Survive when the fire ax falls

The Philadelphia Inquirer is probably like many newspapers around the world: short-staffed, losing money, trying to stay afloat.

And while he’s at it, he features a series of articles on how to get fired. Well, that’s not what THEY call it; his title is Lost jobs: turmoil in the region’s labor market but trust me, those PEOPLE listed as statistics know what it is: they’ve been fired.

The Owner is:

The ax falls, and then what?

Inquirer writer Alfred Lubrano’s article is packed with statistics and anecdotes. And it’s filled with one more thing: bread.

human bread.

Human suffering when 13.2 million people in the US are unemployed (that only counts those still looking for work; it seems those who have given up don’t count) and 210,000 in our immediate 8 county area.

“But while the Philadelphia region is plastered with pink ballots, a design can still strike with the potent surprise of an unforeseen meteorite.”

Psychologists have long known that being fired is as hard on the individual as death in the family, divorce, or other traumatic stress-producing event.

And what is deeper is what happens to the individual, and its repercussions are lasting.

“Shame, fear and panic can erupt in a person’s head after the initial trauma.”

People have pointed out that in this Great Recession, people who thought they were recession-proof are now in the unemployment lines: in Philadelphia, for example, a major law firm collapsed and went out of business. (And when I was selling investment real estate in the ’80s and ’90s, this was THE real estate law firm.)

Where did the dream go?

I have often written and created a video about The Dream: Where Did the Dream Go? It is gone for many people.

They told us to grow up, to do well in school, to choose a major carefully, to major, to earn a good living, to get married, to raise two and a half children, to help them grow up well, to get married and let the circle continue.

We did, but things have fallen apart for a lot of people.

Savings, never well done by most Americans, evaporate

401(K) accounts are half what they were just 8 months ago. A friend says he now has a 201(K) and my good friend Neil Radisch (with whom I wrote “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” as a major musical) wrote me on Facebook that he now has a 4.01(K).

I know the pain there, with my own IRA dropping 50%.

The Dream may still persist, but the funds to make it a reality are gone. (For now at least.)

Personal memories never die

The reason I started this website (and the business to support it) was because of the terrible pain so many people feel when they are laid off. I want to help.

Having faced it twice, I know the deep, lasting pain that lingers.

I still have images of my youngest daughter, while she was in high school, crying with blankets over her head when I got home from being fired and saying, “Your dream was stolen, Dad.”

That was the last time I worked for someone else.

Oh sure…being a stay at home dad has its hard parts too, but never again will my family suffer like this.

Shame, pain, and the lasting discomfort of being fired

This part of The Inquirer article really grabbed me…a big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes as I read it because I’ve been there and I understand the pain of both the child and the parent.

“On a recent day, he [Dan Perry, the subject of much of the article] he stalked the rooms of his modest house decorated with family photos, without children or a wife. “It’s creepy, weird,” she said. I’m used to the noise. It’s just a house, not a home, when I’m here alone during the day.

That will change… at least it has for me. In fact, I like being here alone most of the day.

“One night not long ago, Perry says her daughter, Rebekah, 16, was typing up lesson plans for her AP history teacher.

“‘What is this?’ she asked her.

“I’m writing your notes for $80,” Rebekah said.

“That was the price of a school trip to Washington. Rebekah knew her father had lost his job and didn’t want to ask for money. So she asked her teacher for a job.”

“Later that night, Perry lay awake in bed at 4 a.m., the desperate little hour when many unemployed report they are alert and distraught. He looked at Rebekah and the $80.

“‘My heart was filled with sadness at how my daughter was about this,’ Perry said. Children’s reactions are often profound.”

And believe me, they never forget the pain of seeing their hero, their leader, their rock and support suffer.

“Perry can’t not care. ‘At night, I go to this secret place in my soul, and it’s like I’m standing in front of a mirror alone. I have no one to answer to but myself. And I look at myself and ask: ‘What am I going to do?’ There’s a mortgage and cars and other things to pay, and no one is hiring. How am I going to help my family?'”

Men often see themselves as their jobs

Men and women see this situation very differently, and we men base much of our self-image on our jobs.

I remember in the early 1990s I had a nightmare that woke me up in a cold sweat. I dreamed that I would no longer be Vice President of the Jackson-Cross Company (then a huge commercial real estate brokerage firm in Philadelphia, where I sold $247,368,657.97 of Investment Real Estate and traded over $1 billion for others in the former as the business of the company). VP of Marketing and Planning). I was there for 13 years, did very well, was respected throughout the industry as one of the best salesmen, but my mind was already playing tricks on me when the economy faltered at the time, although not as much as it is now.

I was not fired, I went to work on my own. And I had already been doing most of the work from home (since 1983 when Liz was born). But the image I had of myself was shaken and my whole body knew it.

The only way to get through this is together

Those who survive times like this find help in others. Others who have been through it. Others who can point them in the right direction for new job skills. Others who are supportive, optimistic, have the energy of two people… since the laid-off has lost much of the energy necessary to prosper.

Groups of masterminds. Small business support groups. And yes, even a group like the one here at where we support dads who are now working at home (or looking to work from home).

They were here. We hope you will tell us how we can help.

And while we can’t erase the recorded images and pain caused by your layoff, we’re here to help you get back on your feet as quickly as possible and make the transition to working from home a smooth one.

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