The One Thing You Should Do Today

More than a few people have asked me what can they do to survive in the rough economy.The sentiment is wide ranging and far from unique. Here is a taste of what I’ve heard:

  • I know layoffs are coming so how can I avoid getting canned?
  • If my boss doesn’t like me, does it put my job in jeopardy?
  • I don’t understand how they can cut our hours now?
  • How can I get HR to help me so I don’t get laid off?

Stop asking me these questions. If you lose your job, I can give you resources to use. If you are having an issue with your boss, I can help you fix it. If your co-workers are being passive aggressive morons, I can suggest a few things (maybe an elementary school note stating “Passive or Aggressive. Pick one :-)”)

But why can’t I help you?

Simple: Your question boils down to “How can I avoid being scared?

I can’t help you with that question. I can’t ease your fears. The best I can hope for is being a sounding board. And if you force me to answer, the one thing you need to do today is stop being scared. Stop being so terrified of the worst happening that you can’t figure out a solution to these questions.

When my wife was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, it scared me. I kept running through the worst case scenarios in my head and it was only made worse knowing that my wife was a worrier too. She was probably thinking all of these same things too. We sat down and talked about it. She was anxious about it and it hurt her performance at work. I would get into HR mode and try to “fix it.” That didn’t work. You know why?

I couldn’t fix scared and that was the problem. I had to stop being a HR guy and start being a husband and support her. Ultimately she had to rationalize and figure it out on her own. Obviously I helped her through that process. And when she stopped being scared, everything in her life picked up. There was no change in condition that precipitated this attitude change either. Just simply the declaration that this fear of the uncontrollable would no longer control her.

It was great but it was ultimately her struggle and her victory over being scared. Even if there was a legitimate reason to feel that way. Even if sometimes she feels scared.

So if you know layoffs are coming and you might get canned, stop being scared and move on (whether that be by pulling out all stops at work or all stops on your job search). If you’re scared that your boss not liking you might impact your future job, stop being scared and move on. If your hours are going to be cut and you could lose valuable income, stop being scared and move on.

And so on.

Ultimately, the process is simple: remove fear and act as you would have before. You have to make the decision to remove fear though (not me). Nobody will blame you for being scared during economic times like these but if you let it dominate you and become you, then only you can fix that.

Until then, stop asking me the questions until you do that one thing.

 


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