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
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.
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.
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.
Written By: Vatsala Shukla
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