What I Learned From Being Downsized

happy dog in snow

I’ve been studying/practicing personal development most of my life, and got into stress management about 16 years ago, when my husband and I were both threatened with downsizing. It was scary, but also one of the happiest times of my life.

My husband and I worked in different divisions of the same company and drove to and from work together. When we got in the car at night we would share stories about the latest idiocies of management and laugh. And we would discuss our options for the future. It was a shared adventure.

:) I take full credit for marrying someone who would do well in a crisis. I cheerfully admit this doesn’t sound very romantic, but if you believe marriage is for the long haul, not just temporary excitement, pick someone who will weather adversity well. You won’t be sorry.

Anyway, we both liked what we were doing, so we decided to make the most of our present jobs while they lasted. I had been working about 60 hours a week and dropped that down to 40. I had a lot of autonomy at work, which I loved, so I kept developing my writing, programming and people skills. In my new free time I joined a second Toastmaster’s Club and became certified in NLP (neurolinguistic programming).

When I looked around the division I asked myself one of my favorite questions, “What’s the opportunity here?” The answer, of course, was to become an expert in stress management. So that became another part of the adventure.

As it turned out, our jobs lasted another couple of years, when we were offered great severance packages. By then I was already prepared for my next great adventure, teaching/leading groups in stress management.

So, what did I learn from the experience?

  • Be optimistic and have a sense of humor
  • Always keep learning and growing
  • Be patient and bide your time when it’s appropriate
  • Generate new ideas and opportunities for yourself
  • Enjoy the adventure of life and have friends to share it with

What about you? What life lessons would you like to share? This site is about sharing, so please tell us your thoughts in the comment section.

Picture from The Daily Puppy


This post is being submitted to Middle Zone MusingsĀ“ What I Learned From . . . Group Writing Project.

Related page: Traits of Stress-Hardy, Resilient People

This entry was posted in Lifelong Learning, Optimizing Stress, Stress Hardiness. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to What I Learned From Being Downsized

  1. Joanna Young says:

    Hi Jean

    I decided to downsize myself last year. It was quite a hard thing to do – to make the decision yourself to jump off into the unknown for no other ‘good’ reason than that it feels like the right (the only) thing to do… but I have no regrets. And I’d say all of the five points on your list helped me to do it, and get through it :-)

    Joanna

  2. Jean says:

    Joanna,
    :) Thanks for coming by. I’m impressed by your site…I’ve already tagged as a technorati favorite and check it regularly.

  3. Alex Shalman says:

    Be optimistic, have a good sense of humor, and enjoy the adventure of life. In other words, be happy. Isn’t that all of our number one goal? Love it Jean!

    p.s. Stumbled.

  4. Jean says:

    Alex,
    :) Thanks!

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  6. Brad Shorr says:

    Like you, when I’m forced out of my comfort zone, the result is just the opposite of what I expected (dreaded) … I find my optimism and sense of adventure. Life can be wonderful that way! Excellent post – thanks for sharing your experiences.

  7. Hello Jean:

    One of things that I pick from your story is about how important it is to prepare for the unexpected. In that way, job changes and downsizing can be stepping stones to new possibilities. It also shows how we need to update our skills to thrive in today’s chaotic world.

  8. Jean says:

    Brad and Galba,
    Thanks for coming by and commenting.

    You might like Building a Solid Foundation, too, Galba.

  9. bikehikebabe says:

    Don’t judge people. If you do, you’ll find something you hate about them & then you can’t be friends. You NEED friends. You’ll be happier & live longer.

  10. Jean says:

    bikehikebabe,
    Thanks for coming by and commenting. Is it difficult for you not to judge? I agree with you about not judging, but a lot of people find it hard to do. We’d like to hear your experiences.

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  14. HeavyGod says:

    Really good and really interesting post. I expect (and other readers maybe :)) new useful posts from you!
    Good luck and successes in blogging!

  15. Jean says:

    HeavyGod,
    :) Thank you!

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  23. Uncle B says:

    Was surprised after my downsizing as to how many things advertising had convinced me were necessities of life that were not! I no longer drive a car – not a necessity for life but a very expensive money pump at your wallet. It takes some getting used to but walking, riding the buses, trains and planes and sharing gas costs with others for rides pays big dividends. Urban living is an absolute cash pump! Rural is not so bad! Prepared foods are probably the most expensive thing we do, home grown, farmers market, and prepared from scratch are all mega-much cheaper. Brand-new, in style, store bought fashion-centered clothing is an expensive unnecessary cash drop, second hand, gently used, out of style, hand repaired and well washed clothing is almost free. Learning to pressure can, freeze and dry excess garden produce and bargains from supermarkets will extend even the smallest amount of cash, and just very frugal shopping can save a fortune. Brewing home brew expensive when first learning, can produce very acceptable beverages, as will wine making, for exrta-ordinary savings. Sauerkrauting, and pickling can save a small fortune when done with forethought. Cautious reduction in food intake over a period of time will make you healthier, slimmer and more energetic, and save a lot of cash too! Drinking more water will reduce soda bills and help your body. Making root-beer in the new 2 liter bottles is a lot of fun, and saves bundles of money because you do the work! Post-downsize life is less tension filled, less stressful, less desperation filled, and the schedule fits human nature better than serving “The Man” 24/7! Post (GRD) great republican depression life will be similar for all Americans, we are simply the “canaries in the coal miness” of daily American affairs, soon to be joined by hoards of unemployed, layed-off, downsized, screwed and punished individuals from the collapse of capitalism in the world. A new scheme will arise, we will all be enticed, especially our young daughters and sons, only this time, we won’t bite! “Once burnt, twice shy”

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