I am a bright, intelligent 39 year old female with two college degrees and 12 years in a fund raising career. Seven weeks ago I lost my job. I had been working for a woman that constantly cut me down so my ego and my self confidence is a bit shot. I''ve been getting nervous on interviews and have been told I lack focus. When I try to meditate, I fall asleep. Can you help?
Debilitated and Demoralized
Dear D & D,
Even if you hadn''t had a critical, fault-finding boss, just losing your job and its powerful context for self-definition and identity can leave even a very confident person feeling amazingly undone. It''s pretty astounding how quickly a person without her regular job can lose all sense of accomplishment and know-how. Ask anyone who''s been laid off or who lost their job because of a move.
Add on top of that the fact that you had this relationship with your superior that was hard on your self esteem... well, there you go. You walk into an interview and you''re wondering, "Well.... what do I have to offer, anyway?" If this boss is an instant replay of some other authority figure in your life (and probably so -- otherwise you wouldn''t have stayed as long as you did or it would have been easier to let her words roll off your back)... well, double the vulnerability you have in the situation.
The good news is:
- Your lack of confidence doesn''t necessarily have anything to do with your abilities. You could be the best fund raiser in America and still feel this diminished.
- This feeling is reversible.
- You are being presented with an opportunity to redefine yourself. In fact, I wouldn''t be at all surprised if you already knew in your heart of hearts that you should have left that last job long ago, and that this is maybe even a blessing -- painful, uncomfortable and nerve-wracking as it may be.. And you may be ready to do something altogether different, and not even know it. In fact, you may be having trouble with these interviews in part because your inner self knows you''re interviewing for the wrong jobs.
We have a terrific new program in our catalog - The Job Loss Recovery Program that’s just perfectly tailored to your situation. I think you’d find it very helpful and restorative. Or, for a plain old booster shot to your self-esteem and confidence level, there’s our Self-Confidence & Peak Performance CD, or our Affirmations; Martha Howard’s Keys to Your Highest Potential; David Illig’s Self-Esteem; or Shirley McNeal’s Core Inner Strength.
This also may be a good time to get involved in a regular meditation practice; to join a support and/or training group for people who are unemployed; or to get some short term counseling, to help you get back on track. Talk to friends about this -- the ones who have confidence in you and know what you can do. Oh! And get a new hair cut!
And remember (this seems to be my war cry these days): This Too Shall Pass.