From Dr. Jane's Notebook

In your spare time build your own pushcart

My great-grandparents immigrated to this country around the turn of the century. Like so many others, they had the ominous task of resettling their family and earning a living. Fortunately, my great-grandfather was a tailor and since people were always in need of clothing, he was always able to work for himself. Although my great-grandfather died at an early age, he left behind a legacy of self-sufficiency which my great-grandmother was sure to instill in their offspring, and in turn, in their grandchildren down the line. My father recalls her saying, “Jerry, whatever you do, you’ve got to have your own little pushcart”.  His interpretation of this advice was ‘it’s okay to open up your own lemonade stand, if that’s what you love; just don’t depend on anyone else to give you a  job.’ More than one hundred years later, that legacy still serves our family well.

In these times of uncertain employment, we all need to have a back-up plan. Here are a few more thoughts on the matter.

After the trauma of job separation, it takes time to grieve this loss and heal the wounds to our self-esteem. For many, this is a time when our emotions go through great fluctuations.  If we think too much about the future, we get anxious. If we think too much about the past, we get depressed. However, for those who have prepared themselves, it is simply the time to re-invent themselves.

One friend of mine recently created her own success story. Having seen the ‘hand-writing on the wall’, she knew her days were numbered after 15 years of service to an agency which was headed for re-organization. Fortunately, she was trained in skills which would transfer with her. Unfortunately, she also knew that working for another agency was no guarantee of long-term stability and happiness. While she had never worked for herself, she decided it was time to take a risk, even if it meant living modestly for a while. To her great surprise, business soon began to come her way, and she made a few decisions which made all the difference in the world. First, she set her own hours; second, she set her own dress code; and third, she made a decision to eliminate negative attitudes in her workplace.  Today, she is happier, healthier, and less stressed by the looming fear of losing her job.  Now the only boss she has to please is herself; now she has her own little ‘pushcart’.

©Copyright, 2004, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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