We are in tough times here in Alberta.
I know this because the media reminds us daily.
The news they report is a gloomy and the total number of jobs lost in the province this year is constantly rising with no end in sight.
The loss of a job is, for many of these people, cause for deep anxiety and stress as we all understand that the loss of an income has no bearing on the continuing requirement for bills to be paid.
My daily interactions with clients includes a growing number who have gone to work early in the morning only to find themselves back home by noon, unemployed and, in some cases, stunned by the inhumane way in which they have been unceremoniously treated by companies where they have toiled for many years.
These recent victims of this economic downturn all seem to place themselves into one of three categories.
The Category One group are those who go straight into despair and seem unwilling or unable to drag themselves out of it.
These poor folks are devastated by their new reality and their days appear to be focused on all the terrible things that job loss will bring into their future and the devastating effects this is going to have on themselves and their families.
Some of the folks in this category have locked themselves into a mindset which only allows for discussion of two topics: how bad things are and how bad they are going to be.
The Category Two group seem to have resigned themselves to their new reality and are adapting to it by ignoring it and pretending that “things will get back to normal soon”.
I get the impression, in talking some of these folks, that they are in a form of denial and fully expect to be called back to work by their employers at any moment.
They seem unaffected by their plight and I get the view that some of them are of the opinion that “If I ignore it, it will simply go away.”
And then there is the Category Three group.
This groups appears to be comprised of people who, upon learning of the job loss, allow themselves a short time for anger, fury, despair, anxiety, and other emotions generally associated with the grieving of a job loss and then galvanize themselves into action.
Allow me to share with you the story of one of these people as her story is very similar to those of everyone I have met in Category Three.
Let’s call her Lucy.
Lucy says the first few days after being “thrown overboard like a piece of garbage” was spent as described above. The first couple of days were filled with thoughts of lawsuits, fury at the way she’d been inexplicably escorted out of the building, anger at her former bosses for not having the courage to speak with her or contact her, and vengeful as she contemplated ways of “getting even with the bastards.”
Lucy allowed herself three days of this and then she got busy.
She chose, wisely, to remove as much emotion as possible from her thoughts and to examine the reality of the situation with all the objectivity she could muster.
She composed something she called her reality check, wrote it down and studied it carefully.
This was her reality:
- She was unemployed.
- She had no new income coming in.
- Her severance would allow her, and her family, to live as they have for approximately six months without needing to tap into her savings.
- Accessing their savings and investments would buy them a further six months.
- At that point they would no longer be able to make mortgage payments and would have to consider selling the house in a market with plummeting prices.
Lucy’s financial picture was not a pretty one but remember she was taking stock of her life with complete objectivity and she viewed her financial picture as neither a good one or a bad one but rather as a real one.
It is what it is.
Her work was not done so she continued her objective evaluation by looking at herself, her experience, her capabilities and what she could best offer the world.
She knew that replacing her job in the current economic market was unlikely but she also understood that losing her job was a reflection of the economic times and not of her abilities and, if nothing else, Lucy is a person who does not believe in sitting around waiting for things to happen but rather in getting up and making things happen.
She did four things:
- She carefully crafted her resume.
- She made a lengthy and detailed list of anything of interest to her.
- She began seriously exploring the possibilities of starting a business of her own.
- She developed rapid expertise in networking by introducing herself to, and talking with anyone and everyone about possibilities.
She understood there are opportunities everywhere and she went looking for them.
Today Lucy and Ben, her husband, have a small home-based business that is bringing them in a “tiny but growing” income each month and she has also found two part-time jobs doing work that she enjoys.
She has not replaced the income lost when her job disappeared but is earning enough to pay all household bills and make small contributions each month to their family savings fund.
She is also actively seeking other opportunities and as there are now rumours of pending layoffs at the company where her husband works he has begun preparing himself for the possibility of losing his job by following Lucy’s lead.
There is no doubt we are in difficult economic times but there is also no questioning the fact that the seeds of opportunity never disappear, they only require a little bit more effort to be found.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, please go straight to Category Three for it is only from this position that you will find the clarity and objectivity needed to seize and grab the unlimited opportunities that are out there waiting for you.
The Lucy’s of this world are the true heroes of our times for they remind us of the irrefutable, indisputable and immutable truth that the quality of our lives is not determined by what happens to us but rather by what we do about it.
And those Category Three folks I was telling you about are all living proof of this.
They are role models for us all.
Till we read again.
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