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job uncertainty and covid-19

Vincent van Gogh Artworks & Famous Paintings | TheArtStory
Sad and Depressed
Dr. Paul Gachet Painting
by Vincent Van Gogh

Statistics Canada has reported that more than 1 million people lost their jobs in March 2020 and the rate at which people lost their job in March was largest ever on record! There are some people who were completely let go from their job, while there were some people who saw their hours cut in half. Thankfully the government had put measures into place to help those who lost their jobs or could not work due to reasons related to COVID.

It is no denying that job loss (or even a change in your weekly hours) negatively impacts not only your financial health but your physical and mental health as well. When you are not physically and mentally healthy it can also negatively affect your chances of finding a new job as well.

Now why am I writing this blog?

Because just two weeks ago my hours got slashed in half and I went through a very sad period. I was doing such a good job in saving my money (because there was no where to go and no where to spend it on) and all of a sudden I had to digest the news that I could no longer expect a predictable regular income.

Like many people I panicked. I began to play out the worst case scenarios. I began to plan for the worst and began to frantically look for jobs and apply and then considered going to sleep. I just could not think straight and it was affecting my mood.

I thought: I lost half my hours at work. This is the worst news ever to happen to me because if I lose my hours I lose my pay and the ability to save money for my future and if I don’t have money I will be set back in life and therefore I will be a loser. End result: I am sad and depressed.

I cannot speak for others but whenever I hear “bad news” my mind goes straight to panic mode because I begin thinking about the future.

The problem with my pattern of thinking is that I am letting myself believe that any minor set back makes me a “loser”. So my feelings of sadness are not in the fact that I will be working less but because I have equated working less as a setback and the setback makes me a loser.

I am stressing myself into a frenzy because I am demanding perfection. I am irrationally reasoning that having my hours reduced is the worst thing that has happened to me. This is bit of an exaggeration as there are far worse things that can happen right?

How can I get myself out of this unreasonable thinking?

Friedrich Nietzsche would argue that tough times make us stronger. It is through suffering that our character is tested and human resilience is revealed. The person who is suffering and withstands this suffering has created an opportunity to become courageous.

So this reduction in hours can be seen test to my resilience!

If you are like me and are in a “sink or swim” situation then perhaps this is the best time for us to put our 100% in and look for another part time job. Perhaps finding a new job will open new possibilities for us, a new mission in life, a new direction that we otherwise would not have had the opportunity to discover. But it is up to us to make light of this situation and find a way out of the tunnel.

“There is no beautiful surface without a terrible depth” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Now the ancient Stoics would argue that there is no sense in fearing the future. For we are in the now and must be present on making the now as happy as possible because the future is not here. Having less hours will is a problem but is a “future problem”. A lot can change between now and the future, we may find a part time job! so does worrying about the future make sense right now?

“The mind that is anxious about future events is miserable” – Seneca

When we focus on the future we are giving ourselves endless troubles, news that appear to be troubles that are not even here yet!

In conclusion, COVID-19 has impacted our lives and turned our usual into the unusual and forced us to adjust. We did! It has taken away our jobs or hours and in return given us time to do other things such as bake, take up hobbies and write.

I am not at all suggesting that taking up a hobby will put food on the table. What I am suggesting is that when presented with any news that may disrupt your ordinary way of living, it is important to focus on the present and find solutions to solve the problem. No good will come from illogically reasoning your news to make you feel like a loser. Misfortunes can befall upon anyone. It is how you choose to recover that will reveal your true character.