Bad Times Bring Big Faith

The Silicon Valley chapter of Experience Unlimited, ProMatch, a state sponsored career resource center, has swelled to maximum capacity while a list holds names of unemployed professionals waiting to get in. The volume is so strained that the maximum membership time has been reduced from 9 months to 6 months in an effort to support more people.

The New York Times this weekend reported similar crowd scenes, yet in a different type of venue.  The article opened by describing an affluent Long Island town evangelical church so packed that an overflow room with closed-circuit TV with 100 folding chairs set up to accommodate the crowd. Similar stories were reported in Seattle, Brooklyn, and other cities throughout the country.

Bad times draw big crowds in church. It seems that fear returns us to that faith that there is something to believe in that will enable us to feel safe.

If we can feel safe in the most challenging of times, then isn’t the challenge worth where we’ve arrived?

Emotional Support for the Unemployed

This past Friday a recently laid-off Silicon Valley engineer fatally shot three former co-workers, including the CEO. This brutal incident of workplace violence was just one that makes up 20% of all violent crimes as reported by the San Jose Mercury News.

What does this workplace violence statistic say?

Violence is a product of anger and fear. While the motive of this particular killer remains unknown, the story suggests a couple of theories:

  1. Anger over the job loss
  2. Fear of financial insecurity
  3. Anger or fear over loss of identity without a job

Our nation is now grappling with the toughest unemployment rate in 14 years. The U.S. Labor Department reported that 1.2 million people have lost their jobs this year. With October producing 240,000, the total number is likely to surpass 1.5 million by the end of the year.

How can we support the emotions of the unemployed? Having lost a paycheck myself, I empathize with the fears about money and carving out the next gig. Yet a job transition can be viewed as an invitation to revisit what really matters at the end of each of our lives:

How well did you use your talents and expertise and develop your inner potential?

Give yourself permission to trust in the good of the universe. Look at losing your job as a message that:

  • Your talents and expertise are no longer needed at that company.
  • You are being freed so that you can contribute to a company that needs you more.

As a nation we can look at the vast number of jobs being lost as a message that:

  • We need to shift the focus of our work force to jobs that better contribute to what our country needs now.

Our new President is not responsible for initiating change. The unemployment situation demonstrates that change is happening now and we are all involved in the process. Unfortunately, change is often uncomfortable at first. Yet trust in the good of the universe and believe that you will arrive in a better place once you land.