Monday, March 2, 2009

Depressed About the Economy? Call My Dad

I got up this morning and, despite finding some decent job leads yesterday, started feeling down. I think it was because I'm now in that "waiting" mode that comes between looking for work and the next round of looking for work.

So I called my dad, you know, just to "check in," and almost immediately started complaining about the how bad everything is. "Contrary to every one's belief," he said, "we will recover; we always do. We took a big dip back in 82 and things came around. People and companies get smarter, and then they comfortable and lazy and reckless and things fall apart. This happens over and over."

Now, I'm generally suspicious of over-generalized optimism. I tend to want to argue over how hopeless it seems. But then I got to thinking about how impressed I've always been about my father's ability to barrel forward throughout his whole life. He and my mother have always seemingly done the right things when it came to their collective life, jobs, home, finances, doing all the things you're "supposed to do," etc.

"Dad," I said, "How do you do it? Stay so positive, that is, and not lose your mind over this stuff?"

"I don't know," he answered, thinking about it for a few moments. "Maybe it was because I was 135 pounds high school and wanted to play football. I bugged and bugged the coach who finally put me in at the hardest positions for someone my size - linebacker and center. My sophomore year I got All County Honorable Mention, and 2nd team my Junior and Senior year."

Not sure how to fully embrace and apply that advice to my life, but it sure knocked away a little of the self pity. Hard to argue with that kind of drive, especially coming from a guy raised in Appalachia by a single mother who ended up retiring as Executive Vice President of a steel company and owner of two companies.

1 comment:

  1. My mother has been, for the majority of her working life, a 4th grade teacher. One of the seminal lessons that she espoused to her students (and one that I try to live by to this day), involves the diffusion of negativism. Whenever there is a tendency to let the negatives take over, or spiral into a tantrum, she would always sit them (me) down and ask "Well, what are your options?" This usually resulted in blinking, sniffling incomprehension, and then a little more introspection. "What do you mean?" Well, you've got a problem, so what are the things that you can do about it (apart from screaming and throwing things)? Let's go through the options, pick one, and get on with it.

    Brilliant! Now, that being said, I'm not even sure she would have considered playing center at 135# an option :) That's a special kind of moxie!