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When you lose your job, breathe deeply

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines career as “a profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling.” Nice try, but in 21st century America how many among us fit neatly into that tight box? Some perhaps, but how many alter the route and take the road not previously traveled?

What if our interests evolve or the local job market changes? What if we begin to hate our choices or get no payout from all the blood, sweat and tears (not to mention money) that we put into our training and ladder climbing? What if the economy tanks?

Many people in the Hartford area (and elsewhere) are experiencing crushing emotional, professional, and financial losses brought on by downsizing, restructuring, and company closures. One recent coaching client was let go from the company he had worked for since 1970. Can you imagine how untethered he feels? How lost without the structure and connections with colleagues he enjoyed for so long? Perhaps how scared and hopeless in the face of all the negative employment statistics that the media bring us?

How should he begin to cope and move on? Should he (or you) sit in front of the computer for hours each day frantically reviewing the listings on Monster or CareerBuilder? No. How about staying in bed all day with the covers pulled up? Tempting, but no. Is getting drunk and yelling at the person closest to him going help? I doubt it, although it may feel good at the time.

So, what should he (you) do? Welcome to my column. Visit often because we are going to discuss this issue and others. All questions, comments, information, and opinions are most welcome. Meanwhile begin by breathing deeply and being as kind as you can to yourself.

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