Spirits of The Unemployed

Hello!  I’m introducing a new feature on my blog where I’ll dedicate a few postings to brief interviews with unemployed individuals whom I find admirable!

John O’Brien is my first feature profile.  John and I were in the NBC Page Program together for a few months between 2007 and 2008.  I always took note of how he never let anything get the best of him.  His sense of humor always shines through!

What are your own personal tips for keeping your spirits bright during the Holiday season?

I think it’s important to look at everything from a big picture point of view.  Sure, I’m unemployed now, and it stinks, but at the same time, it could all turn around really quickly.  Plus being unemployed leads to everyone in your family saying “Oh, you don’t need to get me present.”  Now they’ll be much more surprised when I get them something crappy.

In your opinion, what is the biggest myth about being unemployed?

There’s certainly a stigma about being unemployed.  At first I was almost embarrassed to tell people, but I’ve come around.  It is what it is.  People always assume I was fired or laid off though, and I wasn’t!  That’s the worst.

What is the best advice you would give others in your situation?

Always remain positive.  I’ve had countless interviews, informationals, etc., and sometimes it seems like nothing has come out of it.  This is not the case.  I have met people who may not have hired me, but certainly liked me and will remember me.  Every chance to meet someone in your desired field is a great opportunity, even if it doesn’t seem that way at first.

What motto, phrase, or quote do you live by during these times?

My high school’s motto was “Succisa Virescit” which is Latin for “If you cut me down, I’ll grow back stronger.”  I live my life by this motto in good times and bad.

What piece of advice would you give to the friends and family of those who are unemployed?

I’m lucky enough to have a close knit family who understands that I have just hit a little bit of a bad patch.  They are not judgmental or brash in anyway.  They offer positive support and go out of their way to offer a helping hand.  It’s important to be supportive and stay positive for the sake of your loved one struggling to find a job.

Favorite Christmas Song?

I consider there to be two very different categories of Christmas tunes.  The first is the old school classics that you can hear at Christmas mass.  My favorite of these would be “Hark! The Herald Angel Sing” or “Joy to the World.”  In terms of more contemporary/poppy Christmas songs, I like The Pogues “Fairytale of New York” (despite being depressing) and Elton John’s “Step into Christmas” makes me happy.

Favorite Christmas Cookie?

Every Christmas my mom buys a contemporary twist on the classic gingerbread man.  It is two gingerbread men with vanilla ice cream in the middle.  I’m not sure it qualifies as a cookie but it’s delicious and makes me fat.

Favorite Christmas Movie?

It would have to be a tie between “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” (which I still watch every year with my siblings, ages 27 and 31) and “A Christmas Story.”  There’s so many close runner ups though; “The Grinch” (cartoon of course), “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “Home Alone,” and clay-mation “Rudolph.”

Have you visited Zippy in Santaland yet?


Thanks, John!  Check out his blog here:   The Hair Of The Blog That Bit You



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