooms, vacuum, and mop the old farmhouse-turned animal hospital.

Over the two years, I’ve gotten off the time clock to have important talks and text exchanges with family, boyfriends, and potential boyfriends.

I had to clean after 7:30pm on Tuesday and Thursday nights and anytime after 12:30 on Saturdays. I’ve mopped into the wee hours of the morning, but have kept going because of the snack cupboard and ginger ale and water in the fridge.

I must have had a junk food deficiency from being raised by a health-foodie, so their snack cupboard full of M&Ms, snickers, cheese it’s, Doritos, almonds, carmel, and popcorn satisfied that debt.

I have described the job as, “I’m getting paid to listen to podcasts!” At the start I would sing to keep me awake, now I tend to listen to money and relationship advice on podcasts.

This job was my first job to ever get vacation pay or a bonus gift because the business is doing well.

Now that I have found a full-time teaching job with benefits, it’s time to let this job go!

I will miss the peaceful, country-ness it brought to my life, the kind support from my bosses, the snacks, but I will NOT miss cleaning up the spatters of blood and the dog toenails!


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Doing What You’re Made to Do

I’m getting the feeling that we can do a lot of things, but there are certain things that we were created to do. I grew up with a handyman for a father, and so I subconsciously picked up that it is best to be able to do a lot of things a little bit: farming, carpentry, mechanic, plumper, electrician… For my Dad, that is his choice of what is best.

Now, I’m learning what is best for me is to pay attention to what I have focused on: Teaching and writing. Those are things I’m made to do! I’m working on figuring out the percentages of how much to do each one as a part of my life, but those are the things I fill my life with: teaching and writing.

Seeing that it is GOOD to work out of your strengths is new to me. At times we have to just do something to survive, but as we come out of survival mode, then we can relax, strengthen, and work out of what we do best.

Admitting to what I really what I want to do, not just what I think I should do because I’m capable is a new thing for me. Living out of our strengths makes our lives more vibrant, strong, life-giving.

Currently I’m in the transition between doing what I think I should do and what I want to do. It’s a mixture right now and sometimes I’m not sure what I want. Probably there are always parts of life that are in this place…but sometimes we can work at a place which we love and where we are using our full strength.

Reality verses what you really want is usually different, but knowing your preference and top choice is important! Then you have to compromise, strive and choose to be content right where you are at as you keep moving upward.

I’m seeing that even when you get your top choice, you have to choose to be content there too. It’s finding the right balance between self-awareness and desires, willingness to sacrifice for others, and where you are being led. It’s a tricky balance I’m on a journey to figure out, and I’m excited to see where it leads.