I finally got around to watching Moneyball. I’m only half way through so no spoilers…!
There’s a scene in the first half were things are not going well for Billy Beane, the main character played by Brad Pitt. Beane took a leap of faith on the econ nerd from Yale and constructed a team of what were apparently considered misfits. Against common sense and the advice of his scouts, they went forward and lost a lot of games. Things were bad and of course the internet was not kind.
Billy Beane’s daughter, Casey Beane, was chatting at her dad’s house one night while he was serving her ice cream and asked,
“Daddy are you going to lose your job?”
It is hard to feel sorry for someone who makes a ton of money, and will likely be fine financially, and since he became a main character of a movie played by Brad Freaking Pitt, well, I didn’t feel sorry for him.
Okay, maybe a little.
Alright, honestly, when Casey asked the question I got all the feels. My kids never asked me if I was going to lose my job because they wouldn’t have known about all the crap going on at work. But to hear that 12 year old girl as, with genuine concern, if her daddy (and their family) was going to be alright, it hit me.
From my perspective it hit me because losing a job can be so devastating. It should be life changing. It feels derailing.
From the kids perspective you take all of your sense of normalcy and throw it out the window. Forget about dance classes and violin lessons… the entire ecosystem of whatever-your-normal is is about to change big time. Even if it doesn’t change, there is a huge dark cloud of unknown that is uncomfortable for everyone and tangible enough for even the kids to feel.
Losing your job is one of the top five most stressful things to go through, according to studies.
I submit that it doesn’t have to be.
I think it is so stressful because in the 1900’s there were ways to not lose your job. When companies had more loyalty towards their employees, and bosses tended to stick with employees, and pensions to encourage staying at one job, losing a job was indeed a life changing event that could have long lasting repercussions.
Today, though, I’m going to say that losing your job is NORMAL.
It happens all the time.
It happened to tens of thousands of people one day when the Enron fantasy died.
It happened in the recession of 2008, and again in the Covid quarantine.
It happens in cities where plants shut down. Losing jobs just happens, and it happens with more frequency now than what we are used to.
Because of that I think we need to rethink what a job loss means. Heck, I think we need to rethink what a job is!
I came to realize a job is simply a revenue stream. You can have more than one. If you lose one, and the others are healthy, then losing that one is not as bad. You can also find new revenue streams. Lose one, find one. Lose two, find three. There’s no law that says you can’t find a new one. Just mental barriers.
We need to release the stigma associated with job loss. I don’t think we’ll do that as a society (although gaps on resumes and changing jobs every few years is not as taboo as it used to be, thank goodness!), but you can certainly do it for yourself.
Stop thinking you are broken.
Stop thinking you are a loser.
Stop thinking you are hopeless, or that you are in a hopeless situation.
I had to be around other accomplished professionals who were out of work to learn that no, I was not a loser or broken. I was just in a situation that plenty of people find themselves in.
This is not a time to doubt yourself because you need confidence to be successful in your job search.
Daddy, or mommy, may have lost their job, but that isn’t the end of the world. It’s just a step on this weird path we call our career. Stigma free.