Getting downsized, laid off or outsourced can be a traumatic experience. At least it was for me the two times I went through it. It hurts your ego and self-esteem, adds a tremendous amount of stress to your life and just makes you feel miserable. To many, it has the same emotional effect as losing a loved one. The first time I went through it, it lasted nine months. I know people now that have been out of work much longer than that. So I thought it would help to share of the best advice I was given.
Author Harvey Mackay once wrote that the only time you’re truly alone is when you’re about to die and when you’re about to give a speech. While there’s definitely some truth (and humor) in that statement, there’s also a lot more to being alone than we sometimes realize. And by “alone” I mean not having another person in the same room or general area as you – not the lack of a significant other.
While many people do appreciate their alone time, and some even prefer it, it can be a tricky time for the some of us. I appreciate alone time every now and then to read, work and gather my thoughts, but I love being around people. When I was in graduate school, I found myself with a lot more alone time than I was used to because most of friends were working or off campus for the weekend. At first it didn’t bother me so much, but after a while it started getting to me. I just found myself unhappy and couldn’t understand why. Eventually things changed and I had plenty of company whenever I wanted it. But I still find it interesting how being alone can have some odd effects on people.
There’s nothing more saddening to me than to meet someone who truly feels worthless. Sometimes, they’ve made a mistake and have allowed it to eat away at their self-worth. Other times, they missed out on something they were vying for – perhaps they lost on out a client, job opportunity, promotion or something else they were competing for or were bullied or abused to the point where they feel worthless. In most cases, there’s a way to reclaim your worth.
The bottom line is that no matter what happens to us, we still have the same self-worth and potential that we had the day we were born. A great way to visualize this is to imagine you’re a $100 bill (or whatever the greatest value of your country’s circulated money is). When a $100 bill gets soiled, crumpled or ripped it has the same value. Even if it is shredded and then taped back together, you can bring it to a store and purchase $100 worth of goods.
Ever catch yourself muttering something negative about yourself under your breath? I’ve caught myself doing it a lot and it’s something I’ve been to working to stop doing. It usually happens when I make a mistake – I’ll say something like “that was really dumb of me.” What I didn’t realize at the time was that when I said things like that, I started making more mistakes because I was essentially convincing myself that I was dumb.