I have a good friend, Ken, who has often functioned as my personal guru. He has a simple but effective suggestion for when life seems to get difficult or worrisome: Go find the party. Or, if that’s a little out of reach, affirm to yourself, “I am safe as long as I’m breathing, no matter how it feels. Life supports me.”
I really need to say that to myself right now. Granted, my stomach’s been doing some weird things lately (will see doctor Monday), but there’s another feeling in it right now that I know has nothing to do with digestion. I recognize it. It’s been some 20 years since I last felt it, but I recognize it: It’s the fear of losing one’s job. It’s the fear of having the rug pulled out from under one’s feet and having no (good) options.
It isn’t just me. The whole department – actually, the whole section – is feeling bummed out by a situation that shouldn’t be happening: Dedicated, hard-working employees providing services all the other employees greatly appreciate should not be treated as a liability for the company. Instead of feeling appreciated by the upper management, we are feeling invisible and disrespected. We know it’s not personal, but in one way, that just makes it worse.
I find myself wondering where to next if my current department goes belly up.
And that takes me back to late 1987, to the last time my employer decided a department was unnecessary and removed us with the stroke of a pen. Rules being what they are in Norway, my employer couldn’t fire us, but instead tried to help us find new jobs elsewhere in the company. If they couldn’t, or we didn’t want the job offered, then we had to quit. I had bought my own apartment in 1986, and with a new mortgage was not prepared for unemployment. I was offered a new job in January of 1988, and I took it, though I later realized that I would have been happier not being “placed” but applying and getting a job the regular way. Still, it all worked out well, because that job was what led me down the path that gave me work I still love to do: Graphics design.
I’m not really that qualified for other jobs, since the rest of the company doesn’t need a graphics designer. But I know that entertaining fearful thoughts is not going to do me or my stomach any good. I need to keep the faith, to focus on staying calm, remembering that I’ve always landed on my feet, and that this may even be a door opening onto something new and more wonderful.
To keep that positive focus I need to remind myself that I am safe as long as I’m breathing. No matter how it feels.