DO’s and DON’Ts of losing a job

Have you ever lost your job or do you know someone who lost their job?

I was in my teens when my dad lost his job. He was not fired, he was not made redundant. Simply the state research institute he was working in vanished one day during perestroika, leaving over 2,000 employees unemployed with no redundancy payments, no unemployment benefits. Nothing, absolutely nothing…

There were hardly any other jobs around at that time. Factories were closing one after another. Those who managed somehow to keep their jobs were often forced to take unpaid leave for 2-3 days a week or were not paid at all for months and months and months… They kept getting monthly payslips without pay.

“We’ll be OK”, my dad said, shrugging his shoulders and putting away his business suit, “I’ll find some work”.

Dad started his career  in one of the deepest and most dangerous coal mines in the world working at the depth of 720 meters. All his family and mates were coal miners.

As he was a very bright young man, he was selected to go to the University where he got a degree in electrical engineering. Gradually he worked his way up to the executive level in the crown research institute.

He always stayed in touch with his old mates from the coal mine and University friends with whom he has done lots of odd jobs to support himself through the University years. Now he was worried about them. His old coal mine was closed with all coal miners left without jobs.

Coalminers

Some of his University friends, who ended up in different parts of the USSR after graduating from the University, not only lost their jobs but were also forced to leave places where they lived with their families for a few decades.

“At least we still have a roof over our heads. They are less lucky than us,” my dad sighed.

I felt sorry for him and his mates, who were working so hard all their lives to lose everything…. How can you be a man if you can’t financially support your family? Old traditional views on gender roles were adding insult to injury, putting even more pressure on the men of my dad’s generation. Not surprisingly, suicide became prevalent among middle-aged men at that time…

On the rise: The suicide rate among men is at its highest for a decade according to figures from the Office for National Statistics with the sharpest increase among men aged between 45 and 59

Dad was also worried about his secretary, who was close to the retirement age. She had no chance of finding another job.

“I can always go back to working as an electrician or get some odd jobs. It will be so much harder for her,” he sighed.

Since then, I’ve seen lots more people going through painful experience of losing a job. My own family was not spared with my spouse losing jobs twice in the last 15 years.

First experience was particularly painful, as it was our only source of income and we were expecting our first child. Second time was so much easier, as I was in a workforce then and therefore was in a much better position to support our family through that painful experience. We’ve also learnt a lot by then about all DO’s and DON’Ts of losing a job, summarised very well in Shannon Smith’s article:

1. DON’T panic: There are always options, and the key is to let yourself have the time and space to determine what those are;

2. DO accept our situation: Once you’ve given your emotions space to exist, you can start to see the big picture more clearly, enabling you to act in ways that will help you and your career.

3. DON’T clamp up: The shame of job loss can scare people away from healthy and productive social interactions. But that only increases the negative pressure on an already stressful situation. Whether you participate in social networking, real-life networking in your industry, volunteering or taking a class, putting yourself out in the world is often the path to new ideas, opportunities and energy. Yes, even when you’d rather retreat and stay home alone.

4. DO rethink your priorities: separate your wants from your needs and make the necessary changes to reflect your new financial reality.

5. DON’T neglect your well-being: Watch your stress levels, whether that means taking up meditation, yoga, or simply trying to smile more.

6. DO take a balanced view of your situation: refocus on the positive aspects of your life, your nearest and dearest….

“…We’ve gotta hold on to what we’ve got…
We’ve got each other and that’s a lot…”

THE END

Image 1: from http://www.itrelease.com
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mage 3: from http://www.photosight.ru/photos/1787191/
Image 2 and 5: from http://englishrussia.com
Image 4: from http://www.dailymail.co.uk
Image 6: from http://www.bluefrogtravel.eu/bluefrog/index.php?dosanddonts 

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Are you being deeply understood, truly supported and completely and utterly loved?

“We had 11 truly joyful years of the deepest love, happiest marriage, and truest partnership that I could imagine … He gave me the experience of being deeply understood, truly supported and completely and utterly loved – and I will carry that with me always. Most importantly, he gave me the two most amazing children in the world…

Dave was my rock. When I got upset, he stayed calm. When I was worried, he said it would be ok. When I wasn’t sure what to do, he figured it out…” wrote Sheryl Sandberg in a moving tribute to her husband.

Dave Goldberg and Sheryl Sandberg

How many women are lucky to have such amazing, empowering and supportive men in their lives? Men, who empower them to achieve their full potential in life and do share the load of less glamorous family chores to support them. Men, who hear women’s voice and treat women’s choices with respect. Men who recognise that “if we tapped the entire pool of human resources and talent, our collective performance would improve… the achievements will extend beyond those individuals to benefit us all”.

Respect, Give It To Get It

As Sheryl Sandberg points out in her book Lean In, “women still face real obstacles in the professional world, including blatant and subtle sexism… Too few workplaces offer the flexibility and access to child care and parental leave that are necessary for pursuing a career while raising children. Plus, women have to prove themselves to a far greater extent than men do… A 2011 McKinsey report noted that men are promoted based on potential, while women are promoted based on past accomplishments.”

discrimination against women in the workplace

Sheryl also notes that “in addition to the external barriers erected by society women are hindered by barriers that exist within ourselves. We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising out hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in. We internalize the negative messages we get throughout our lives… We lower our own expectations of what we can achieve.”

So true. I’ve observed that so often during my University years. While the majority of male students were charging in the exam rooms totally unprepared but still full of confidence, the best female students were spending days and nights preparing for exams, however were still trembling with fear of a failure.

After the exams male students often credited their success to their own innate qualities and skills, while female students often attributed success to good luck.  Interestingly enough, after a failed exam male students were often blaming bad luck, while female students were more likely to believe it was due to an inherent lack of ability.

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While some women are happy to stay at home looking after their family and children, others might want to pursue career. In both cases they need to have a choice.

Unfortunately, as Sheryl Sandberg points out, while “professional ambition is expected of men” it is “optional – or worse, sometimes even negative – for women. “She is very ambitious” is not a compliment…

Men are continually applauded for being ambitious and powerful and successful, but women who display these same traits often pay a social penalty. Female accomplishments come at a cost….

The stereotype of a working woman is rarely attractive. Popular culture has long portrayed successful working women as so consumed by their careers that they have no personal life. If a female character divides her time between wok ad family, she is almost always harried and guilt ridden…”

While acknowledging biological and some psychological difference between men and women, it is important to recognise that, as Sheryl puts it, “in today’s world, where we no longer have to hunt in the wild for our food”, both men and women should be given a fair chance to make their own choices. ”

However “until women have supportive employers and colleagues as well as partners who share family responsibilities, they don’t have real choice. And until men are fully respected for contributing inside the home, they don’t have real choice either. Equal opportunity is not equal unless everyone receives the encouragement that makes seizing those opportunities possible. Only then can both men and women achieve their full potential. …

Men's New Role as Househusband Challenges Chinese Tradition

We all want the same thing: to feel comfortable with our choices and to feel validated by those around us. If more children see fathers at school pickups and mothers who are busy at jobs, both girls and boys will envision more options for themselves. Expectations will not be set by gender but by personal passion, talents, and interests…

My greatest hope is that my son and my daughter will be able to choose what to do with their lives without external or internal obstacles slowing them down or making them question their choices.”

Thanks Dave and Sheryl for giving us a real example of the deepest love, happiest marriage, and truest partnership in which you both were supporting each other in making your choices in life and reaching your full potential.

A photo of Dave Goldberg, the Facebook executive, who died suddenly on May 2, 2015. He is pictured with his wife Sheryl Sandberg. Photo posted by Sheryl Sandberg on facebook.

Are you being deeply understood, truly supported and
completely and utterly loved?

THE END

Image 1: from http://img-hd.com/dave-goldberg/
Image 2: from http://dailytechwhip.com
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mage 3: from http://unitedtruthseekers.com/
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mage 4: from Are You Discriminating Against Women Employees Without Even Knowing It?
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mage 5: from http://what3words.tumblr.com
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mage 6: from http://247moms.com
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mage 7: from http://www.womenofchina.cn
Image 8: from https://queerguesscode.files.wordpress.com
Image 9: from http://www.theguardian.com

What Are your Assumptions?

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Life is full of “unknowns”, so we all speculate and assume what we don’t know. We make decisions despite that and to the best of our guesses.

The same applies to our relationships with other people. We all hold certain assumptions towards other people (partner, close friends, or distant acquaintances). We give these, too, their share of wild “guesses”.

If we’re the suspicious type, we’re likely to have assumptions of negative intentions. We doubt what others are up to despite their disclosure. We’re uncertain about what they hide behind a probable facade they wear & distrust the truth of what they share or declare. We assume otherwise just to beware…

The assumptions that we have today are beliefs and expectations about reality which we developed at some point in the past.

While some of these assumptions can be constructive or harmless, other assumptions have the ability to destroy the relationship and trigger the whole chain of tragic events.

A mere assumption that his wife had an affair leads Alex, the main character in The Banishment, to force his wife to make an abortion in a hope to re-build their relationship and save their marriage once this unborn baby is out of the way. As the result of that mere assumption he loses everything: his baby, his wife, his family. Pure lack of communication takes a deadly turn…

It can be difficult to recognize assumptions because they tend to be buried deep in our subconscious minds where they become ingrained with our personal worldview.

Take as an example Othello –  a highly respected Venetian state servant, a Moor with an exotic cultural past.  As Peter Winsley points out, Othello is a truly admirable man whose achievements and successes are due to his own abilities and efforts rather than blood-line and inheritance. Why this admirable military leader, successful man with a bright strategic mind falls pray to Iago’s insinuations?

Iago’s detects and exploits Othello’s insecurities, causing him to falsely suspect people around him. He intuits that Othello feels insecure due to his racial identity, especially given that he has married a beautiful white woman, and manipulates Othello into self-destructive behaviours. He plays on Othello’s self-doubts, subconscious assumption and fear that he is not good enough for Desdemona because of his racial identity and that if someone “better” comes along, Desdemona would prefer that person over him.

It takes just a few seeds of self-doubt to grow and overwhelm Othello’s trust in himself, in others, and in the world…

OTHELLO Poster

As Charles Gosset points out, it is easy to “assume” that our assumptions are just the way things are for us and that there’s nothing we can do to change them. However we all have the power and ability to challenge and change our negative assumptions once we first learn how to spot these slippery tricksters.

What are your assumptions? 

THE END

Image 1: from https://coachingur3ps.wordpress.com
Image 2: From http://quotes.lifehack.org
Image 3: The banishment
Image 4: Othello
Image 5: From http://greaternw.org/

What is your motivation?

How do you get motivated? What gets you up early in the morning fired with passion and ready to take on the challenges that await? Or, do you find yourself struggling to get going and dreading the day?

From When Money Can’t Do the Job

We all go through periods in life where motivation can be tough, where the routine gets monotonous and we find ourselves dragging a little. How can we find motivation?

Most people think that rewards or punishments motivate people the most.

From http://www.familybeforefortune.com

However that is not always the case. In his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink points out three elements of true motivation: autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Autonomy is “our desire to be self directed”; mastery is “the urge to get better at stuff”; and purpose is “making a contribution to society”. In other words, people are very motivated if they can choose how/when to do their jobs, are very competent at it, and are helping make the world a better place.

What is your motivation?

THE END

Strong Is The New Pretty AND Be Yourself Is The New Happy

Have you seen the “Strong Is The New Pretty” photo series by Kate Parker?

Kate, a photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia, is proud of her two daughters (Ella, 9, and Alice, 6) and takes beautiful photos to capture them the way she sees them.

strong-is-the-new-pretty-kate-parker-31
“I wanted this series of images to show their boldness, their strength and the beauty in them, as they are,” Parker writes on her website.

“My girls know that who they are is just perfect. Their silly, adventurous, frustrated, happy, LOUD, athletic, fierce, funny selves. They don’t need to have their hair done, clothes matching, or even be clean to be loved or accepted. Strong is the new pretty.“

strong-is-the-new-pretty-kate-parker-6

Strong Is The New Pretty
AND
Be Yourself Is The New Happy

🙂

strong-is-the-new-pretty-kate-parker-7

From http://www.boredpanda.com

THE END

If nothing bad is ever said, nothing good will ever get done…

“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing”

Aristotle (384 BCE-322 BCE)

From http://www.hongkiat.com

“Let’s face it: we all have to deal with criticism from time to time. And no matter how thick-skinned we are, critical words usually sting…

While sometimes it feels as if it would be great to avoid criticism all together, it’s a part of life, and it’s a part that can make us stronger and better…

How to handle criticism positively?

1. Don’t take it personally: try to take a step back from the words and process them from an objective place.

2. Believe in yourself: When you know (and stay true to) who you are, you can be more open to others words because you know they will either ring true to you or they will be so inaccurate that you won’t even need to think twice about them.

3. Realize you can’t please everyone: Every single one of us has a unique perspective of reality influenced by our thoughts and experiences and sometimes our perspective creates different ideas of how things should be.

4. Use negative feedback to inspire you: Listen to the criticism someone is offering you and ask yourself if it might possibly be a good advice. If you decide it is, act on it. Make changes for the better.

5. Learn from the critique. There are two ways you can learn from criticism: (1) you can see the truth it in (if there is any) and strive to make some edits to your behavior, or (2) you can realize that it’s not valid and you can strengthen your own beliefs by sticking to what feels true to you.”

(From http://www.positivelypresent.com )

AND

Don’t be too quick to criticise yourself…

From http://animacenter.org

If nothing bad is ever said, nothing good will ever get done.

😉

THE END

Fathers in today’s modern families can be so many things…

“Fathers in today’s modern families can be so many things.”

Oliver Hudson

From http://www.wrightsmedia.com

“My friends Katie and Scott… are both Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who work full-time. About a year ago, Scott travelled to the East Coast for work. He was starting a late-morning meeting when his phone rang. His team only heard one side of the conversation.

“A sandwich, carrot sticks, a cut-up apple, pretzels, and a cookie,” Scott said. He hung up smiling and explained that his wife was asking what she should put in the kids’ lunch boxes. Everyone laughed. …

There’s an epilogue to their story. Scott went on a trip and discovered that Katie forgot to make the kids’ lunches altogether. She realized her slipup midmorning and solved the problem by having a pizza delivered to the school cafeteria. Their kids were thrilled, but Scott was not. Now when he travels, he packs lunches in advance and leaves notes with specific instructions for his wife…”

From ‘Lean in’ by Sheryl Sandberg

lunchbox-dad-1From Lunchbox dad

“The may be an evolutionary basis for one parent knowing better what to put in a child’s lunch. Women who breast-feed are arguable baby’s first lunch box. But even if mothers are more naturally inclined toward nurturing, fathers can match that skill with knowledge and effort…

We overcome biology with consciousness in other areas. For example, storing large amounts of fat was necessary to survive when food was scarce, so we evolved to crave it and consume it when it’s available. But in this era of plenty, we no longer need large amounts of fuel in reserve, so instead of simply giving in to this inclination, we exercise and limit caloric intake.

We use willpower to combat biology, or at least we try. So even if ‘mother knows best’ is rooted in biology, it need not be written in stone. A willing mother and a willing father are all it requires… As women must be more empowered at work, men must be more empowered at home.”

From ‘Lean in’ by Sheryl Sandberg

lunchbox-dad-4
From Lunchbox dad

Lunchbox Dad
From http://www.lunchboxdad.com/

Let’s appreciate such truly amazing dads!

🙂

THE END