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I used to be an optimist…

And then came Covid.

Our elder has some words of encouragement for a letter writer who is feeling overwhelmed in furlough.

Dear EWC

Like so many people right now I am on the verge of being made redundant due to Covid-19. I have worked in the travel industry for almost six years with the most amazing company. I am a university drop out who decided to travel the world as her degree and I don’t regret it one bit. In January I was given a highly sought-after promotion to be part of the tech development in my company. It was something I had wanted for years and my company was going to pave the way for me to get a degree of experience in the tech industry. I got a great raise, Moved into a better place, and loved my new day to day learning at work. Everything was going amazingly but come March we were all aware Covid-19 was about to be a problem but of course no one knew how much so. The day of the closing border announcement half my team left the country in a few short hours and by the end of the day our entire project was cancelled. The next day I volunteered to go on the emergency helpline team to make use of my talents and a few weeks later was out on furlough.

All this time I have been optimistic that I would not be made redundant but with my department shutting down and about 70 percent of the company being made redundant it is foolish to continue any optimism. I have started applying for any job that matches my transferable skills. It’s not going so well. I can’t seem to get over my loss. I feel sad and pathetic as every job I apply for I despise And none compare to what I had. I wake up crying, try to get on with my day and be productive, to only end the day the same way. I am known in my workplace and my friendship group as happy, optimistic, and a contagious joy in life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of hardships before. I’ve moved all alone to many different countries and arrived without money, employment, friends or a home and still managed just fine. Certainly I have had harder times than this. Often I found those challenges even enjoyable. But not this time.

My friends don’t really know what to do with me in this state and I can’t blame them since I don’t know either. It sort of feels like I’ve had a terrible breakup and am being forced to start dating right away again. Having said that I’ve rarely cried over a breakup as I usually view change as a positive thing. I guess my dream has been taken from me due to no fault of my own or someone else’s. I am not qualified to apply for another tech role as this past job was supposed to give me those tools. There are no travel jobs to be heard of. Sure I have lots of transferable skills but that really isn’t my problem. I don’t want to do anything else. I worked so hard to get where I was I just can’t give that up. I don’t have anything else I want to do! I don’t want to change my dream! I’m like a stubborn child who wants to eat ice cream all day but just found out I’m lactose intolerant. My dream is gone and I need to rebuild and start a new career path. Every time I get an ounce of motivation I just become overwhelmed and crash again. It has now started affecting my health as I am having trouble eating and have daily headaches.

Side note: I’ve had a particularly hard time this week because I am in quarantine for two weeks alone and can’t leave my room. I had to visit my parents in another country as they are both very sick and upon returning to the UK a 14-day quarantine is required. My usual method of going for a walk is lost and so I just sit here unable to soothe myself. I originally decided to embrace this time as I could focus all my attention on job applications… but obviously I have been failing that. How can I mourn this and move on? I’ve never had problems just flipping bucking up and managing before! How can I choose a new career path and get excited about it? I feel overwhelmed by my grief, loss, bills, and future. I’m not even special, millions of people are managing this right now! Every time I fail to make progress my own failure to pick myself up makes me more and more upset and has created this cycle of pathetic failure causing failure.

Sparks replies

Thank you so much for trusting Elder Wisdom Circle to provide you with some guidance and what I hope will be some comfort and encouragement. Your self-awareness and selflessness in the face of adversity is quite remarkable and impressive. I am sad that you have had so much taken away so quickly.

You have had more than your share of stress over the past few months. It is difficult enough to have sick parents but to have them living in another country with all the Covid-19 restrictions on travel must be very stressful. And, one minute you were standing on top of the world with a set of promises that would help you to realize your dreams and then, the next minute, you were free falling into space. This must have felt like having an earthquake happen in front of you! And now you are standing on the other side of a big fault line that didn’t used to be there!

Certainly Covid-19 is one of the largest disasters we have had in nearly a century. Its impact is huge and will be felt by your generation for years to come. The other side of that fault line is gone. I think that you recognize this and are grappling with being able to let go of what was. Being forced to let go of something that represented your life’s hopes and dreams is no small thing. So if there are voices in your head telling you that you “should be able to get over this” or that you should just “buck up”, please tell them to “take a hike” and “chill out”! What you have experienced is incredibly life changing.

Your very thoughtful letter tells me that you do already have a great deal of self-discipline and have overcome obstacles in your life before. You are not one to wallow in your sorrows! Furthermore, you reach out to help others when the chips are down.

So I hope that you can recognize the immensity of this loss and allow yourself the time that you need to work through your emotions. I promise you that if you allow your emotions to flow through you, if you even welcome them as part of your healing, you will find that they will work their way through you much faster. Resistance is futile anyway and will only lead to persistence! That is, the more that you embrace your sadness and loss, the sooner that sadness and loss will leave you. Allowing anger to be there will also help you to be able to forgive the universe for pushing you over a precipice. Eventually, there will then be room for your creative self to take action and you will begin to see a way out.

I know you are anxious to move on but grieving takes the time that it takes! It is a process and trying to bury the emotional pain will deplete you of the energy you need for forging ahead. Be kind and patient with yourself. Based on your history, when the time is right for you, you will just find yourself taking the actions that simply feel right.

In the meantime, remember that you have already endured and overcome struggles. Covid-19 is not your undoing. Your emotions are your best friends in guiding you through this. Let them be there. I believe you already know deep down that this is a time for you to discover a new power within yourself.

Even as you are waiting and healing you are also forging a new path entirely of your own making. Yes you will indeed get through this! I wish you all the energy in the universe as you move through this time in your life. You are special and you will be able to do this!

Letter #: 461645
Category: Career

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