This nation’s economic turmoil is taking its toll on many affected Americans. Not unlike a ship on the ocean, our moods and anxieties sometimes ride a crest to the top of a wave only to begin an inevitable descent to the bottom of the trough. Highs and lows…ups and downs…our emotions are being tossed to and fro.
This is an unseen affect of this recession and its resulting misery. So many of us seem to be defined by our careers. Our years of service, experience and hard work earns us a certain level of respect and pride…and, yes, definition. Character and dignity are built over our professional careers. Then the day comes when everything we’ve spent a lifetime preserving is taken away. We’re told to clean out our personal belongings and pack up a lifetime of memories, challenges and victories into a cardboard box and allow security to escort us to the front door. It’s like a divorce…or worse yet, a death…a death of our soul. There is a crushing feeling of failure pressing down on our very worth. The process continues to escalate, as we then must tell our spouses, families and friends that we’ve been excommunicated from our former livelihoods.
The range of emotions that follow can sometimes lead us into thoughts of inadequacy, failure and low self-esteem. I’ve known people that have woken up the morning after being ‘let go’ and still go through the motions of their former daily routines…even to the point of getting into their car as if they had somewhere to go. It’s a shock to the system…a serious body blow, in the extreme.
In the days and weeks to follow, some find themselves scouring the wants ads, the online job boards and networking like mad to quickly regain control over their situation. Although these activities do consume a great deal of time and seem to gloss over the pain of loss, it only prolongs the suffering experienced in the quiet hours. The question, “…what am I going to do?”…is going to become a drumbeat in your mind. You will reflect on your former work experience. You will think about your children and their future and what they might think of you now. You will consider your spouse or partner and what they must be thinking of you. You will begin to take special attention to the cost of every little expense. You may even begin to question if the world has passed you by and feel as though life isn’t much worth the effort and pain.
This is the moment when you must STOP and take a deep breath. Close your eyes and just breath. The anxiety you’re feeling is overwhelming and all of us out here in the same boat have been right where you are. We have. We know. We’re right there with you, friend.
When you find yourself knocked down, beaten, stepped on, over-looked, depressed and at wits end, …consider these things:
1: There is no shame in talking to someone…either a friend, relative, counselor or spiritual advisor. Talk. Come here and tell your story in full…get it out. Vent, rant, bitch, moan, whine and be heard. You have worth. We’re here for you.
2: Talk to your doctor about your anxiety. Although you might not feel the need to consider anti-depressants, understand that more people than you realize (and probably people you know personally) are benefiting from these methods. I know you’re pride might pull you away from this notion, but know this is an option that no one will fault you from considering.
3: Look for emotional support groups in your area. Get together and talk some more. Meet those that are going through the same misery. It helps…I promise.
4: Find resolve. Make a list of daily activities to follow for your ‘life-hunt’. Write down all of your best qualities, skills, hobbies and experience. See if there is something you love to do that might translate well into a business of your own or find others with similar attributes and share ideas that might lead to a joint venture. Refer to this list often and update it as ideas come to you.
5: Wake up each morning. Never, ever consider not doing this. The answers are out there. There is a tomorrow. You are worth every breath you take. You are a stallion let loose in an endless pasture of possibilities. You will gallop again.
I know that it might seem like a lot of mumbo-jumbo and jibber-jabber. Sort of like when people say things like:
…” I know how you feel”…(when you know they don’t)
…”things will get better”…(when all you want is to know WHEN)
…”I’m praying for you”…(when you wish you had a hotline to God)
…”Hang in there”…(at a time when the word ‘hang’ shouldn’t be mentioned)
…”just take a minimum wage job or two”…(when the jobs don’t exist in the 1st place)
…”I’ll keep you in my thoughts”…(when you need them to say, ‘I’ll talk to my hiring manager’…)
Understand that these people are well intentioned and maybe don’t know exactly WHAT to say. It’s tough all over. But try to remember you are a human being deserving of respect and consideration. You have skills, talent, experience, worth, value, ideas, creativity, vision, innovative ideas and YOU HAVE A PLACE IN THIS WORLD!
And when you feel as though you have no fight left in you, I ask that you stand up, steel your resolve and get back into the fight…if for no other reason than to stand toe to toe with adversity…and spit in its eye.
Doors will open. Peek in and see what’s there.