The rocky roads of unemployment ... let's take a look at what we're dealing with:
Desperation Blvd. - Named after a pretty common feeling for lots of folks who find themselves struggling with the reality of unemployment - or underemployment - while we ride the wave of this historic recession. People want to pay their bills, they want to earn an honest living and feel like responsible contributors to their families and society. When looking for work and being consistently passed over, rejected or just flat-out ignored, it's easy for even the toughest person's usually-thick skin to start thinning a bit.
Isolation Ave. - Just down the road a bit from Desperation Blvd., this is an interesting by-product of the desperation that people have been talking about to us. When faced with the harsh reality of a bleak job market, repeated rejection from potential employers and numbers reported by the media that seem to suggest that we're in this recession for at least a while longer, some folks just don't want to cope. They start shutting down from friends and family, and cocoon themselves away from all of the bad, yucky stuff that encircles them. More than desperation, this is a very dangerous road upon which to embark. Avoid it at all costs.
Rebuilding Rd. - When Walt Disney built his flagship theme park, Disneyland, he skipped over no details in creating a worldclass destination for families to visit on their vacations. A place that would be pristine no matter what time of day you entered the park, a place that provided its visitors a safe environment and a place that would allow guests to escape reality even if for only a little while.
One of the often-overlooked details that Walt actually included in the creation of Disneyland can still be seen today on Sleeping Beauty's Castle, the centerpiece of the park. When there, or if you notice in pictures, you'll see that each turret of the castle is topped with a gold finish ... except for one. This is no flaw - this was an intentional design. When building the castle, Walt instructed the contractors to leave one of its turrets in an unfinished state - his point and logic being that he never wanted Disneyland to be completely finished ... he always wanted the park to be a work in progress, and to never reach an end, finale or conclusion because there would always be new, better ways to do things so as to provide maximum enjoyment and pleasure to the park's guests. The unfinished turret symbolizes the desire to always be striving for the next great thing.
So, how does this relate to me?
If you're the struggling, unemployed, desperate, isolated person, now is a good time to polish - but, not finish - that turret of yours. What is the next great thing awaiting you?
Something to keep in mind; it's easy in times like these for someone who is struggling to turn over the reigns and quickly assume the role of victim. I urge you to reject this notion immediately. If you find comments running through your mind such as, "... nobody will hire me ... what's wrong with me? ... I'll never find a job ..." I encourage you to give yourself a mental splash of cold water to the face. Then, instead of that line of thinking, repeat the following after me: "I am not a victim. I am not a victim. I am not a victim." And, keep reminding yourself of this until you really understand and believe that you are in control, and that you are, indeed, not a victim. In fact, just the very act of taking control of that thought is empowering. Try it out!
It takes a lot of work to manage desperation, and the emotional stress that comes with it. So, instead, reframe all of that energy into polishing your personal inner turret. Like Disneyland, you are, and always will be, a work in progress - and, that's great! Take this opportunity to discover what will really makes you shine, and polish your soul as you tread these turbulent waters and head into the next part of the journey of your life. Reframed properly, this can be an exciting time ... there are limitless possibilities if you allow yourself to see them. You have to look for them, though!
You know, I work with coaches who have been in this industry for decades who say, "Do you know what I learned about myself today ... " or "... I've never thought of looking at a situation like this before, but what if I ... " Apply that same sense of wonder and curiousity to yourself - if coaches who, day-in-and-day-out, teach people the tools to adapt to real-life scenarios are constantly learning knew ways to better manage their own lives, so should you. Always be that work in progress ... always be striving to uncover what makes you happiest and the most fulfilled.
Remember, as with any other road, there will likely be potholes and unexpected hazards that will arise. Just remind yourself that you are in control - you can avoid the speedbumps, and you can swerve around the potholes. You are not a victim - you are intelligent, you are capable and you are a value-add to some employer that simply hasn't had the good fortune of meeting you yet. You are the captain, and you are navigating this road called "Avenue You!"