There’s a certain inevitability to the tides of change.
You can resist them a while. Maintain a brave front. Things have always been this way and they’ll return.
But the change comes. Tides wash away our sandcastles a few grains at a time until it’s not much of a castle anymore. At Laid off camp SW Valley I saw the view from the new shore.
Hearing a presenter say: “You don’t understand. We’ve not experienced anything like this since the Great Depression!”
Or seeing a quiet gentleman with quavering voice and breaking heart say: “I can offer help, but I just can’t. ask… for… it.”
For these people the new economy has already arrived and it’s not what they were promised, not the way things have always been. The jobless were lazy and unambitious in the old economy. The self doubt echoes with loneliness because you probably didn’t just lose a job. You’ve lost a routine, a lifestyle, a social circle and most brutally, a self definition. Now you find yourself in cut throat competition at a Job Fair for the few remaining jobs.
But as I watched Laid Off Camp progress, and I saw the presenters offer a hand up, the way communities do in real life. It’s called ‘being human’ for a reason. All of the presenters were volunteers. Most had done it before. It doesn’t cost anything to attend. The food, the materials, the space were all donations. It was just people who’d swum the treacherous waters to land on the new shore offering a hand to the newly arrived. The donations were comforts to people badly in need of them. Yet there was no Pollyanna-ism.
“This sucks, huh?
OK, first step: Don’t let that show, so you’ve got to deal with it somehow. Here’s some effective advice about dealing with the emotions before a job interview so you don’t carry them in with you: Practice smiling, especially when you don’t feel it. Find some old dishes to toss in a garbage can. Breathe.
Next step: there are tools you should be using to find a job. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress. But not just the tech stuff: Your family, your friends, your people. Here’s how you approach them. This is how you appear professional doing it.”
And so on until the campers have at least a chance in this new economy.
But it didn’t end there. Best quote from one of the presenters? “I’m a LinkedIn slut – I’ll connect to anybody. But that’s just me.” The presenters offered up themselves and their networks: I’ll help. I care. The campers are encouraged to meet and help each other. Almost certainly former campers become presenters at future Laid Off Camps.
This is how we build on these new shores. We help each other. The very thing that broken hearted camper wanted to do.
Gangplank Tucson is hosting Laid Off Camp Tucson on November 12th.