Letting go and moving forward
A few days ago, a friend mentioned to me
that someone we both know had been laid off.
“There are a lot of walking wounded out
there” she commented. What followed was a thoughtful
discussion about the difficulty of moving on after a lay-off.
In a lay-off, individuals lose the ability
to leave on their terms and in their own time. It seems to
take away their most important human right: choice.
Accordingly, there is a feeling of powerlessness and lack of
Although a lay-off is often not retractable,
there are some things an ex-employee can do to make it
It is important to “ritualize” the
ending, to have an event that denotes the ending. This allows
the person to feel more in control of the ending. It allows
the ending to be distinct and traceable. Most important, it
provides an opportunity to create a more positive association
with the ending, as it is difficult to follow a bad ending
with a good beginning. Try to think of ways to ritualize the
ending so that you are guaranteed a good beginning.
Below are five tips for creating a better
ending than what was given to you. The list begins with an
ideal way to ritualize it:
1. Plan your own going-away party to thank
your co-workers and say goodbye. Invite only the people you
care about. If money is an issue, plan a potluck lunch or
dinner in your home.
2. Accept that sadness or feelings of loss
are normal. By not dealing with these feelings, you may invite
them to stay longer.
3. Re-define the ending. Put a positive spin
on it. “Losing this job gives me an opportunity to take the
time to find out what I really want to be doing.” Take
advantage of this time to search your heart and follow your
4. Identify the skills and experiences that
you gained from the job you left. In particular, focus on
those that you enjoyed the most. This is an excellent
beginning to better understand what your next job should be.
My business motto is “Discover your strengths and then
capitalize on them.”
5. Finally, don’t get bogged down in
thinking, “This is a terrible time to be out of work.”
Remember that economic trends are cyclical.
Hang in there. During difficult times I find
it best to remember that I have always grown from changes and
that the journey is as fulfilling as the goal. This may be the
opportune time to realize and achieve your goals.
Next Turn. Next Turn is
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Beyond asking and telling
Metropolitan Community Church sits on a quiet side street in
the Castro. On a fall day its lavender façade glows softly
against the surrounding greenery. If you walk by on a weekday
afternoon, you’re likely to hear the sounds of organ music
bursting through the open door.
But if you paid MCC a visit last Sunday,
Veterans’ Day, you probably encountered a very San Francisco
celebration. Or rather, two celebrations, one in the morning
and one at night. Each made its peace with the day in its own
MCC is decidedly ecumenical, with study
groups devoted to Judaism intermingled with lectures on
Buddhism. The Sunday morning service chose the latter — a
focus on the Buddhism.
The evening service faced the day head-on
and invited it to join the congregation. Douglas Fitch, from
Glide Memorial, preached; the occasion was a “litany of
honor for those who served in the United States military.”
What a pity that a few Washington types couldn’t have
dropped in. To be sure, it’s a grand old flag.
Another litany of honor
What do Antonia Manor, the Cadillac Hotel,
and the Knox have in common? They all send representatives to
a group known as TAC. So do dozens of other buildings
inhabited by low-income renters.
The Tenant Associations Coalition of San
Francisco is a community-based organization working to assist
residents like these — whether families, single adults,
disabled individuals, or seniors. At its monthly meetings, the
members often ply visiting dignitaries with questions about
ways to improve their living conditions. But on Thursday,
November 8, the tables were turned. It was the members turn to
The place was the Tenderloin Police Station;
the occasion was TAC’s third anniversary. Awards flowed like
honey, from the Board of Supervisors, the mayor, Senator
Dianne Feinstein, the Housing Rights Committee of San
Francisco — to TAC itself, founder Michael Nulty, his
brother John Nulty, neighborhood activist Susan Bryan, and
more than 60 other tenant leaders.
But some people are never satisfied. So it
is with this group, which professes a strong determination to
end its tenant status and work toward home ownership. And thus
accomplish its own abolition.
Home on Gold Mountain
It must be museum time in San Francisco. The
de Young is rebuilding; so is the Asian. Jews and Mexicans are
looking forward to splendid new space South of Market. So it’s
about time that Chinese Americans left their longtime
Chinatown cubbyhole and moved into a place they can be proud
The Chinese American National Museum will
occupy the old Chinatown YMCA, designed by Julia Morgan, at
965 Clay. At last there will be room to display a large number
of the 50,000 pieces of art, artifacts, photos, and
immigration documents that have been accumulated over the
years, and also offer special exhibitions of artists such as
Expect the sounds of excitement to issue
from this section of Clay on the weekend of November 17-18,
when the building is being dedicated properly, with puppet
shows, storytelling, and a variety of other performances.
Perhaps the happy hubbub will exorcise some unhappy ghosts.
Says Melissa M. Szeto, executive director of the Chinese
Historical Society of America, “We hope the museum and
learning center will help dispel the myths and misperceptions
of the Chinese still held by many Americans.” For more
information, call 415 391-1188.
Worth a few thousand words
you turn to almost any Indymedia
website, you’ll run into a black-and-white photo of a San
Francisco Examiner newsrack.
The newsrack is a found object; its picture
was taken by Global Exchange photographer David Hanks, who
found it on September 14. Says Hanks, “I encountered a
newspaper rack at the MacArthur BART station (Oakland) that
best portrays the thoughts of this photographer.”
But like all good art, this piece has taken
on a life of its own. The irreverent folks at Adbusters.org
have adopted it as part of their Jammers Gallery. In an item
titled “Urban Jumble,” they exhort, “Upset with the
voice of your local paper? Grab a pen and become a
street-level headline writer, like this Bay area ‘scribe.’
For the low cost of a few quarters, you too can make your
foray into front-page news.” Move over, P.J. Corkery.