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I can handle it

May 1, 2009

The thing I love most about writing (including blogging) is it helps me pinpoint things that I don’t always bother to reflect on in my other day to day activities.  In my recession rant, I concluded with this paragraph “I think I do it because of my general lack of confidence in my ability to deal with whatever life may throw at me on the fly.  So I prepare.  I save an emergency fund, I have plans A-F, and I worry.”

As if on cue, Seth Godin’s post showed up in my RSS feed with a concise (as always) argument that panicking is foolish and there is no need for an abundance of caution.  I realized I’ve been living by “Might as well panic” for the past month or so.  And this is the wrong approach.

If my task ends, I need to trust my manager to do what he can to find me a new task.  That’s his job, and he’s working on it!  I have an interview sometime with someone at a different site, but having just moved, it would make my commute about 40 miles.  So, non-ideal, but I can at least consider it.  He also claimed he’s looking at something at this site, but gave me no details yet.  He’s doing his job.  He wants to keep me around.  I wanted a new task anyway, this is just a bit more of a rough transition.

If there seriously is no work at my company for me, I need to trust myself to be able to find other work at a new company.  I need to get over my “woe is me, I just want a stable position for a couple years” and trust that it’ll be good.  Maybe even better.

If I can never ever find a job in my field again (extremely unlikely!) I need to trust that I’ll still be ok.   I’ll do something else.  I’m a quick study, I know how to work hard.  It will be ok.  I can handle it.  I can’t handle EVERYTHING, but most things that have a good chance of happening, I can handle.

Caution is ok, and if suspending my ROTH IRA for a couple months helps me sleep, I’ll do it.  But all the rest of the worry is totally un-actionable.

I’ve initiated several major changes in my life.  It has always been a little scary at first, but it has always turned out for the better.  When change is initiated by someone else, it is even more scary. But that doesn’t mean it won’t still be for the better.  Change is ok, and it is inevitable.  I better work on learning that now, because I have a lot of living left to do.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2009 9:17 am

    Caution never hurt anyone, SP. The way I look at this recession is that I’m still going to stack my savings account for three months worth of expenses. I’m still going to grocery shop for the future (I’m a couponer, so stockpiling is a cornerstone of that). I’m still going to make my payments on time for my loans.

    In the meantime, I’m not going to scrimp on the little things that make me happy, like a new book now and again or an ice cream cone. You have to be able to breathe, m’dear, and you won’t be able to do that if you’re in panic mode.

  2. May 1, 2009 9:59 am

    Ultimately, too, you have to remember that you are exceptionally bright and qualified for many of the jobs out there. I’m pretty confident that you would be able to find a new job – a better job – fairly quickly.

  3. May 1, 2009 10:59 am

    @Amphritrite – i agree that some caution is good, and I’m not out purchasing a bunch of expensive things (um, except that bike). But I don’t want to wander to the other extreme either. It isn’t useful. You are right — I can afford an ice cream cone nad to go out for dinner now and again!

    @paranoid asteroid – Thanks! I’m confident too, sometimes, but I just like things to be on my terms.

  4. Patty permalink
    May 2, 2009 7:54 pm

    Yeah don’t worry. You have no control over it. I was laid off last week! But I was given 60 days notice and did manage to get two interviews but no jobs yet. I just submitted and got a response of my unemployment benefits.

    For the last two months, I didn’t contribute to my retirements acct so that gave me some extra bonus. I’m fortunate that my monthly unemployment check $1698 will just be enough to cover my expenses so I don’t really need to dig into my funds.

    Not much I can do is fine tune my skills, learn some new things, and keep applying for jobs. I see this as chance for me to dedicate a lot of time on training like reading books while I spend 5-10 hours /week on job hunting.

  5. May 3, 2009 2:09 pm

    I read a good book by Carnegie about stopping worrying. I think it essentially boils down to: Ask yourself what will happen if everything you fear comes true. Most of the time, it’s not nearly as bad as we think. For example, if your manager can’t get you a job, you are smart and qualified enough that you should be able to find another one. Or you will qualify for unemployment help. It will be unpleasant, but you’ll make do. Plus you will have an EF to fall back on in case of absolute emergency.

    Of course, yes, it’s good to make “just in case” plans. But generally speaking, we’re a lot more flexible than we give ourselves credit for. My husband is nearing his one-year mark of being unemployed. We both have health problems that limit our ability to work. And yet we’re still paying bills and even paying down a little debt. It’s far from ideal, but we know we can survive.

    Sometimes it’s all about going through the worst-case scenario in your brain. You’ll often find you’re more prepared than you think.

  6. May 4, 2009 6:02 am

    I trust myself, but I still prepare for the unexpected. Trust gives you self confidence, but it doesn’t magically put money in your bank account or food in your pantry. Trust and preparation are a good combination for success, of course panicking isn’t going to help.

  7. SP permalink*
    May 4, 2009 12:46 pm

    @Patty – I have even caught myself thinking that one month or so of unemployment would be a welcome reprise! But I do know that no one promises it’ll be just a month.

    @Abigail – Exactly! I don’t need to worry about everything that could possibly happen, I just need to keep myself in a good position in general.

    @Miss M – I’ve never been the type to be unprepared or to spend everything I have without caution. I do hate those types that say ridiculous things from “The Secret” like “spend as though you are rich and the money will appear”. Yeah…. right…

    I agree that some people could use more foresight and preparation, and others just need to relax a little. I am working on balance!

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