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Dealing with the Gremlin called Unemployment Stress

Gremlin laughing at light bulb

 

I remember a story from a children’s magazine subscription which dealt with creatures called Ugly Wugglies. These characters were frightening and played havoc. If I remember correctly, they would knock on the door of your house and if you let them in, then they would play mischief and havoc with you.

In modern times, these mind game playing creatures are better known as Gremlins. They can take any form that they choose and it all depends upon you as to how much control they hold on your mind.

Gremlins are mythological mischievous creatures quite similar to imps but with an inclination to tinker with mechanical equipment.

Everybody knows about the 1984 movie called The Gremlins but did you know that the termed was used by the RAF during the World Wars to explain inexplicable accidents that happened during flights? Some pilots even claimed to have seen and heard these creatures.

Quite possibly, the stress of combat and the dizzying heights caused such hallucinations, often believed to be a coping mechanism of the mind to help explain the many problems aircraft faced whilst in combat.

What does appear to hold is that stress can create gremlins in our mind which can put us down, play the blame game and prevent us from taking action.

 

The Unemployment Stress Gremlin

In today’s world, many of us depend on our jobs for our identity and losing a job becomes stressful not only for economic reasons but also for the loss of sense of self and professional identity.

Our jobs influence the way we see ourselves. When someone asks you what you do, the majority of people start describing the modality of their work or their position. The elevator pitch is not the first thing that comes to their minds.

Sadly, it also influences how others view us. No matter how much guidance is available on networking and how we should see it as an opportunity to help others, most of the time, people look at how you can help them.

If you are lucky, you might be working for an organization that tries to help employees find new jobs or your network is able to help you make the jump back into employment and daily routine quickly.

But that is often not the case and the longer you stay unemployed, the stronger the Unemployment Stress Gremlin takes over manifesting itself as a loss of self-esteem and self-confidence and sense of security.  You suddenly lose that sense of purposeful activity and sometimes your social network if it was based around your job.

In the book Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson, your gremlin is the source of your negative thoughts and he (or she or it) uses some of your past experiences to influence your attitude and behavior.

 

Working on getting rid of the Unemployment Stress Gremlin

In my post “Getting Job Interviews in Recessionary Times”, I discussed an action plan to help with your job search which translates into purposeful activity.

But to make any effort work well, you also need to work on your mindset and stay positive (even when it kills you).

 

5 effective anti-Gremlin actions you can use

Accept reality

As painful as it is, wallowing in the past or feeling sorry for yourself will not help you to move ahead. Accept the reality that the job is gone and start planning for your next move. When I lived in Jamaica, I learned of a saying “When God closes one door, He opens 10 more”. This might just be one ending so that a better beginning can be made.

Don’t bury your feelings, accept them.

 

Welcome all your thoughts with equal regard

 

Suppressing your feelings does not help.  You might appear alright on the surface but the fears and anxiety will show up in your interactions with others. It will affect how you respond to questions in job interviews and certainly not help you put up your best.

Acknowledge the fact that you are human and have feelings. Once you are aware of your feelings, you are better equipped to handle the negative thoughts that come up and take the right actions that will move you closer to your goal – mission successful job hunt.

 

Don’t play mind games with yourself

The last thing you should do to yourself is play the game of self-doubt or think that something is wrong with you and get stuck in that groove. Instead, accept that even in this situation, you still have control over your actions. Put your mind to thinking about what one thing you can do each day to find that new employment.  Perhaps update your resume? Contact a head hunter who specializes in your industry? Update your LinkedIn profile?

In short, focus on the things that you can control.

 

Stress management tip about self doubt

 

Step back and look at your strengths

We learn as we go along but often forget to acknowledge our strengths and qualities until compelled to do so. Now is a good time to do another reality check – who you really are when freed from the shackles of your professional identity. Make a list of what you have accomplished, both personally and professionally. What skills, abilities or knowledge have you acquired over the years that make you employable? Are there any new skills that you need to learn or update? Can you find a silver lining to the situation?

 

Work on your stress management techniques

Finding a job when you are unemployed can be stressful, especially if the openings are for less qualified positions. This is the time when your stress management techniques will prove crucial to helping you stay on top of your game.

One of the biggest problems with being unemployed is the loss of daily routine. Now is the time to create a new one which takes self-care into account. Think about the things that you normally do which you enjoy and give you a sense of well being.

You might want to experiment with different stress management techniques and find one that works best for you. Take up a sport, meditation, music, reading, going for long walks, yoga or a hobby that involves your hands.

 

Final Thoughts on Unemployment Stress Gremlins for You

There will be good days and bad days. Now more than ever, don’t go into your shell. Now is the time to be out and about meeting people, networking and reaching out for support. You would be surprised how willing people can be to help if they only know you need it.

Treat the job hunt as a project and create a job search plan. Rethink your goals. Maybe this is the right opportunity for you to create your second innings career. Keep up your self-esteem by volunteering your time and skills. You never know where that opening will come from.

Have you ever had to deal with the Unemployment Stress Gremlin? What steps did you take to keep it at bay and get back on track?

 

 

PS. Curious about the RAF Gremlins? Here’s an interesting link!  Wikipedia/Gremlin

 

PPS. Want to learn more about stress management using Chakra balancing and 1 minute exercises that work? Click on the image and learn more about my ebook written for that very purpose.

 

Stress management with Chakra Balancing Exercises Guide

Stress Management with Chakra Balancing Exercises

 

 

Written By: Vatsala Shukla

Circle the Karmic Ally Coaching Experience Page!

 

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18 Responses to “Dealing with the Gremlin called Unemployment Stress”

  1. Natasha Botkin says:

    Lovely way to help during stressful times. xoxo

  2. Reba Linker says:

    Great post, Vatsala, and helpful in creating a smoother transition back to gainful employment. The self-love and manifesting way is to ‘be that which you seek,’ which completely changes the focus from lack to abundance. So, if I want a love relationship, for ex., instead of moping about the unavailability of love in my life I would focus on loving all those in my path, being love and being in love, even if my one and only special love is not in front of me. I think you are saying something similar in your opening paragraphs in that our focus can still be on ways we can be of service to others. It’s hard, I know, to focus on being useful rather than needy – especially if we happen to BE needy at the moment! – but if that is possible, it may offer a way through to the next steps. xo

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Remembering to practice self-love is important in such situations, Reba, and you’ve hit the nail on the head! Being of service helps to distract our minds and reinforce our view of our being useful and of value though it can be a challenge when we are in a dark place and feeling needy.

  3. My thought is that at different times in our lives, this would manifest differently in each of us Vatsala. When we are younger, we feel like we are invincible and the stress of unemployment might not be as dramatic as when we are in our 40’s, 50’s or 60’s. I see how the younger generation is almost programmed to change and to change often. They look for adventure and how to be of service and many are more entrepreneurial than was the style for older generations, who looked for a job and planned to stay there as long as possible. The stressors of our modern-day world and the quick and sudden changes, are easier it seems for younger people to manage and require those from earlier generations to find new stress management skills and to learn to focus on the positive and accentuate that in their lives. Times have certainly changed from when I was in the work force too! Thanks for your tips, Vatsala. We can all adopt some of them to face the gremlins we face in many areas of our lives.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      I do agree with you Beverley. As a veteran of 3 redundancies thanks to global economic recession and ‘business decisions’ over which I had no control, I’ve seen how easy it was to jump back into a new job as a younger professional – max 1 month and when it happened as a senior professional -9 months because by then I was a specialist. In one case that I know of from within my circle, it took the person a full 1 year and he was compelled to take his family and live with his in-laws until the right job came. That too despite being a highly accomplished professional!

      Times have certainly changed and being quick to adapt when the cheese moves is important which is what my quiz on change management is all about! 🙂

  4. Great article and important to share. So many people have been and are affected by unemployment stress. ~ Blessing Pauline

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thank you Pauline. When recession strikes, many of us are affected, especially the older workforce who haven’t been trained to accept that there is always a risk of unemployment. Being proactive in preparing ourselves for the situation and within the situation is an important coping skill.

  5. Tamuria says:

    Spot on advice for dealing with the unemployment stress gremlin, Vatsala. I have seen how unemployment can have devastating effects on people who don’t learn to cope with the gremlin. It’s so important to accept your feelings and not bury them, as you said, and also to recognise your accomplishments and focus on your achievements.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks Tamuria. Unemployment is a stressful situation and it worsens if the unemployment goes on for a longer period. The ability to keep oneself grounded and focused is important, especially one’s self-esteem when there are factors at play over which we have no influence.

  6. This is such an important topic! My dad had worked for the same employer over 45 years when he retired. Not many people can relate to that these days. The older one gets the more stressful changing jobs can be, even when it’s your idea, so understanding how to manage those feelings and emotions can make a huge difference! Thanks for the advice and inspiration. 🙂

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks Marquita. The concept of 1 job for life and getting a gold watch on retirement seems to have become a rare occurrence in today’s day and age. My Dad was in service for 36 years but he did observe that the Labor Laws in India and insurance needed an overhaul as they only covered blue collar workers and not professionals. The ability to handle the array of emotions and feelings we undergo is an asset for self-preservation.

  7. In ways, I think that you could lift “unemployment” out of the topic and easily apply most of your advice to any kind of stress. Don’t you think?

    • Karmic Ally says:

      The tips do work for other kinds of stress Gremlins too, Sue, although their true power is in helping long term unemployed professionals. 🙂

  8. When I counselled professionals upon job loss I often heard them say, I was an accountant. I soon realized that too many people didn’t own their skills & training & it was connected to what they did. I was able to counsel that they lost their job, but not who they were and they wer still an Accountant, Treasurer, Exec, etc. It took time to sync in but once they got it, the search & loss of status etc lighted. You presented great tips I could have used then &b can use today in other situations.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      That is such an important point, Roslyn, that we need to take ownership of our skills and training instead of talking about it in the past just because we have lost a job. When we keeping talking of having been, then the dis-empowering thought gets embedded in our sub-conscious mind making it even more difficult to move forward in positive motion. Thank you for sharing your experience and insights.

  9. Teresa Salhi says:

    Unemployment can be quite stressful for many and your tips and expertise will bring a new light on how to handle the situation. It is true the mind can play tricks on us. It bring up feelings of fear because it has a job of keeping us safe and that means to avoid change…..it is not true of course we need to show ourselves and our mind that we can learn new ways and in fact it is the opportunity of change that benefits us the most.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      We don’t need to show our mind anything, Teresa, but to take responsibility for ourselves and keep ourselves motivated to try new things and look out for ways to create new opportunities. Thanks for dropping by and contributing to the conversation. 🙂

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Meet your coach
I believe the world would be a better place if high achieving professionals accepted setbacks and challenges to their careers as Wake Up Calls to embark on a Journey where their empowered course correcting actions create a New World Order that encompasses achieving their career aspirations & potential with authentic life balance.   

 Using a combination of intuition and analytical skills, I help my clients identify their real issues with exercises to still their mind and allow their inner feeling to emerge in a place of confidentiality and trust. 

I work with driven, passionate, talented and ambitious professionals who've hit a speed breaker in their business or career create their desired breakthrough reclaiming control of their situation with  customized strategies and tactics that work.

When my clients first come to me, they are not in a very happy place and need clarity about themselves and their chosen vocation. Their professional problems are playing havoc with other areas of their life. They know they need to take radical steps to change the status quo but they also know that they need support and accountability to get them their desired result.

 

I really get it, because at one point, I also experienced getting lost in my work rationalizing decisions that were detrimental to the other aspects of my life. I’ve struggled with and won battles of stress management, life balance and career decisions to emerge in a place where I can confidently say that I live my desired life according to my personal Manifesto and have created a business that provides me with a platform for my desired lifestyle and self-expression for myself. I want that for you too!

 
I adhere to the Certified Coaches Alliance Code of Ethics and Standards. A copy is available on request.
1st place BCB 2012
Email: Vatsala(at)karmicallycoaching(dot)com Phone:91 9818517664
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