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Jobless but not jaded.

Let go of the loss

The job is so loaded with meaningful attributes that its loss is not simply the loss of a paycheck or of the work itself; it is the loss of a structure that literally and figuratively supported us and gave us a sense of self, a sense of meaning and of purpose. Without that structure, we are ... "between trapezes," hanging in midair, not at all sure whether we're going to catch the next bar or go crashing into some abyss ...

If you get temporarily immobilized by self-doubt or disappointment, try some of these strategies to break through roadblocks....

* Take a hike. If something that looked like a sure thing falls through and you feel "back at square one," take a break from your job search. This break is a time for catharsis, to cleanse your body-mind-spirit of disappointment and negative thinking.... Rather than continuing to obsess over your fears and losses, spend a day hiking in a forest. Or try an outdoor workout, followed by a movie you've wanted to see.

* Reaction, re-action. Sometimes disappointments block us from seeing more options. If this happens and your action steps get roadblocked by fear and worry, do some journal work about the questions that plague you. Write one question at the top of each blank page; then write everything that comes to mind.

* Friendly reflection. Sometimes defensive patterns that were modeled in our original families show up and sabotage our best efforts during periods of disruption. Have friends, support-group colleagues, and significant family members "mirror" you. Allow them to tell you if they hear you getting stuck in blaming your ex-employer, your outplacement counselor, or the human resources people that aren't beating down your door to hire you.

* Get personal. Don't hide out--create frequent interpersonal opportunities.... Watch out for computer and TV addictions. Better to play a board game than a computer game. Assign yourself the task of getting social, in some way, every other day.... Do anything that promises social interaction, intellectual stimulation, and the requirement that you "show up" fully as a participant.... Your social skills, participation in community, and sense of connection will all be enhanced by these forays and will keep you grounded, during your job search, to the hard-won idea that you are more than a job title.

Excerpted from Are You a Corporate Refugee? A Survival Guide for Downsized, Disillusioned, and Displaced Workers by Ruth Luban (Penguin USA, $15). Copyright [C] 2001. Reprinted by arrangement with Penguin Books.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Luban, Ruth
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2001
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