My daughter cut her own bangs (related to your job loss)

My three year old daughter cut her own bangs this week.

Actually, the appropriate word is not “cut,” it is “butchered.”

Just like every other kid in the world, she found some alone time with a mirror and scissors, and she had just seen my wife trim her bangs.  So it was something she wanted to do.

At first she was pretty proud of the job she did.  But as people started noticing and talking about it (with a snicker here and there) she started to realize that her haircut wasn’t “cute” and she started to really worry about it.  Tears flowed again and again, and it was clear she was pretty traumatized.

In her young mind she figured she had done a horrible job, and all the world knew it, and many would laugh at her.

It was devastating.

Just like my job loss, and your job loss.   I remember the feeling of thinking I had a big sign around my neck that people would look at.  I don’t know what the sign said but it was something like:

Loser.

Unemployed.

Unemployable.

Broken.

Jobless leper.

You know what?  I was wrong to have thought that.  Just like my daughter was wrong to have thought her haircut was the end of the world.  Let me tell you why.

Her hair is amazing.  She has this wild, curly hair that is … I don’t know how to describe it other than it is beautiful, like a lion’s mane (okay, you really have to appreciate lion manes, but work with me here).  We get a lot of compliments about her hair, and I’ve loved it from the beginning.  It really is awesome.

Because she has these big curls, and her hair is seemingly unruly, there really isn’t a rhyme or reason to any particular style she has.  She only ever has one style, which is best described as awesome.

Those unruly curls, however, have completely diminished anyone’s ability to see that she butchered the first 2 inches of what used to be hair (it is very, very short).

YOU JUST CAN’T TELL.

Same with my job search. I had that imaginary sign, and it devastated me, and I felt like an outcast, and that was not doing anyone any good.  I’m sure it hurt how I presented myself at networking meetings, in interviews, etc.

But it JUST DIDN’T MATTER.

Especially now, in today’s economy, those things JUST DON’T MATTER.

Don’t let your imaginary sign hamper your road to success… take it off and throw it in the imaginary garbage can, and move on.

My daughter has moved on from the drama of this event, and she is back to normal.   When you are back to your normal self you’ll perform much better.

10 thoughts on “My daughter cut her own bangs (related to your job loss)”

  1. My goodness, Jason. You truly have a gift for talking about the harder topics of job loss in a way that really touches people and relates to what they are going through. This completely encapsulates what my husband was experiencing when he was laid off. Thank you for sharing.

    (And I can totally see my four-year-old daughter doing what yours did.) 😀

  2. Melissa’s right, Jason, you do have a way of talking about the pain of job loss in a visual way that connects people and touches their heart. The last time I lost a job, actually the only time I lost a job, was in 1987 and there are still moments when I tell that story that I get choked up. Stigma of any uncomfortable event catches up with us and we think all eyes are on us. We can’t see forward, we can only see behind.

    I’m glad to hear that your daughter has moved on, that’s what everyone facing job loss has to do, move on, even if it is only a baby step!

  3. Jason,

    Awww. Love this post…and like your comparison to the devastation of losing your job. It’s true. You suddenly feel as though your own value has somewhat diminished, or as if you are losing a bit of your identity.

    Cute post and I know your daughter has been reassured (like some job seekers need to be) how special she still is– with or without her bangs. 😉

    Erin

  4. My career transition clients often ask me, “Is there still a stigma attached to being laid off from your job.” I say a resounding, “No!” There isn’t a person in this country that hasn’t been touched, either directly or indirectly, by this economic crisis. For every one person who stigmatizes a worker who has been laid off, there are hundreds more people who have been there, done that, got all the t-shirts, and choose not to “hang” in a “loser” place. They choose to do what it takes build themselves up, recall the amazing contributions they’ve made to their previous employers and to the world, and go out there and shoot for the moon! I see career transitioners doing just that on a daily basis by sharing effective resources, potential job leads, and useful job seeking information with each other.

    In my cock-eyed optimism, I can’t help but feel that, throughout all this, we are learning to support each other more in this time of need. Just like the All-State commercial says, we can look at this time as another great depression or a depression that made us great. I choose to look at it as a great time for us to step back, regroup, and return to the workforce stronger and better than ever.

    Just like your daughter losing her hair, Jason, losing your job was devastating but for only a short time. You’ve thrown away your imaginary sign in the imaginary garbage can and are ready to continue contributing to the world. And your daughter has moved on from the drama of the event and is back to normal. No doubt, she’s just as adorable as ever, of not more so!

    So much of how we view ourselves impacts how others view us. You can be proud when you look back at the contributions you’ve made in you career and prepare to tell the world about them at networking events, interviews, and the like. Just like you said: After a while…it just doesn’t matter.

  5. A bad situation is never as bad as it seems. I’ve lived this scenario countless times in my life. I made a bad choice of roomates, fired from my job, or posted an article that pissed people off. After much reflection I’ve realized that each situation was a growth experience. Your daughter is only going to learn from this and become stronger.

    I think that’s what life, career, and friendships are all about. Learning from them and applying the lessons to make us happier and smarter.

  6. I deal with people facing an unplanned job loss all the time. Many place the signs Jason mentions around their neck. When they do so, I ask them how they react to a friend, colleague or family member that has experienced a job loss. When I ask if they place such signs around their friends necks, they emphatically say no. Then I ask them why they feel they carry such a label when they are not working. Job losses are a blip on life’s screen if you continuously look at the big picture.

  7. I love this story, Jason. Having raised a few kids myself, I can picture the whole scene. Even though I painted my sign (it was HUGE, fluorescent orange, with glow-in-the-dark letters seven inches high) nine and a half years ago, I still sometimes find myself reaching for it when getting dressed in the morning, say, or getting ready for bed. And when I’m looking at the job ads in my professional journal or revising my resume, it positively knocks at the closet door to be let out. Thanks for the reminder that wearing it is optional.

  8. Great analogy! My daughter always tells me to “just ‘let go.'” It feels so much better to be “free.”

    Same with GPA for college students. When I told my niece (19 yo sophomore at Univ of Louisville) that I graduated with a 3.44 b/c Calculus ruined my GPA she said, “And what difference does that make now? You are living in your passion so IT DOESN’T MATTER”!

    ONWARD!

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