How often do you doubt yourself? Has your self-doubt increased as the economy attempts to sink deeper than the Titanic?
Having recently engaged in conversations with various people regarding job security, even those that do have jobs seem to feel as if they are living on the edge. Long gone are the days when companies seemed loyal to long serving employees. It seems redundancy packages are a thing of the past when companies are looking to cut costs in addition to costs saved from lay-offs.
Not long into his post, the newly appointed CEO at Sony announced that they would be cutting 10,000 jobs globally. Mothercare also slashing jobs as well as shutting down many stores around the world. This is scary considering that I was just starting(if you ignore the situation in Greece and Spain for a second) to think things were looking up. It’s more so made real when your friends are affected by this. It’s no longer just a story in the papers that you are reading about. Your friends are being made redundant. People are still losing jobs! I remember when all the madness really came to light when Lehman Brothers went bust. One of my friends was only a couple of months into his internship when that was cut short as Lehman Brothers went into administration. He was of course gutted, but I can only imagine those that had been with the company for years to go into work one morning to find that they no longer had a job anymore. No redundancy packet either. I can’t even begin to comprehend how that must have felt.
“When our lives are disrupted, when we are forced to take action or make a tough decision, we have two choices. The most natural is to shake with fear, to run and hide, and to hope that the paralysis passes. The other is to realise that in this world there is no such thing as disruption without opportunity. It's no coincidence that many of the biggest companies of the past 50 years were started in the depths of real economic hardship: FedEx, IBM, Procter and Gamble. The people who founded them saw it as a moment of opportunity. They salivated while everyone else was hiding”. Alas! There is light at the end of the tunnel. You only have to open your eyes to it. I am sure there is someone out there making a killing at the expense of the Greek and Spanish down turn.
A friend of mine has been toying with the idea of quitting his job. You can only imagine the side eye I gave him. Who in their right mind would want to quit their job in the current climate?! Him!!! That's who. I guess he is just one of those brave(or plain crazy) enough to take a risk and he can see an opportunity amidst the turbulent economy. As much as he is eager to start his own business there is still a level of doubt. I will bet those that founded IBM and FedEx got the same reaction when they said they want to start a business while many were falling like dominoes. It’s only natural that anyone would have doubts about embarking on such a venture but he is still very much excited about it. So I and a few others have sort encouraged going part time while he gets the ball rolling.
It appears that self- doubt is a good thing. Galileo called self-doubt “the father of all invention”. Self-doubt that doesn't lead to decision or action is ultimately self-defeating, and creates a numbing negativity – whereas self-doubt that leads to resolution of the doubts can be a remarkable source of energy and creativity.
It also appears that some people are naturally better at embracing uncertainty and disruption. The good news is that this can be learned. You can practice habits that over time allow you to better deal with uncertain circumstances, by realising that “it’s not a particular circumstance that controls the way your experience it, rather, it’s your mindset that makes you anxious about the situation”. So if you do ask yourself the question ‘what if I fail?'. Follow it up with ‘How will I recover?' then, ‘What if I did nothing?' then finally; ‘what if I succeed?' Jonathan Fields the author of ‘Uncertainty: Turning Fear And Doubt Into Fuel For Brilliance' says that for each of these questions try to paint a vivid scene to enable mobility instead of paralysis.
So for those that have lost jobs or thinking of quitting; may be you could just be the next founder of a mega bucks company like the likes of IBM and such. May be you can see light where others fail to see it? Maybe it’s not even business, maybe now is the time to do that travelling that you have been wanting to do for years but never had the time to do. Or if you would like to get into a habit of nurturing those ideas you have been sitting on then do get started and check out a blog post by Paige titled ‘Simple Steps to Creating Productivity Habits'(http://www.simplemindfulness.com/2012/04/05/creating-productivity-habits/)
This economic crisis will polarise companies/people into winners and losers. So how have our attitude(s) to what’s happening changed the way you live?
How has the situation affected those around you. Has it made you work harder to keep the job that you have?
Please feel free to share any pro-active initiative that you have taken to either look for work or keep your job or business.
Bianca Malata: An application developer working in London. When not working, she is either planning her next rock climbing trip to faraway places or writing about.