Randy worked hard to keep his nervousness under control. However, he found himself waking up at 4:00 a.m. several nights a week, unable to go back to sleep.

He thought about the rumors going through his company: business was bad, profits were low, layoffs were likely. They would be downsizing; his job was in danger. He kept having dreams of himself living on the streets and in great danger.

After several uncomfortable nights, he decided that he was not handling his fears well, and that it was time to turn to outside resources. He found a list of questions called “What To Do When You’re Afraid” in my book, I Don’t Need therapy, but Where Do I Turn for Answers?

As he answered the first questions, he recognized just how upset he was. “Is there something happening or going to happen that’s dangerous? What is the danger? Is it real or imagined?” Randy decided that the danger of losing his job was very real, and that, while he had been trying not to pay attention to the rumors, when the ax came, he would be among the first to go.

He addressed the question “How likely is it that the danger will cause me harm?” He thought about the effects of losing his job.

He found himself contemplating never being gainfully employed again. He imagined his fiancée breaking off the relationship, and his parents being ashamed of him. As he caught himself making worse and worse pictures about the outcome, he recognized that he was listening to an old set of lectures from his parents about the worthlessness of people who didn’t work.

At that point, reality set in. He thought about friends who had recently lost jobs, and discovered there was quite a support system available. He also recognized that he had enough savings to act as a cushion for several months, and began to think of possibilities for other jobs.

Then he went to the question “Is there anything I can do to protect myself?” Randy decided to keep his available resources liquid. He also decided to see what was involved in applying for Unemployment benefits. He spoke to his fiancée about what they would do if he was laid off, and he started checking the want-ads. He also decided that this would be a good time to join a network group and learn what kind of jobs were open and what kind of retraining he might need.

He realized that he had been wanting to upgrade his computer skills, and made a plan to do so. He made a plan to investigate temporary employment agencies.

The last question on the list was, “If the worst thing you can imagine actually happens, what will you do?”

He decided that, if he lost his job, couldn’t get temporary work, and was in real danger of running out of money, he could be satisfied for several years doing volunteer work and living on a very minimal income while learning a new trade.

Once Randy had this sorted out, he discovered that he was sleeping again at night and making active efforts to protect himself against the “What ifs” When he did lose his job, a month later, he put his plan into action, and eventually a temporary employer offered him a permanent position.
[tags]Personal Growth,Self Help, Self-Improvement[/tags]