Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bad News = Opportunity

It's official. Many of the per diem jobs, mine included, are being eliminated, and the ones that remain will be filled by those who want them and have the most seniority. This means that I, one of the most recent hires, will almost certainly be laid off come February 28.

I could feel sorry for myself, but my house is paid for and I have no kids to support. The people I really feel sorry for are those with big mortgages and kids to feed, clothe, and put through school.

I could see my situation as a catastrophe. But, instead, I choose to see it as an opportunity. An opportunity to find another job that offers a higher salary, paid vacation and sick leave, health coverage for me and my wife, and, most importantly, makes more fulfilling use of my interests and talents.

I don't hate my current job. I like and respect my supervisors and co-workers, I keep physically active, and I'm earning money that helps to pay the bills.

But surely I can find and do something better than an entry level clerical job with a low salary and no benefits. Yes, I have my share of weaknesses, but I also have strengths that my current job scarcely taps. I need to focus not on what I'm losing but on what I stand to gain, and to welcome the layoff as a jump start to a better job and a better life.

In his remarkable novel Magister Ludi, Hermann Hesse wrote a poem called Stages. Here is a passage I cherish from that poem and which sums up my view of my situation:

Serenely let us move to distant places
And let no sentiments of home detain us.
The Cosmic Spirit seeks not to restrain us
But lifts us stage by stage to wider spaces.


Tom said...

Hooray for your optimism and correct thinking! Yet, one mustn't underestimate the negative effect of one's hopes from our dire times.

You are likely to need to muddle through for the next year or so while the jobworld continues to sharply contract.

This may mean, to use a curt golfing analogy, that in 2009, instead of [exclusively] shooting for the hole, you should hit a few lay ups to ready yourself for a shot at the green in 2010.

Some of these ideas are perhaps obvious, but I feel like expessing them:

Keep in contact with your current employer and workmates. Maybe they will be of help to you in the future.

Identify your special skills and weaknesses and what jobs/tasks you would excel in as an employee or working on your own.

What might you do if you were self-employed? What might you do that was perhaps the least fun, but the most lucretive?

What can you do around the house to minimize expenses or "take over" by doing yourself that you get from 'the outside?'

Good luck, my friend. I hope not to see you at Loaves & Fishes!

Nagarjuna said...

Excellent advice!

Right now, I'm focused on acquiring the various compentencies I'll need to become gainfully employed as a patient biller or coder. I believe that I can do this kind of work and that, even in this economy, I can find work in the field. After all, I'm not losing my current job because of the poor economy but because of a change in my employer's medical records system. Someone who can adapt to such changes will almost certainly continue to be able to find decent clerical work in the health care field. It's just a matter of knowing what to do and then following through.

Still, I don't plan to abandon my love of philosophy and writing and my efforts to combine them in a fulfilling and potentially remunerative way.

But if, by regrettable chance, I should ever end up at Loaves & Fishes, I hope and trust that you will be long gone from there and from from the ranks of the homeless. You certainly have it in you to do this. All you need is the will and a little help from the outside, including the legal system.