Dealing with Catastrophe

If any of us thinks we are immune to personal catastrophe, 2020 taught us a valuable lesson. We can’t always anticipate the next challenge we might contend with.

In times of crisis, we can choose how to react to sudden emergencies.

I believe that keeping a clear head will always support you in acting deliberately.

For example, take my friend Craig.

He had a position with a technology firm making $160,000. During the recession he was laid off. After he packed up his belongings, he visited the head of his department, as well as his manager. He shook their hands and thanked them for their support. Understandably, both people were thrown off by how someone who just got fired could shake their hands.

Craig went home and took his wife out to dinner. He told her what happened. They toasted to a great run with the company. The next day, Craig sent out his resume. He didn’t lower his salary demand. Two weeks later, he received a call from another tech firm. It was from the department manager. He had heard about how Craig shook everyone’s hand when he left the company who let him go. He thought the behavior was exemplary, so they agreed to meet for an interview. The firm was small. They were opening up a new division. Craig’s experience was perfect for the position. They agreed on a salary, $161,000, with a chance to make a bonus every quarter.

Craig has been there eight years now. The change was absolutely perfect.

There are a few uncontrollable factors that will determine how easily some people can bounce back to their feet (access to resources and connections being very important elements), and, there are factors we can control. Craig’s story is an example of how things can improve, after a personal disappointment. Even when fired, Craig remained so gracious that word about his demeanor traveled to another company. Remember: you never know who is watching.

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