I recently spoke with someone who was upset (to say the least) about being recently fired. Unfortunately, this happens all too often in the job market of musical chairs.
Losing a job is really akin to losing a love one in terms of the grieving process for most. We can experience disbelief, denial, guilt, anger, depression, and acceptance (thank you Google). I know and you know that going though this is not as formulaic as Google, or psychologists would have us believe. Nevertheless, what do we do when confronted with this reality of job loss?
Well, we tell a narrative/story. Stupid @#$% boss fired me because, "insert your reason here". Regardless of how valid the reason is or isn't, telling this narrative in this way doesn't put us mentally in the position of power. It really victimizes us. Once again, I'm not euphemizing the circumstances you may face being given a pink slip by that stupid @#$% boss. However, if we have a choice to tell the story a different way and still remain truthful to ourselves, wouldn't we want to do that?
I really believe fundamentally that we all have a story that we tell ourselves, which guides us though life reinforcing who we are and where we come from. It's kinda like our compass that navigates our choices and in part determines our potential. The story teller, is 'us' the superego coined by Freud. I'm just calling it the little man or woman that has your back. It's the voice that assures us that everything will be okay. It's the voice that attempts to create any semblance of order in this crazy world. We all consort with this voice when faced with challenges.
Now about the idea of being in mental position of power. Encouraging the, "the little man or woman that has our back" to concoct a different narrative is what is exactly needed in this moment. For instance, that friend I mentioned earlier was given the pink slip because her salary was cutting into shareholder profits. That's right, her along with 12 other people were cut (pre covid-19) because of shareholder profits. They were clearly victims of an excel spreadsheet. However, I encouraged her to dig deep and tell a different story; one coming from a place of strength or one in which the glass is half full instead of half empty. After speaking to her for an hour, her story went from I was given a pink slip to by that SOB to,
"I really was growing tired of that position and even though I'm concerned about not having any income in the short term. Now I can stop pretending to be a turkey in that company when in fact I'm an eagle. I can now stretch my wings find something better."
I know some of you reading this might think, "This is just magical thinking." or "Easier said than done." I'm not here to tell you what stance to take only to open doors for that superego. "That little man or woman that has your back" won't lie to you and will keep whatever narration you create real. I just hope after your conversation, you guys will have a story that supports you in a positive manner, because that's key for you feeling better and stretching your wings as well.
Speaking of positive thinking, if you need additional support from those in the struggle and in the trenches, check out our: online unemployment support group.