Surviving in Troubled Times

Two stories about surviving in troubled times. With car dealerships closing at breakneck speed, Sue, a top salesperson making over six figures, 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 to get back up to management level—even though I will start at the checkout counter.”

Larry, a roofer who owned his own company, also saw the handwriting on the wall.  His clients were not paying their bills and he recognized that his work was drying up.  He therefore searched and located a larger company that would survive in these economically troubled times—a company that repaired roofs at places like the Smithsonian and the White House.

These optimistic stories do not make up for the millions of unemployed who are on the brink of financial disaster.  I continue to hear, “We cannot pay our mortgage and it looks like foreclosure is ahead of us;”  “It’s like an out of body experience.  I cannot believe it is happening to me;” “I just cancelled my surgery, since it was elective.”

Whether you are a millionaire (probably losing at least 30 to 40 percent of your assets), 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 for those at both ends of the financial spectrum 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” in order to survive these bad times at the same time planning for a future dream job. This might be the time to return to school and get training for the future.  Tanya  does temp work when she can get it, and is taking courses at the community college to prepare her to become a medical technician.  She is using this time to scrape together whatever funds she can AND using this time to prepare 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 are afraid to run, to have sex, to engage in life.  Your style—optimism versus pessimism—will determine your recovery.  And that applies to your troubled times.  If you think you will never have another relationship when your current one ends, that you will never get another satisfying job, that you will never see your financial portfolio go up again, then you will be part of your own self-fulfilling prophecy.  However, if you realize that there are always possibilities around the corner, that the door is never closed your chances of finding new happiness will increase.  And remember, today is not forever!

Your Comments Please share the ways you are surviving these troubled times.  Your story might help someone else.

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