Friday, October 4, 2013

All Females Called to Support Shut-downs and Shut-ups

Girls get ready to roll up your sleeves and get tough!
I giggled Wednesday morning as I read Jon Katz's blog about the standoff between Red and the sheep at Bedlam Farm and that functioning as usual is shutting down, saving Lulu and Fannie continuing to reject Simon’s sexual advances (Bedlam Farm is shutting down ). Humor helps to put the world’s ills in perspective, for certain, though I wasn't laughing when I heard that over 800,000 were not to report to work, and that the vets who stormed Normandy Beach could only see the normallyopen-to-the-public World War II Memorials by mounting another storm! Of all the government workers that were laid off, I couldn't help but wonder why congress and the president, who can’t seem to be bothered doing their jobs, weren't among the first to be furloughed?

Remind yourself that this is real life! (from my "Comfort-Her". Pen and ink on material.)
It did hit home that many would be experiencing the effects of a lay-off just like we experienced when my husband was laid off almost nine months ago from his job of twenty-two plus years! Clearly it is time for Little House to give a “shout out” to all women in the USA! Little House’s Female Support group has been convening on a regular basis for these nine months and has much to share with those that are new to this unemployment situation! I want you all to take a deep breath and cut to the chase:  it is women who hold the world together.  It is a big job, but someone has to do it!!  You will be on 24/7 in the days ahead and you will be called upon to keep a level head and remind those laid off not to take life too seriously, though like Fannie and Lulu, warding off sexual advances may be necessary, to actually address the situation ahead.

My husband is working now, at a job that permits him to recycle the trauma of working for highly conflicted employers.  This is more common than most know and has been known to  trigger all the old panic attacks of being potentially laid-off.  It is important to remind those afflicted with such stress, that the worst has already happened and it can only get better (we hope)!

My husband has been promised the moon: a salaried position close to home and despite no benefits, it seems to be something too good to be true at his near-retirement age! The promised salary has yet to materialize, so he is clearly underpaid, overworked, and under-trained with only negative reinforcement  from his boss who frequently leaves him in charge, and all for what he could be making on unemployment. These are facts that my husband needs to be reminded of, as clearly it is common to get stuck thinking the same old things: am I adequate for the job; am I making the right decisions and what if I am laid off or fired, forgetting that that the former has already happened?

(From my Comfort-Her quilt blocks done after my first lay-off.)
We have found that life goes on after a lay-off and unlike the government's budget, cuts become real.  Rice, oatmeal and potato diets aren't really so bad and are dental soft as well! And the Alien Adult Children that have boomeranged home can become infinitely useful. Their paychecks can be figured into the equation of running the household and their emotional support solicited as well.  The computer games they have played can now be turned into helping their aging and laid-off parents fill out applications on line for unemployment first, and second, all the job applications to knocking on real doors now!  It is also time for them to consider those lessons carefully learned regarding finding their talents and how to search for appropriate work and teach their parents, too long past such activities themselves and too hard for the person just laid off!

Yes, the Little House Female Support Group has been working overtime as well to offer full time counseling services to support the laid-off-ee to endure yet more abuse on a job, for the job they had will look better all the time next to the ones that are out there for present-day job seekers. It seems to be too true that most jobs will be less than three quarter time to avoid having to pay any benefits.  Some even suggested hiring on a consultant basis and limiting work to a particular job at hand, lest they have to offer them a place of work. Gone are the days of working hard and getting good pay with good benefits and so trimming expectations for getting a top job is part of the no-fail program!

A shutdown may also be in order, before “the shut-up” takes place! "Shutting-up while putting up" may have to be the order of the is after all just that!  Dreams of wonderful careers may still be in order if one is young enough and brilliant, though the market is over-flooded with plenty of those sorts too. Remember when your kids were going to school and career counselors advised expensive schools to fulfill lofty career plans, education for the best positions that were already filled then and are no more?

Actually Shut-up-and-put-up have a lot in common with shut-downs.  There is little real communication between the lower-downs and the higher-ups.  The higher-ups seem to be in control, when they have little control and the lower-downs are left holding the debt bag, with shortages on all ends. Compromise and realistic expectations are non-negotiable.  Take-it or leave-it seem to be the two choices, and choosing to “take-it” requires female support groups to be out everywhere in full force.

Keeping those laid-off upright and out there pursuing yet another job will be priority and the first fact that must be hammered into their head and heart will be, "a person’s worth doesn't equal their job status"! The value of  female support groups cannot be underestimated! Repairing egos and finding real life solutions to real financial problems must be our specialty!

Remedies are plentiful if you simply keep your eyes and ears open. Brochures, normally considered junk mail might offer solutions! For Example, it is not too late to sign up for the essential skill building workshop for today's worker: "Noxious People;  Living and Working with High-Conflict Individuals".  I kid you not! The hard decision that follows will be who should be the first to attend.  There is a discount for groups of more than three, but when funds are short, it will clearly have to be the one in most need or the one most able to return with materials in hand. With many years of experience working with such people, setting up your own school may prove to be the most viable job option of the future!

Ladies remind yourself that this is all for your own good...and it could be worse...
Drugs and drinking, of course, are on the list of remedies, but is too expensive for the unemployed, besides which, it can turn into serious social and health risks. Ditto for ice-cream therapy! Lavish pats on the back have been assigned to committees and can be effective, depending on the degree of anxiety one is dealing with. Perspective Therapy is another good treatment and easy to execute by simply suggesting ”things could be worse if....” This therapy can pull many a despondent person right out of the gutter of despair and send them into a frenzied search for the the gun that was misplaced! A nice dinner can be a balm to those in grief and offer extra comfort and love needed during such a time!  Don’t deaths and funerals mean that others bring cake and casseroles? I think it would be a good idea to add job-lay-offs to the list of those in need of such social welfare!

Motivation is also part of the Support Group’s function. Wanting to return to work can be a real issue, especially for those nearing retirement. Getting out the camping gear and suggesting you go for a trial run in cold weather might help sober up those that may be thinking of retiring early without sufficient funds in place. Making a honey-do list of the years of projects that have piled up can also be very effective in motivating the most unmotivated.  Jobs look good next to the ones at home that offer no pay and were dreaded enough to cause a life time of procrastination.  When all else fails crying sessions can be supportive too, just be sure that heavy duty paper towels are on hand to mop up the mess and don’t worry, the activity gets “old” fast and will be “self-limiting”, though may need to be repeated a time or two to fully extinguish this behavior!

Last of all, my women warriors, let me remind you of what they say about “endings”..."they are but new beginnings". Keeping the flame of hope eternally going is another function of the female support group and so continually being optimistic in the face of doom and gloom is critical.  To keep your head above water, I recommend praying the never-fail Infant of Prague Novena that my priest recommended to me.  I did note that with nine months of daily repetition, changes are noted in me! I am gaining faith that my God is one that is "strong in weakness, powerful in tenderness, and a fountain of love".  He is "joy and light, wise and merciful" and will deliver me from "an inordinate desire of knowing what isn't mine to know"...the future.  "By his poverty, pain and almighty power" He will "do with me and mine according to His holy will", and "will protect and bless me forever"....and here’s the remarkable thing....He is doing just that! We are alive, and well and still working at cleaning up and fortifying our Little House and seem to be doing OK! The females have united and we are stronger than ever and our lay-off-ee, the head of our household seems to be doing pretty well too!! Thanks be to God!!

Prayers don't always change the situation, but they do change us!