Have you heard of the Titan Atlas? I’m sure you have. To refresh your memory (according to http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Atlas.html) , Atlas worked out the science of astrology and discovered the spherical nature of the stars. But he is best known for bearing on his shoulders the pillars that keep earth and heaven apart. This burden, a heavy one and difficult to grasp, is the punishment Zeus imposed on him for having been the leader of the TITANS during their war against the OLYMPIANS (see Titanomachy). And Atlas, they say, though pre-eminent in strength, moans as he holds the vault of the sky on his back.
I started thinking about Atlas because there are so many of us who feel like we have the weight of the world on our back. Are you someone who was laid off who now has to worry about how to pay your bills? You are doing this while trying to find a job in your chosen career path but those jobs are hard to come by. You wonder, should I take a lesser-skilled job for less money? How will I take care of my family?
Are you someone who survived the rounds of layoffs only to find yourself so buried at work that you no longer have time for your family? Do your children look at you and beg for your attention but you can’t do anything about it because you know that if you ask for less work that you may be the next to be let go by your company?
Are you a recent retiree on a fixed income that now has to worry about the rising costs of food, gas, insurance, and household expenses? Have you gone back to work a minimum wage job just so you can sleep a little better at night?
You see, I know people in each of these situations. It’s scary out there. But what scares me the most is that each of these people, and you, and me………..we’re all carrying the weight of the world on our backs right now. The stress alone if not addressed can cause health problems, family relationship problems, and worse.
- For the job seekers, if the way you are conducting your job search is not providing the results you’d like, SWITCH IT UP. Have you joined Twitter or LinkedIn? If not, those are two great resources to use to search for jobs and connect with recruiters. Have you gone to any networking meetings in your city? If not, check out www.garysguide.org for a listing of networking opportunities. Go to two of the newest, hottest resources for job seekers: Job Angels and JobShouts. Job Angels was started by Mark Stelzner (follow him on Twitter at @stelzner) and JobShouts was started by Robin Eads and Michael Quale (@imjustagoyle and @tall_geek on Twitter). Connecting with them can make a difference in your search.
- For those who kept jobs but are completely overloaded with work- SIMPLIFY. I know, sounds too easy, too elementary. But, I personally can vouch that since I have begun making an effort to simplify my life, get more organized, and cut all the drama, I do not feel nearly as stressed about the workload. I asked for suggestions on Twitter and received some good “tried and true” answers. Ken (@knessing) who writes the HR Madman blog suggested several. Ken encourages us to return important calls immediately, use voice mail more than email, and set up email rules that will sort and color code important/ urgent messages. Crystal (http://twitter.com/CrystalPeterson) reminds us that we need to focus on delegating more.
- If you are a retiree on a fixed income, one interesting idea would be to reach out to friends, neighbors, and family to offer “services for hire”. For example, if you are good at gardening or yard work, you can do those jobs. If you love shopping, you can become a personal shopper for several working families. I know that as someone who is working, I would certainly love to hire someone at a reasonable rate to do my grocery shopping, take care of dry cleaning, do yard work, etc. Think outside the box when it comes to making money.
As challenging as it may be, we should each take a step back and simplify. By cutting out the stress we can, we will give ourselves a better chance to be open to new opportunities, new realities, and better family relationships.