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Unemployment - A Golden Opportunity

Unemployment is a painful experience. At times it can feel as though no one wants you. You can feel that you will never get a job. You can feel like you're going to be stuck in your present unemployed state forever.

I know the feeling of unemployment. I have been unemployed before, and I wrote about one of my experiences in the book How to Build Wealth and at more length in the book Gainful Employment. Unemployment can be painful, but one of the most overlooked truths about unemployment is that unemployment can be an incredibly profitable opportunity.

When I was unemployed, I did the only thing that I could do - besides keep looking for a job. I made myself more valuable. That is right; I became more valuable while I was unemployed. How did I do that? I increased my education.

If you have read the book Gainful Employment, then you will know that there are four qualities that employers look for. Employers look for experience, education, personality, and character. If you have the four qualities that employers seek, then you have value and employers want you. It does not matter if the unemployment rate is 38 percent. If you have the experience, education, personality, and character that an employer needs, then you will be hired and you will be retained. Why? You meet the needs of your employer.

Knowing this, I chose to increase my education. I was actively seeking employment, but it was not forthcoming. So, I set out to learn more about my field. As my field was computers, and more specifically network administration, I asked the question "what education would help me to be more marketable to an employer?" The answer that I arrived at was Microsoft's MCSE certification. That certification consisted of multiple exams that, when passed, would confer the certification.

The MCSE was and still is a certification that employers actively seek when they want to recruit a Network Administrator. I believed that if I could attain the MCSE certification that I would have an easier time finding the job that I desired. I already had a Bachelor's degree in Information Technology, but I knew that the certification also carried a lot of weight as it showed specifics that an employer would need.

So, I set out studying for the certification. How did I do it? I did it cheaply. Remember, I was unemployed. I did not have the cash to spend to send myself for formal training. I did have enough cash to buy the books to study, however. And, that was what I did. I bought about a dozen or so books related to the certification and read them. I devoted myself to getting that certification and getting it cheaply because I knew that it would help me in the future.

Yet, don't let me fool you. Of all things that I've ever done, this might be the single most painful thing I've ever done. I have experienced no shortage of mentally challenging obstacles, but this was probably one of the worst, if not the worst. Why? I was unemployed. I could not find a job and it felt like life was passing by. I was already dissatisfied and depressed about not having a job. What could only make it "better?" Reading dry, boring, technical manuals - how satisfying!

Oh, and making maters worse, I failed one out of three tests and had to take them over. Instead of seven tests, I had to take ten - and I had to pay to take ten of them.

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