Free Advice is a periodic feature in which I answer anonymous letters sent to markbialczak.com. Today I entertain a many-faceted question, with another wrinkle you’ll discover below.
How does a person stay positive in times of economic stress, loss or change?
We can even break it down more.
How do you stay positive after job loss?
What do you say to someone who has lost a parent/spouse/child?
How do you keep a sense of humor in tough times?
First of all, thanks for having the guts to send me this question with your name attached. Folks, meet Mama Mick Terry, author of the fine blog of that name found here. Thank you for introducing me to your friends over at your place. You can find today’s Freestyle Friday feature here.
There’s part of my blueprint for remaining OK through tough times right there, and you appear to be taking the same steps. Be approachable. More than that, be outgoing. Be ready to reach outside your comfort zone to meet new people and do different things to create a network that may benefit you in ways that you can’t even imagine at that very moment.
Your query really cuts close to my personal story, and I’m sure many others in this ever-changing economy of ours. Two years ago, I was laid off from the job I’d held for 29 years and five months at the big daily. Of course that sent me spinning.
Fortunately, my emotional state was covered by my immediate family members and closest friends then, and still.
Let your loved ones love you. Do not close them out of your life.
When your friends want to continue to go golfing, for instance, by all means, go golfing. Remain on that bowling team that you’ve competed with for years and years.
In other words, yes, you likely will want to grieve the loss quietly for a week, two weeks, maybe longer. But then, please tell yourself to start trying to act like you did before that major change or loss. You’ve got to get back living, as soon as possible. Look for new work, yes, of course. If it’s death you’re dealing with, it is true that your loved one would want you to get back there in the swing of life.
If it’s your friend who lost the job or a loved one, tell them immediately how sorry you are. Get the pulse of how long their private time is likely to be and how much company they’ll want, and respect that. Thereafter, keep in contact. Let them know you’re there. And do your best to treat them normally.
Now about that positive outlook, Michelle. For me, it’s a matter of knowing that I’m trying hard, every day. My dear wife Karen knows it, and tells me so. Even though I’ve yet to be chosen in the handful of interviews in which I’ve made it to the finalists’ table for a full-time job, I keep reading the emails sent me by the job boards and networking and talking and listening and yes, sending out resumes. I love the regular free-lance jobs I’ve secured, and have recently found more work on that avenue, too. A fellow WordPress blogger friend and I have a film-and-food book co-writing project in the works as well. I work at least eight hours a day on my writing, researching, blogging, networking and job searching, every day, including weekends. There’s no time to be really depressed, I guess, Michelle.
As far as a sense of humor goes, either you’re funny or you’re not. And there’s no accounting for taste. There’s always funny peculiar to fall back on if funny ha-ha is letting you down. Did you hear the one about the blogger who started a feature called “Free Advice” because he hoped it might help him make more money?
My qualifications: 57 years of open eyes and ears but no stalking charges. One dear wife Karen, one terrific daughter Elisabeth and her wonderful boyfriend George, one sensational stepson Daryl, one pet Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle and various other family members of scattered location and adjectives. Four decades of writing in public about people, places and things.
Satisfaction is the goal, but is by no means guaranteed.