Every time I switch on the news, it’s always doom and gloom. Whether it’s the state of the economy, another bush fire, a disgruntled politician, more redundancies, nuclear war, suicide bombs, massacre shootings or a stupid burglar running through a glass door, passing out yet escaping a theft with his accomplice. It’s always so negative and sensationalised, so much so that I have gone on a ‘media fast’ for a while; not to bury my head in the sand, but to temporarily escape the bad news as it just instills fear, rejection and worry.
Having worked in recruitment for a stint in the past, it wasn’t easy to break the news to candidates that there were dwindling jobs available for them. I offered them little comfort as clients continued to tell me that ‘jobs are being off-shored’ and ‘we’re laying people off’ or ‘we’re going through a recruitment-freeze’. People who had worked for 25 years in a company on a decent wage, suddenly had to accept a junior temp role far below their expected hourly rate just to get by, support their family…and more than anything feel a sense of identity.
It’s human nature to feel a sense of identity or worth through our job or what we ‘do’ as a career. However with so many jobs being cut across the board, where will people find their identity? Getting made redundant is almost like ‘identity theft’ and job searching through a recession is hard enough without the fears, doubts and self-destructive voices in our head saying ‘What if I don’t get another job?’, ‘How will I pay rent?’, ‘Will I be able to keep up with my lifestyle?’, ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Am I good enough?’.
Work is where you spend 40 plus hours a week; it’s such a huge part of your life, and when it gets taken away it can feel daunting and scary, but the key is about turning within and taking away the daunting and scary and replacing it with exciting and new!
Its about finding your identity, not from a job or career, but from who you are. Yes, financial pressures may remain and experiencing a sense of loss of structure, social interaction and a sense or worth…but it’s about finding those qualities inside, rather than relying on external factors. Ask yourself how you determine wealth and success? Is it money in your bank account, living a comfortable lifestyle, putting food on the table, family closeness, travel holidays, being the breadwinner, doing what you love, self development, contribution, fancy clothes, spiritual growth, lots of friends, or even mental health? At the end of the day it matters what success means to you – it’s all relative. If having a designer wardrobe, a more-than-comfortable lifestyle and lots of money is success to you then get searching for a job that can cater for that! If spiritual growth, contribution and leaving the Earth better than when you came, then find or create a role that aligns with those beliefs. The time is now for entrepreneurs to let their true colours shine, to take risks and to finally get the chance to do that thing you have always wanted to do. Go back to your childhood fantasies and dreams and try to recall what it is you wanted to BE!
It’s so easy to conform and do what other people think you should do, and with the market the way it is, some may feel they should just take what they can get. This is true to a certain extent if you need the money to survive or support your family, however it’s important to not let your ‘job title’ dictate your identity. Rather, create your identity from your passions, what you love doing, your hobbies, your beliefs, values, morals, what you do for fun. If you feel at a loss for that, then find something other than your work that turns you on! Even if you are working full-time in a role that is mundane or less than stimulating, make sure you are doing something after-hours that you love and that excites you, or at the very least brainstorming at work your next step and what you really want to do.
So if you’re not working at the moment and people ask you what you do, don’t go into a long winded sob story about how you were made redundant, the Government this, the recession that, instead talk positively and never feel like you have to explain yourself to anyone. You can just say that your role was made redundant (note, not ‘I’ was made redundant) and you are currently cultivating your passions, having ME time, enjoying time with your family, manifesting a new role etc.
If you think and verbalise something as negative, it will be. However, if you think and verbalise something as positive, it will be.
Here are some tips on how to keep positive:
- Volunteer your time doing something you love (plus it looks good on your CV)
- Learn something new (e.g. I just bought a Ukulele!!)
- Put more time and effort into yourself – physical-health and mental-health
- Keep a routine – if you’re used to being out the door at 8am, go for a walk/run.
- Travel and take some time abroad to get perspective
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Hire a life coach for moral support.
Whether you’re going through a mid-life identity crisis or even a quarter-life identity crisis, try and not think of it as a ‘crisis’ or a slump. Why? Because everything is what you make it to be. Instead think of it as a climax or an exciting time of change. What better time than NOW.
The only thing that is going to make you happy is being happy with who YOU are – not what you do or what others think of you.