Surviving The Rollercoaster

A friend of mine survived through the Recession at the same architecture firm. All seemed fine until the company got in some trouble and had to lay off a good portion of their workforce last month. My friend was now unemployed and began bombing Facebook three times a day about their new troubles. I am no stranger to those anxieties, having experienced more than my fair share, but to read through someone else’s rollercoaster journey while I was strong in hope for 2012 was heartbreaking and a little upsetting. I wanted to comfort my friend but didn’t know how.

I remembered being completely shaken, where almost every aspect of my life was up in the air. I just didn’t know what the future had in store for me. I hated calling home to my parents and not being able to give them good news. It became hard to plan things, have goals, or keep commitments, should I get a job all of a sudden.

How on earth did I survive that unsettling time?

Probably my support system and my belief were most essential in keeping my strength and motivation while searching the job market. When I was low on belief, my support system of family, friends and fellow architects was there to listen and encourage me. Likewise, when I couldn’t reach out to my support system, my belief gave me strength. Belief in God’s bigger plan for my life. Belief in myself, that with a little help, I am capable of withstanding the trials put before me.

Maybe I could comfort my friend by telling them this?

One great support system moment I had recently was when I met with my mentor to talk out a few troubling experiences I was having. Our discussion focused on how to weather the bad stuff that comes through life. She advised that life always has pluses and minuses. Always. It’s important that when we’re bogged down by the minuses, we need to remember the positives and not take them for granted. If we don’t do that, we will eventually only see the minuses and risk not ever being fulfilled in life. I came home that day feeling more grounded and blessed than I had in months. How did I forget that no one has it all together and perfect?

As for my belief, I recently found a kindred spirit in Viola Davis with her acceptance speech at the Screen Actors Guild Awards last month. “And when I woke up and realized how difficult it was to be an actor, and how the rejection was so high … what is there but a dream. You can’t trade in your dream for another dream. I am so proud to be an actor… to dream big and dream fierce.” Substitute architect for actor and it’s a perfect statement of my conviction

Perhaps these stories are good ones to share with my friend. I’ll call them today and let them know I’m available for listening and encouragement, should they need it. I pray they can sustain the rollercoaster ride with their own good support system and solid belief…and that they get another architecture job very soon.

3 thoughts on “Surviving The Rollercoaster

  1. It goes both ways too. A very close friend of mine was sitting in his office one day, having just landed the mechanical contract for the Spire tower downtown (wanna guess what that was worth? $$$). His boss comes in and asks him “so what are you selling?” “Well, I just closed on the Spire project!”

    “No, that’s what you sold. I wanna know what your selling.”

    Lesson: don’t let your highs get too high or your lows get too low.

  2. Thank you for the heart-felt story. I can definitely relate to all of it, having been through it…and still going through it. There are two things that have been specially beneficial to me (beyond a solid support system). One has been getting back involved in the community (AIA & WID) to feel a sense of purpose. The other…sometimes it’s nice when my friends can stop asking how the job hunt is going and giving advice as to what I should do; and just listen and give me the hug I need at that moment to get back up and go at it again.

  3. Pingback: It’s Time to Move On. « AIA Colorado EP Blog

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