Doing the zen-thing when you're about to be laid off

Gainful employment is a reality for most Druids. This forum is a place to discuss challenges and opportunities facing Druids in the workplace.
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djinn
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Doing the zen-thing when you're about to be laid off

Postby djinn » 06 Apr 2011, 21:53

Hi everybody,
after about 13 years on the job, with numerous colleagues, managers and very big happy moments in achieving stuff, I just heard that my last (!) colleague is quitting within the month and in the entire, very big, office space there will be nobody but me. The manager is interim and in some other country. All my former colleagues did not get the much-hoped-for extension on their working contracts and had to go one day to the next. From a thriving office of 15 employees, now only I remain, and today I heard that I am probably going to be laid off too, because for only one employee, the office is too big a burden on the budget. Call me nothing, I helped 6 people today with their appeal for help. Our fantastic office will be terminated, directly after a very active, swinging and thriving period. These days, no kidding, I am the ghost of my office, every empty workplace I see is the workplace of someone who was there a couple of months ago, who made a very big difference in his or her job. I even speak of 'we' still, while there's nobody left.

Of course, I am applying for new places to work and everything, but until I really find something, wow, well, I am in that very empty building every day, doing all the stuff that nobody is around to do anymore. Book? Sure. Radio? Of course. Some exercise? Room enough. Sun? If it's there, I'm baking in it, next to the phone and the office e-mail.

I can make life as easy as I want, actually. But every moment I see those old desks and think of those colleagues that would have been there today, helping out a lot of people with their questions and doubts, if only their contracts would have been extended. We would have been thriving still, doing a lot of good, if only. Apart from the cheery mind, the 'take every day as a gift and make as much of it as you can'-thought, the 'be happy that you still have your own bloody wages these days', how do you Zen into this kind of situation? Every once in a while, I really feel lost, and now my last colleague is going too!

The only kind of cheering up that I can give myself is that real ghosts probably should be having a huge ball, since they are unseen and unheard!
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Re: Doing the zen-thing when you're about to be laid off

Postby Lily » 06 Apr 2011, 23:35

it sucks. that's the Zen of it.
you know, the Japanese invented something other than Zen: it's an expression called "shikata ga nai" - "there's nothing you can do" ("doing-fashion there isn't" if you are into the funny lego-grammar of japanese*). Or not much.

I've been there in the way that I once "just" resigned before everyone was laid off, and that once I had to quit because I just couldn't take it anymore....

think of the things you have learned that can open doors for you for another job. think of your qualities. Polish your resume. There WILL be another door open for you.
Yeah, read up on some stuff that interest you.*if you want, learn some japanese.
Surely you've checked whether your current employer has anything else on offer (although likely you don't even want to work for them suckers who dumped all your friends).

Shikata ga nai, girl, at least you can have your feet on your desk and no-one will frown.
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

Lily


"You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into"
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Re: Doing the zen-thing when you're about to be laid off

Postby skh » 07 Apr 2011, 07:32

You need to protect your soul and your sanity.

My advice would be to find something that makes you really happy, preferable not job-related. Music, a garden, academics, a new language, art, sports, whatever. You can also use your free time to brush up job related skills to make yourself more interesting for employers, but that's not what I mean.

Try and find something that is a source of joy and happiness for you, and then just do that something a lot. Give it enough time in your life, maybe even become a bit obsessed. Don't let sitting in an office alone become the defining thing in your life.

The situation you describe is -- in my non-professional opinion -- enough to create psychological problems for any normal, healthy person. Low self-esteem, bottled-up anger, frustration, depression. And the isolation is dangerous -- do you have a social life outside your job? If not, try and build one, go out and meet people.

When I was last laid off, a bit over two years ago, I had just gone back to school and was studying part-time at university. It made finding a job more difficult because I wasn't available full-time, and I struggled financially. But it helped so much to have something else to fill my life, that made me really happy and kept me as busy as I wanted to.

Take care.

peace /|\
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Re: Doing the zen-thing when you're about to be laid off

Postby merryb » 07 Apr 2011, 10:13

You have a wealth of skills and gifts you are in horrible situation - the school I worked in suffered a period like that. They reduced the teaching staff by half and replaced them with learning mentors. Noticed I said used too I opted for redundancy.

This process is dreadful - I like your image of ghosts having a ball in the empty building - zen meditation or mindful meditation help me see my way clearly as to what I wanted to do. Maybe it could help you clear away the dismantling of your work life and show you the way forward.

With blessings
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Re: Doing the zen-thing when you're about to be laid off

Postby Kima » 07 Apr 2011, 10:47

I don't think "positive thinking" will get you very far. Zen is not about forcing yourself to see bliss everywhere, it's about seeing the situation clearly and looking at it with compassion. In the situation you describe, as Lily points out, it sucks, and you have to accept that - not passively but as something that is the way it is. This being said, do look at your options and start thinking of your way out.

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Re: Doing the zen-thing when you're about to be laid off

Postby djinn » 15 Jun 2011, 10:01

Dear Lily, Susan, Merryb and Kima,

thank you very much for your replies, they helped me cope and focus during some harsh weeks. Since my last colleague has left the building, I must say that the days brightened some - her hard times added to my own. Trying to keep my own balance and cheering her up at the same time cost a lot of energy. I do have a lot of hobbies, an active social life and many musical gigs in my spare time, and I already had over-organized in them just to counterbalance the daily office situation.

I do see Zen as a way to look at the world with an emotional distance, to recognize the little details that together form a big picture. Emotional distance sometimes being difficult to achieve - thank you for your nudges in the right direction. I am all about 'count your blessings' too though, and have kept counting during this last period. And finally got to make the right 'click' in my head to find my energy back and move into a new direction mentally as well. I'm still in the old job, and value every service I'm giving to who needs it. But I'll keep you posted on the new job I'm going to find out there.

Thanks again,

Djinn
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Re: Doing the zen-thing when you're about to be laid off

Postby DJ Droood » 15 Jun 2011, 11:35

I do see Zen as a way to look at the world with an emotional distance, to recognize the little details that together form a big picture.

good luck with everything...have you ever noticed, though, how we only practice Zen when something bad is happening? When we have a plate full of cake and a party, we tend to throw ourselves into it.
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Re: Doing the zen-thing when you're about to be laid off

Postby Huathe » 15 Jun 2011, 15:04

Djinn,

Seeing your job atrophy reminds me of mine. When I was hired at GE Lighting Systems back in 1994, it was a thriving plant. 1,400 people worked there. I had heard that some years before it had somewhere around 1,600 employees. Through hard economic times, downsizing due to outsourcing and bad management we got down to 285 employees two years ago! Many of the former got laid off. Many people retired and were never replaced and anyone who quit or fired was not replaced. The plant looks so much emptier than it used to. I lost my diecast job that I really liked. Diecasting now sits empty like a ghost town. All the machines and equipment is up for sale. They outsourced the area. My pay was cut and I have been bumped around the plant so much I feel like a ping-pong ball. But so far I have had enough seniority to avoid lay-off.

Some good news though. Things have picked up lately since GE Lighting Systems ( Now GE Lighting Solutions ) has got into the LED market. We have about 400 working in the plant now. They have called some people back from lay off. Things are looking up, but for how long? GELS history is like a roller coaster. Up and down.
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Re: Doing the zen-thing when you're about to be laid off

Postby djinn » 16 Jun 2011, 11:04


have you ever noticed, though, how we only practice Zen when something bad is happening? When we have a plate full of cake and a party, we tend to throw ourselves into it.
:o

uh, no, frankly I never took the time to consider this in front of a plate of cake! :o

*another thing learned today*
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Re: Doing the zen-thing when you're about to be laid off

Postby djinn » 16 Jun 2011, 11:22

Hi Hawthorn Ent,

job atrophy.... yes, that is a very pretty way to describe it! :shake:

Incredible how such disastrous decisions, taken sometimes by a couple of uncapable people, sometimes by greedy people, sometimes simply uninformed people, or both, reflect on so many others that up until recently made everything happen ... and in some cases even suggested better solutions. Well, story as old as the world, nothing new there.

I sincerely hope you find more stable ground! Getting pingponged around between different functions and the nagging doubt of being laid off is, to say the least, very stressfull and painfull. I wish you all the strength to keep your peace of mind in this!
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Re: Doing the zen-thing when you're about to be laid off

Postby DJ Droood » 16 Jun 2011, 11:32

uh, no, frankly I never took the time to consider this in front of a plate of cake! :o
cake/zen...remarkably similar :D

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Re: Doing the zen-thing when you're about to be laid off

Postby djinn » 17 Jun 2011, 08:58

yyyuppp..... I'm afraid I have a lot of downsizing to do as it is :oops:
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Re: Doing the zen-thing when you're about to be laid off

Postby Kima » 17 Jun 2011, 16:09

...have you ever noticed, though, how we only practice Zen when something bad is happening? When we have a plate full of cake and a party, we tend to throw ourselves into it.
True, and that is also part of zen: to recognize feelings of avoidance to unpleasant experiences as well as clinging to pleasant ones. Take both with philosophy :old:


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