You are Not the Only One

I think that people generally want to belong.  We find friends of similar interests and mindsets.  We are drawn to people like ourselves or that have qualities that we respect or identify with.  There is a part of us that does like that alone time, but as a whole, we like to be around others similar to ourselves.


Why is it when something bad happens in our life we naturally assume we are so unique as to be the only person in the world that has either gone through this or understands it?


When we get fired, laid off or displaced we retreat into our own little world thinking we are alone.


There are situations that it may be hard pressed to find someone with the exact same circumstances; however, you are not alone.


So why do we allow ourselves to feel that way?


Fear or embarrassment. 


We don’t want to admit that something bad happened.  Perhaps it will be seen as a poor reflection of ourselves.  I was fired so therefore I must be the worst employee ever.  People will think differently of me, people will not respect me, people won’t respect me.


I wish for one moment that all those going through that thought process would take all that energy they are putting in that isolation into doing something positive.  If I could have wrangled all those negative feelings when I was in that same position and put it into cleaning my house – it would have been spotless, Mr. Clean would be impressed.


It is wasted energy.


First of all, you are not the only one.


No, it is not the most pleasant thing to talk about.  However, if you can take a much less pessimistic view and open up to people then what you might find is you will hear a lot of “been there, done that.”


No one needs to know the gory details of why it happened.  The simple fact is it did.  Don’t elaborate on it.  Just state it and immediately, in that same breath make a statement that you are moving forward.


It will be hard on two fronts.  First, the need to feel that you need to defend yourself.  You don’t.  Just state it plain, simple and quick.  Second, people are damn nosey.  You might get the “what happened?” questions.  This will be difficult to avoid getting sucked in.


It is like when you break up with someone.  I was engaged and then one day, I was no longer engaged.  When people found out more often than not I heard two statements back to back:


“I’m so sorry!”

“What happened?  You guys seemed perfect together.”




Thank you for the support and thank you for wanting to get all the details of which I was having enough of a hard time dealing with.


I got to the point that I started using one of my most prominent attributes: humor.  Ok, let’s be honest, it is me.  I used sarcasm.  I started replying with:


“Thank you”

“Someone forgot to tell us we were perfect for each other”




“Thank you”

“Obviously we weren’t perfect for each other, but good to know you thought so, now I know never to let you set me up.”


Or something like that.  The point is, I cut it off.  I didn’t allow someone to get the “skinny” on something negative that happened to me.  It wasn’t their business and by reliving it, I was not able to release it. 


Today, I see it as a blessing.  Before I got to that place I had to realize that I wasn’t the only one.  Other people broke up and were fully able to move forward with their life, why couldn’t I?  And I did.


There are very few people that can claim such horrendous circumstances in their life to claim that they are the only one.  Nelson Mandela is one that comes to mind.  But the thing about Mr. Mandela is that he still remained positive.  He didn’t wallow.


Stop wallowing.  You are not the only one and although it might satisfy someone’s curiosity, don’t relive the experience.  Accept it, learn from it and move on.  This will allow you to reconnect with the world again and truly move on.  And one day you might find that this horrible event was one of the best blessings you could have ever received.


Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Brand Strategist & Career Coach




Fight Fair

As a girl growing up my mom was constantly telling me to “be sweet” – I think she had high hopes for the girlie girl kind of daughter.


My father, on the other hand, knew better.  He taught me how to hold my fist if I had to punch someone and the best places to strike first.  He also passed on the adage of “don’t start it, but if it happens make sure you end it.”


As I grew up and made my way through the corporate world I incorporated both of these lines of thinking.


I was fortunate with some of the bosses I had in my corporate career, and then there were some sent because I was being punished from a former life of pulling wings off flies.


Never did we always agree, good or bad bosses; but I treated each in the same manner during the disagreements – with respect.


For the good bosses the respect was for them, for the bad bosses the respect was for myself.


I can look back and not remember the details of the disagreements; however I can vividly remember the interaction that ensured.  Memory is like that – selective.


There were times that I wanted to completely cut loose and rip them up one side and down the other, throwing in creative and snarky comments – but I refrained.  Let me tell you, I get major points because in some cases they really deserved it (in my humble opinion) or it was just too easy; but I refrained.


It is always best to play fair.  Because that is how you will be remembered.  Harsh words can come out easily but can never really be removed or forgotten.  And crazy behavior is a reputation killer.


No matter if it is a tiff with a friend, a disagreement with a co-worker or being let go by a boss – fight fair.


The incident will be forgotten, who was right or wrong will be forgotten; but the harsh words and unfair play will always linger on.


People remember how you treat them – period.  Your reputation is based upon not only what you do and how you do it but also how you treat people.


When leaving a position remember it is like a relationship – you are breaking up with that company.   At that moment it is painful and things can be said that can cause irrevocable damage to that and future relationships.


People talk.  If you are an angry elf during the breakup trust me, that story will be told.  The business-world is a small world and you never know who knows whom.  You do not want to be known as the crazy person.


It may not be a justified breakup, there may be others that are less qualified that should have been downsized rather than you, the incident may not have been your fault, you may even be the scapegoat – it doesn’t matter.  Fight fair.


The reasons will be forgotten, the incident will lesson over time but your reaction and subsequent behavior will remain in infamy if you hop on the crazy train.  That type of behavior will be retold over and over again.


It can overshadow all your hard work, effort and abilities.  It can immediately cloud someone’s opinion of you before they even get a chance to know you.  Fight fair.


It is already set in motion so it is up to you to determine how it ends.


Be sweet: during the break up or disagreement listen, keep calm and take time to walk away to gather your thoughts and determine the best and most professional next course of action.


Don’t hit first: if you get personally offended or upset do not take that opportunity to strike a blow.  Stop.  Take a breath.  Remember that you cannot take that personal strike back so is it really worth it?


Fight fair: do not let someone goad you into personal attacks, either by attacking them or defending yourself to unfair strikes.  Simply ignore those tactics and stay on point.


End it on your terms:  if it is a disagreement you may have to be the bigger person and say, “I understand that we are each very passionate about our viewpoints on this, I propose we agree to disagree and let’s find a way that we can work together to complete the task at hand.”


If it is a dismissal again, remain calm, focus on the professional aspect of things.  This is not a personal attack, this is a professional decision.  If you need to take time to step back and gather your thoughts let this be know.


Evaluate the situation in a clear manner taking the personal feelings out of it.  Make sure your next actions are not only what is best for you at this very moment but also for any future career moves you plan on making.


As far as the mean, snarky comments – I’m human, I know you still want to say them.  Save them for your significant other, best friend or even your dog.  My dogs have heard many stories and each time they always agree with me – good dogs!


Do not let the snarky comments out and about in the professional setting but do what you need to do in order to get them out.  Once you have the little fit then you can get back to the business at hand: fighting fair for your future.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.