Transitions Through Life

Surviving every stage of life.

Surviving in Economically Troubled Times

You cannot fix the economic crisis but you can survive.

Thousands of unemployed are on the brink of financial disaster. I continue to hear: "We cannot pay our mortgage and it looks like foreclosure is ahead." "It's like an out of body experience. I cannot believe it is happening to me." Whether you are a millionaire or a construction worker unable to find work, you are facing the same common enemy. You cannot fix the economic crisis, but you can survive. The following tips can help your psychological survival:

Tip 1: Take "For Now Jobs" Today; Dream About Tomorrow's Career.

This is the time to think about short-term goals like eating and survival and long-term goals like positioning yourself for a productive future. Jan Alston, Career Advisor at the Women's Resource Center of Sarasota County, advises clients to take "For Now Jobs" to survive these bad times, while planning for a future dream job.

Sue, a car salesperson and single parent of two children, realized that her financial survival depended on facing reality and making plans. She wrote: "I am going to work for Publix Super Market. I have many years of management experience and plan on working back up to a management level position--even though I will start at the checkout counter."

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Larry, a roofer who owned his own company, also saw the handwriting on the wall. His clients were not paying their bills and his contracts were drying up. He located a larger company that would survive in these economically troubled times and took a job with them. Though the job paid very little, it was still a job. He hope to reopen his company.

Tanya does temp work such as cleaning up for a caterer and cleaning offices for small businesses. She is also taking medical technician courses at the local community college. She is using this time to scrape together funds  AND preparing for a secure job in the future.

Tip 2. Reframe, Reframe, Reframe

There have been a number of studies of heart patients. Some recover physically from by-pass surgery with an optimistic attitude--I can now do whatever I want. Others recover but are afraid to run, to have sex, to engage in life. Your style--optimistic versus pessimistic--will determine your recovery. And that applies to you during troubled times. If you think you will never have another relationship when your current one ends, never get another satisfying job, never see your financial portfolio rise again, never have a job that taps your talents, then you will be part of your own self-fulfilling prophecy. However, if you realize that there are always possibilities around the corner and the door is never closed, then your chances of finding new happiness will increase. And remember, today is not forever!

Nancy K Schlossberg, Copyright 2010

 

Nancy Schlossberg, Ed.D., is a Professor Emerita at University of Maryland, College Park. She is the author of nine books.

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