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Are you one of those rare people who have never been out of work?

You have always had a job or could always get one easily.

Nursing is one profession that I can think of where this applies. Maybe it is that way in any area of the medical industry. At least for now.

Two different nurses have read Accidental Sabbatical and given me feedback. One woman said that it humbled her, because she had never known how it feels to be unemployed… her husband had been out of work and while they had worked through it together, she had never really known how it affected his psyche and self-esteem. The second woman really had no frame of reference to relate, so she could be sympathetic, but was unable to really be empathetic.

What is the difference? Here is how Diffen.com explains it:

Empathy is the ability to mutually experience the thoughts, emotions, and direct experience of others. It goes beyond sympathy, which is a feeling of care and understanding for the suffering of others. Both words have similar usage but differ in their emotional meaning.

Is there another occupation that does not know what unemployment feels like?

What do you do to better empathize with someone facing a challenge you never have faced personally?