Stage 4: Bargaining m5.jpg

Once you're done gnashing your teeth, and you've run ten miles and dug the trench, you'll be exhausted. Your mind will go blank. The desire to fight and get revenge will disappear. Instead, you'll convince yourself that something or someone will come along to save you if only you prove yourself worthy. Thoughts like the following will occur to you:

  • Maybe it was all a mistake.
  • Maybe they'll apologize and take me back.
  • The situation can't be as bad as it seems.
  • I'll get another job right away.
  • I'm due for something good to happen.
You promise yourself that if your boss rehires you or you get another job, you'll never take home another company-bought pencil. You'll work ten hours a day, six days a week, without complaint. You'll never take a paycheck for granted again. Once the money starts coming in, you'll start a savings account, a retirement plan, and a college fund for your kids. You'll learn from your past mistakes. You'll become the worthiest employee, family member, and world citizen who ever was.

You'll also likely begin experiencing a painless ending to your unemployment crisis. "I'm sure my buddy, Bob, will keep his word and help me find a job, because I'm a good person," you'll tell yourself. "If only the director of human resources at the ABC company will call me, then I'll get a job." "All I have to do learn the latest software program, and my phone will ring off the hook."

In your attempt to make the pain go away, you may invent a "job savior." This is the person or event that will make everything okay. PIT member Scott explains how he'd looked for his job savior at a trade show soon after he lost his job in sales. "People kept telling me what a good person I was and reassuring me that I'd have no problem finding a job. So I flew across the country to attend a trade show where I handed out resumes like a paperboy. I'd say to every vendor I met, 'I just lost my job, can you help me out?' I was absolutely convinced my next employer was at the show, and someone would create the perfect job for me." After Scott had handed out 200 resumes and sent 50 follow-up letters without netting a single interview, bitter disappointment engulfed him. However, he continued to believe there was someone out there who would eventually work a miracle and take away his pain. "It took me a long time to realize there was no job savior, and that it was my responsibility to find a job," Scott recalls.

Coping With Bargaining

No matter how much you might want to rely on fate, friends, or strangers to bail you out of the situation you're in, you have to accept the fact that finding a job is your responsibility. For example, suppose Sam told you that if you ever need anything, all you had to do was let him know. Now you're desperate to talk to him, and he won't return your calls. Or maybe your old college buddy is now very well connected, and if she'd only hook you up with her contacts, you'd have a job in no time. But, mysteriously, she's always at a meeting when you try to reach her.

PIT member Pete Cooper sums up the reason why there are no job saviors. "People would call, express concern and surprise about my job loss, and talk for a while. Then they were gone. They acted like their duty was over. It was like they'd gone to a funeral home, offered their condolences, and now they were ready to leave. They felt bad, but after they did their duty they wanted to go on with their lives. They wanted me to disappear, because being in touch with me was a reminder of their own vulnerability." If you're still expecting your old buddy to rescue you, investigate the reality of what you're telling yourself. You will find a job, of course - but it will happen through your own efforts, not those of a miracle worker.

┬ęCopyright 2008 Professionals In Transition Support Group, Inc.

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