It's important for me to get out of the office on a regular basis and talk with groups of people who, in the neat language of business jargon, are part of a statistic called "job churn," the movement of people in and out of the labor market. Right now, churn—which suggests violent splashing—is making us all feel like we're traveling on very rough seas and producing a lot of queasiness.
Although I regularly see individual clients in career transition who often feel as if they are in a small boat in an ocean of uncertainty, I find being in the company of a group of people who have given up an evening or Saturday morning to attend one of my presentations a very different experience.
It is more like riding the subway or a bus rather than driving my own car. When I use mass transit, I'm just another passenger sharing a journey with others from one stop to another. It's no longer the other drivers and me in our separate vehicles en route to different destinations. We're all in it together, which is exactly how it feels when I step into a library meeting room, community center or church hall and start to talk informally with people who have come to hear me speak. And, just like the subway, I never know who will sit down next to me or how my world will expand as a result.
Such was the case a few weeks ago when I met an attractive middle-aged woman at one of my seminars who claimed she already knew me.
Judging from conversations I’m having these days with loved ones of those who have suddenly found themselves unemployed, or fear that they might be, there are a lot of people entering 2009 with concerns about another person’s employment status.
While we all recognize that it’s difficult being the one out there looking for work, we sometimes forget that it is also emotionally challenging for the spouse or the parent of that person.
You want very much to be supportive, to be wholeheartedly there for your husband, wife or child, but at the same time you are grappling with your own fears. Keeping your anxiety from overcoming the goal of providing support and encouragement to the work-seeker is a tricky business.