Relationships in a Rough Economy


Today I want to talk a bit about how we can be more productive in our jobs, or job search in this extremely stressful economy. I’m going to focus on relationships, which may seem an odd place to start, but relationships are the foundation of success. Good relationships will decrease our stress and we all need to develop the best relationships we can both at work and at home.


When I was working on a dissertation, which I decided would not be a productive use of my time, as I had learned everything I needed to learn to pursue my goals. I decided the PhD was unnecessary. My focus became positive psychology. I urge you to google it and find out all you can. This is the basis for Positive Perspective.


Now, back to relationships. What is happening in our country, and throughout Europe I suspect, due to the state of the world economy is that relationships are suffering tremendously. The reason is the stress,people who have a job are trying to hold onto it, and people who have been laid off are desperately trying to find one in an incredibly competitive market.  Stress causes damage to work and home relationships. Marriages are suffering, child abuse is on the increase, and work relationships have become strained.


When we become stressed, we tend to circulate negative, fearful thoughts into a pattern, which actually causes a physical change in our brains. The more we allow that to happen the worse it gets. I want to share with you an amazing fact. The more we think positively, and pertinent to this presentation, the better our relationships become. Our brains will physically change and those negative loops we get into, will become less and less over time. And you guessed it-we create positive loops that become stronger over time.


How do you begin? Let’s start with work. First, begin to think outside of your own head. Reach out to co-workers. Ask them how they are. When you pass anybody in your place of work make eye contact, smile and say something if you can. Hi is a starter, but sometimes it isn’t appropriate to speak, as everyone needs to busy and productive, and in those cases just smile. Smiling is addictive. The more positive energy you give the more you get back. Even helping someone with a small task, or allowing them to get in front of you for that cup of coffee can change your day. Yes, it may seem ridiculous, but it’s true. Do the same thing with your boss. Get out of your own head. Realize your boss might be as stressed out about work as you and your collegues. You are not in the boat alone. There are many more things you can do to forge better relationships, but due to the time constraints for this video I won’t elaborate.


If you have lost your job, and are searching use the same basic principles. This is a scarier place to be. Perhaps you are facing foreclosure or have lost your home. It isn’t easy to go to 100 job interviews and never get the job. It’s easy to get depressed, and feel hopeless. If you are feeling this way it’s easy to give up or go out and have it show in an interview. Either way, your chances are null or decline significantly.


In the first situation, when you have a job and fear losing it or in the second where it has happened you need to take a look at your relationships at home. Your stress spills over to everyone in your house. Your spouse is as stressed as you are and your respective stress spreads increasing the gap between you. It’s time to pull together rather than apart. The same principles apply. First, get out of your own head and communicate with your spouse, showing an genuine interest in his or her life. Help in any way you can. Spend time together away from the kids, but don’t spend money doing it. Go on walks. Have someone else take care of the kids and cook together, play a game or watch a movie. All these things will bring you closer. Again, it’s contagious. Your spouse should show more interest in you, and that feels great.


Your kids; spend family time doing whatever you like to do. Play games, watch movies, cook together if they are old enough. Watch their favorite shows with them or get out into nature. Ask about how they are. Get more involved, and thus, have a closer and better relationship. Again, don’t allow this fear and stress to damage your marriage or family.


Friends are important too, and again the same principles apply. Friends become more important if you are single. If you don’t have any find some. There are many ways to connect with people and you’ll find that people want to connect with you. Everybody wants friends. There are meet-ups all over the country. In addition to making friends, you will have opportunities to network and increase your chances of getting a job if you are looking. Just google meet-ups, and the town you live in, and you find people connecting who have all sorts of interests. Get involved.


If you attend church or a synagogue reach out to people there and get involved in activities. One last thing I want to address is volunteering. Find a place where you can help out. There are endless opportunities. This serves three purposes. The first is that you help others, the second is that you can make friends, and the third is that the connections you make can lead to job opportunities.


I hope you will forge relationships, and better those you have, which decrease your stress. You will be a happier person. A happier person with good relationships, both at work and at home lead to a more productive worker and lessen your chances of losing your job. The same applies to the unemployed. It will increase your chances of doing a great interview and getting a job. 

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