Sixteen years ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop with about 10 members of a newly formed job search support group. It was the third week since I was terminated from a marketing communications position at Wonderlic, Inc. I was another casualty of the nation’s slowing economy and the company’s belt-tightening.

“Someone just flew a plane into the World Trade Center towers,” one of the group said, having listened to the news report on the radio playing in the coffee shop. I remember my response vividly: “That is truly sad, and I hope that not too many people died. But we have to focus on getting jobs!”

I soon realized that I had missed both the scope of the tragedy in New York and how our world was about to be rocked. The terrorist attacks there, at the Pentagon, and the hijacked Flight 93 that crashed into a Pennsylvania field, led to a shutdown of air traffic and further weakened the nation’s economy.

Hiring dried up, then slowly resumed over the ensuing months. For me, 9/11 marked the beginning of a three-year period of under- and unemployment, the worst period of my professional career. That ended in March 2004 when I was hired by VW Credit, Inc.

Today, as the nation again honors the brave first-responders and remembers the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 9/11 attacks, I feel a small sense of uncomfortable familiarity. Due to a reorganization, my position was eliminated in March at VW Credit, and I am about six months into my search for my next communication position. While I’m grateful that the economy is in better shape than it was 16 years ago, and my professional networking efforts continue to uncover promising leads, I find myself once again with an uncertain immediate future.

I continue to hone my speaking skills and build a speaking career, but I am not at the point where that can sustain my family by itself.

But it occurred to me recently that the strength, commitment and perseverance that I and the nation showed 16 years ago will lead to positive outcomes today. In other words, faith and effort are stronger than fear and doubt.

It was important for me to remember that today, and I hope it helps someone else who reads this.