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When Finding a Job is Your Job
Career and Employment SERIES
Ironic. When you are riding high, you don't need to ask who you are. You are happy and together. Decades can go by and your self esteem is intact. Then lose one little job! All of a sudden you question your value, who you are, what you are really worth and what is going to become of your nearly depressive self.
And yet, the worst time for your daily life (being unemployed) is the best time to do soul searching about who you really are. What is the identity of your soul? Is it the end, or is it a new beginning? Is it the beginning of the end? Is it the end of the beginning? All those questions we only ask when we are down -- are soul searching questions and some of the most important questions in life.
If you are an American, a traditional hard-working American, you are bound, not only to your work identity, but all of the materiality of your job, and now in this decade, all of the electronic appendages that constitute the New Umbilicus of Work. We are proud of this somehow. I do not criticize, I stand in awe. We are proud that we can operate and function with our Umbilicus. And so, in America hundreds of thousands of the newly unemployed are going through these issues. It is impossible not to go through them.
If You Are Employed, Take A Moment And Pretend You Are Not -
If you are employed, which most are -- take the time to think about the soul searching questions WHILE you are employed. Ask yourself the hard questions that maybe success is blinding you to. The kids and your mate and your associates might be sending you messages that you should be responding to, but you are not, because things are going SO WELL for you.
Some people are "workaholics" for a reason. Their identity and self esteem are interwoven with their jobs. If you wake them up at 2:00 AM and ask them who they are, they say, "I'm a (fill in job title). Aren't you also a Mom, a friend, a Dad, a brother, an intimate, a citizen, a club member? The person who counts the most on their employment for their identity suffers the most when they are unemployed. The answer for them is not "soul contemplation". It is finding another similar job. I will ask the titular question again: When you don't have a job, do you still have yourself?
It's kind of a wierd question. It's the kind of question that shakes you and makes you not want to even consider it. The papers are filled with stars who catapult themselves into human ignominy with arrests, down and out tales, womanizing, drug consumption and sins of curious note, who then begin confessions and admissions that only a down and out person would confess to. And so, the American drama plays itself out in Shakespearean dimensions. The bold and the successful need not repent. It is only the down and out who must then examine themselves. The truth of things is not so dramatic. It would behoove us to always examine ourselves and apologize and alter our lives for our loved ones AT ANY TIME. Just because success tends to confirm and reaffirm bad behavior, it does not need to. And just because you lose your job doesn't mean you have to begin mental states of "mea culpa".
Of Course Its Important - Society Declares Through Media and Values -
In America, we need to start really asking: "Is Self Worth dependent on my job alone? Of course, we would anwer - NO. But ask someone who is unemployed how they are doing with that question. When you are 60, and have worked for over 40 years, you can play an imaginary game with yourself. But you can actually play the game at any time: How many jobs have you had in your life? Carpenters Helper, Tour Guide, Camp Counselor, Preacher, Steel Yard Laborer,Writer, Editor, Manager, Sales Person, Student, Paralegal (5 different kinds of paralegal), Director, Manager, Author. After a listing such as this, the title matters less and less. Then other words start to have more meaning: Friend, Brother, Son, Buddy, Comrade, Associate, Lover, Husband, Father, Grandfather. Then, low and behold, after you have collected your titles, you can start investigating your Inner Self. After awhile, in your head, you can start to minimize work title.
Of course, work still matters economically, but maybe as you go through this exercise, you can see yourself doing several things, instead of being stuck in some "identity crisis". There is a comfort that can come over the individual and just quietly declare: "Work is work. And who I am is an individual soul with my characteristics and a host of loved ones."
There But For The Grace of God Go I -
When you are employed, develop an appreciation for your STATE, but ride loose in your saddle when it comes to your STATUS, knowing that Fate can always have her say. When and if you are unemployed, develop a hardness of consciousness and a soundness of mind that permits you to guide yourself the psyche battering thoughts that will come your way. And try to stay flexible and adaptable as you take yourself through your paces. Then say to yourself a statement that may have an effect: "When I am employed again, who I am, and how I feel about myself will not be altered by my good fortune". Oh, you will feel good, and celebrate, that's fine; but as you sup the celebration of champagne, repeat: "Now that I am employed again, I will not let my opinion of myself be changed or altered by my good fortune".
We suffer on the downside so extremely, because we make that error on the upside. Being broke is being broke. But don't let being broke make you broken. At the very least do "Country Networkin'".
As an old salt told a young man in need of a job:
"You know, you might could get a gig just hangin' out at that Cafe!"
"Umhuh. Keep that happy face in front of as many people as possible as much as you can. In fact, I'm fixin' to do some hiring."