As a producer in the revolving-door of media, Heli knows job loss. Here’s how she accepts the day she gets the news
GUEST COLUMN: HELI TUOMI CARLILE— I have a positive approach to job losses. I always try to welcome them as signs from the universe, signs that it’s time to move on to a new adventure, painful as it may be at the time.
Clichéd as it may sound, in these moments I visualize “one door closing, but others opening,” even though I can’t quite see what lies behind those new doors.
This technique hasn’t failed me yet, and I have come through some tough emotional times with that reassurance, finding fabulous new adventures and opportunities that have gotten better and better.
Maintain your inner calm and look forward
As a freelancer and consultant, and an occasional full-time employee within larger companies, I have been laid off and lost contracts many times. I find that if you don’t fight the decision, but accept it with a deep internal “knowing” that something exciting and new lies ahead, then the process of loss is less painful and draining.
Although it is rarely entirely free of pain where the ego refuses to let go of residues of entitlement, insecurity or personal beefs.
Others notice it too, as an inner calm and strength, and it can be translated by ex-employers and colleagues into good references and new opportunities in the future.
People are much more likely to recommend you to others if you transition from a job with grace and positivity – who, after all, would want to recommend an angry, spiteful or depressed person?
Let go of your sense of entitlement
These job loss experiences also teach us about gratitude, specifically about not taking opportunities for granted. In our prosperous society it’s easy for us to get comfortable and assume that we are entitled to the lifestyle we have; and that it will be there always.
There is both freedom and humility in recognizing that our work opportunities are a privilege and a blessing. You can actually make this work for you in whatever job you do, by practicing an attitude of gratitude and respect towards your work, your colleagues and your clients or employers.
As a manager and consultant over the past 15 years, I have seen so many people who take an entitled, self-centered attitude that erupts regularly in strife and crisis for both the individual and the larger group.
What should I do with my life?
There is a particularly inspiring book I read a few years ago, What Should I Do With My Life?, by Po Bronson (pictured at left), which embodies this spirit of opportunity and universal synchronicity. I recommend it to anyone who may be going through the shock of job loss and finding it impossible to imagine the future.
Each chapter features one story from an individual who Bronson interviewed, telling their stories about transitions, new adventures and, for many, the fulfillment of lifelong dreams.
Although the projects they’ve chosen to pursue may not be up your alley, the common thread of moving through loss and change and into the new is what you take away.
It was breathtakingly inspiring at times hearing these stories, and it fueled my passions and imagination at a time of transition in my own life.
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