#Job Loss Can Bring Opportunity

Follow your passion and you may just wind up doing the thing you love everyday. That was my primary message last night when I spoke to a community support group.  It was a great group of people, spanning a variety of backgrounds and skill sets–with one thing in common.  They had all lost jobs and were looking for a new opportunity, new ideas and a little inspiration.

If you’re new to my website, you may wonder what this has to do with Replacement Child, my memoir.  Well, I have to say that the book is a direct result of being downsized after a 20-year career in corporate marketing.  As it happens to me time and again, the telling of my story to this group clarified it for me.  I reminded myself that five years ago I made the tough decision not to go back into the corporate arena, but instead to start my own marketing copywriting business–and to give myself the time to write the book I had always wanted to write about my family and the plane crash that changed everything for us all.  It wasn’t an easy decision, and I remember the angst that went along with writing up my business plan, putting out feelers to possible clients, and taking the plunge.

Talking to the group last evening, I didn’t want it to sound like everyone should just stop looking for a job–but that they might just take another look at something that may have always been in the back of their mind and see if their reasons for not pursuing it were real, or imagined.  We sometimes talk ourselves out of taking risks with roadblocks that are only in our minds.  I asked the group if they would open up and share their own personal passion–something they had thought about but that didn’t seem realistic. Slowly, hands went up around the room and a lively discussion began.

One person talked about thinking she needed a business education to start a small business, but after we all talked about using Quickbooks to manage accounts and finances–she may be re-thinking whether that is indeed an obstacle for her.  Another woman confided that she had always regretted not going ahead with buying a hot dog cart–for the freedom it might give her, and the fun she thought it would be to run it with a friend.  She’s looking for another one now I think!  One ambitious woman started talking about two ideas she had and we all realized that she was already doing both on a small scale, and could possibly grow them to see what will work best.

We talked a bit about networking with friends, and social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.  I imparted a few tips I’ve picked up marketing Replacement Child.  That topic could take up many more hours! I also warned that while those social sites are great and very helpful, they can be a black hole that consumes your time.  Setting aside a certain amount of time each day for them is a good idea–but not more than an hour or so.

Right after the group broke up I had a brief conversation with one woman about what helps to keep you from feeling down when you are suddenly out of work, and I realized I had missed an opportunity to share some of the things that helped me during that time in my life.  I told her how making myself a schedule helped a great deal.  For me it was writing in the morning (either work assignments or my book), exercise in the afternoon, marketing my business or project for a couple of hours in between.  We agreed that keeping busy was important.

I hope the group came away with renewed inspiration to look at their job loss as an opportunity to reshape their work life, and maybe to rethink that one idea that put a spark of excitement into their voices when they told about it.

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