DEAR HARRIETTE: I worked the same job for many years -- decades, really -- and I got laid off this summer. I have meager savings and no idea of what I can possibly do to take care of my family. I do not have a college degree, but I do have a lot of job experience in office administration. I feel so sad about what’s next. How can I change my attitude and find work? -- Need a New Job
DEAR NEED A NEW JOB: My mother taught me years ago that when I feel down, it’s time to count my blessings. Literally make a list of the things you are grateful for. Then write down what you are good at doing. Be specific as you record your attributes, even if some of these things extend beyond your work experience. Think of your extracurricular activities and all the engagements in your life. Get a sense of what you consider to be your strengths. Next, imagine what job would match your abilities. Create a resume -- or more than one -- that highlights your skills in that particular area.
Now it’s time to look for a job that would value those attributes. You can visit one of the many job posting sites online to see what’s available. Contact your network of friends to see if they know of any jobs. Put yourself out there. And know that you may need to take a job that is not in your most natural area of expertise. That’s okay, too. I know many people who have chosen to drive for Uber, Lyft or some other car service and others who have gone to retail or telemarketing while on the job search. Do what you have to do to take care of yourself.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who has three beautiful children. He periodically posts photos of them on social media doing all kinds of amazing things. I feel like such a failure compared to him. My children are good students and generally good people, but they are not world travelers or straight-A students. I know I shouldn’t be comparing my kids to his, but it is hard not to. How can I stop being unsettled by my friend’s children’s success? -- The Joneses
DEAR THE JONESES: Social media is a forum that people use to post celebratory moments. Look at your friend’s posts with that in mind. As a proud papa, he is pointing to highlights in their lives. This in no way means that his children have good times only. You know this because you know your own children. Instead of getting obsessed with other people’s posts, spend less time online and more time being with your family. You do not need to post anything about them. What you must do is pay attention to them and nurture their strengths as you help them remain good people.
Further, send good wishes to your friend, and trust that your children are great, as they are. This can help you release the envy that is crippling your spirit.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)