Your Own Northern Star


In our night sky there is a star which sits almost directly above the north pole on the Earth’s axis. From our vantage point it seems to be a fixed object around which all the other stars rotate; making it an excellent stationary point from which to navigate and chart one’s place and / or progress. Given that it’s above the north pole, it has been given the name, Polaris; the North Star.

In days of old, many sailors once out in waters beyond the sight of land would use the stars in the night sky to stay the course as they’d navigate their way to distant lands. By day when the stars were not visible, these same people would track their progress using the path of the sun and pray for a cloudless night by which they could assure themselves they were on course and hadn’t wavered too much during the day.

So ironically, they used this one star in the night sky so very far away to keep grounded. The same by the way is true for travellers who were lost inland. When there was no GPS, no radio’s, cell phone or compasses, those lost in the night would hope for evenings full of stars from which they could get their bearings and stay the course as they made their way in lands where it was too hot to travel by day. Again, the North Star was their fixed point from which to gain their bearings.

Let me ask you then if you have a North Star of your very own. Do you have someone in your life who is always there for you? Someone you can rely on time after time to be there for you when you’re feeling lost and need reassurance? Maybe like Polaris they seem distant but when you look for them they can always be trusted to be steadfast right where you’d expect them to be and that stability is comforting to you and from that you draw self-confidence and can then go on your way.

It’s pretty easy in 2017 to find ourselves caught up in the hectic day-to-day. Whether it’s the pursuit of money, prestige, a job title, a house, cottage or yes even a far off destination like those explorers of old, we can get so focused on ‘getting’ things that we might lose ourselves in the process. This is why every so often something happens that gives us pause to think and we find ourselves re-evaluating our priorities. “Is this really what I want? When did I lose my way and become so fixated on making such-and-such my priority? What did I give up or move down my list of priorities by giving primary importance to whatever it is?”

It’s often this one person we see as our sounding board, our voice of reason, our mentor or advisor that helps us put things in perspective. Be it just listening, an afternoon or evenings conversation with them, maybe even just bringing them to mind in some cases; we somehow feel things just make sense when they’re near at hand or near in mind. In short, you’ve got your own Polaris, your own Northern Star.

Sometimes these people are the go-to people we think of first in our moments of need or crisis. When things are bleak, we’re confused or possibly we have a big decision to make, we seek out that one person who can listen to what’s troubling us, rearrange everything we tell them and they give it back to us in a way that just makes sense. Somehow, they make things clearer and without telling us what to do, they just make our decision easier; even when that decision means we’re in for a lot of work and struggle, the decision itself is easier to make.

Stars are by their very place in the universe, always up. Wherever you are on the Earth, you have to look up to see them. You might look down and see them reflected in still waters, but that’s not the stars themselves but rather their reflection. No, to see the stars and find the North Star, you have to look up to the night sky.

The person you see as your own Polaris is probably much the same; you look up to them. Don’t confuse this with meaning they can’t falter now and then, after all you can go a few days with cloudy nights when the stars aren’t visible, or there’s enough passing atmospheric cover that the stars peek out and then disappear. But you and I both know that North Star is always there.  While shooting stars sometimes briefly light the skies and disappear forever in a fiery end, the North Star has always been there.

I wonder if you’ve ever told this person you equate as your personal North Star just how much they mean to you? Is it enough that they should just ‘know’ their value to you? Would it be awkward for you to express your appreciation for them? It’s not hard to imagine however that telling them either verbally or in the written word would be welcomed and appreciated. What does having them in your life do for you? How are you better for knowing them? How much does it mean to have them to go to in your darkest moments for some clarity?

Sounds to me like a wonderful thing to share with your own North Star.

 

Reliance and Empowerment


Some people like to do things themselves while others like it best when things are done for them. I suppose it really depends on the situation as to which is best for you personally. The real questions do you have to ask yourself when deciding is whether you have the interest, skills, time, resources and motivation to do whatever it is you’re considering.

In some situations, I’m more than happy to pay someone else to do whatever it is that needs doing. I remember when landscaping my backyard for example that I was quite happy to pay a contractor to deliver and set several large armour stone pieces which when completed frame a patio area. I had him drill a hole through one of the stones and with a hose inserted that rock has now become a focal piece of the backyard waterfall too. Could I have done that on my own? Well perhaps, but the cost of renting equipment, finding some guys to help in the transport, making sure everyone worked safely and the margin for error which could have ruined the entire project didn’t make it worthwhile. Nope, it was far better to pay a team of men do what they have specific skills and expertise on my behalf.

The above situation is in my opinion money well spent. However, there are other things I choose to take on all by myself. It might take a consultation with a professional, reading up on a process or watching an online video or two, but I figure at the outset I’ve got the motivation and time, I’m confident I can learn the skills required and it looks like a job which I can do building on my existing skills. In short, I won’t get in over my head and the chances of success look good doing it myself. Take as an example when I put down some hardwood flooring for the first time years ago. It took longer than a team of pros would take, but it was empowering to do it with my wife and when done look at that floor and say we did it ourselves. With that success, we could if we chose go on to do other floors with new-found confidence.

That’s a wonderful thing about doing things yourself; you can point to what you’ve done and feel good about what you’ve achieved. Well, that is you can feel good about what you’ve achieved when it works out. I suppose if you laid some hardwood flooring yourself and in the end found you’d scratched up several pieces, cut a few pieces a little short and the gap on one edge is wider than it should be, that do-it-yourself mentality was ill-conceived. Maybe it might have been better to hire some pro and let him or her do it for you so it was done right.

Sometimes it’s easy to make the mistake of assuming a job is easy; that anyone can do it – certainly you can at any rate. In the case of flooring it’s easy to tell when the job is done whether it’s a good one or not; all you have to do is stand back and look.

On the other hand, putting together a résumé when applying for work looks fairly straight-forward and certainly within most people’s abilities to do, but not everyone has the skills to tackle it on their own. If I told you I see terrible resumes on a daily basis done by people who think they’ve actually done a great job on them I wouldn’t be stretching the truth. Unlike looking at a finished floor, people can read and re-read a résumé and miss all kinds of problems that to a pro stand out like a sore thumb.

So here like in all things, you’ve only got a few options. Make a résumé yourself, have someone do it for you, or – and here’s my suggestion – have a professional sit down and explain what they are doing and why as they do it.

If you make a résumé yourself you won’t know how much better it could really be. If you have the skills to craft ones that work, then hurrah for you! Excellent. If however, you pay to have it made for you and you only get the finished product, you are now dependent on the person who made it for revisions, extra copies and you haven’t learned anything. You may have paid a lot of money for something you assume is great and it may not turn out to be a bona-fide winner.

Sit down with a pro and pick their brain as they craft that document however, and you will pick up the reasoning and rationale behind what they leave out and put in. As you listen you learn; as you question you learn; as you watch you learn. In the end, you leave with two things; the résumé you need and the necessary information to perhaps make better resumes in the future than you would have otherwise. With this new-found knowledge your skills have improved and in short, you might feel empowered to put together stronger documents on your own.

Knowing when to pay a professional and when to take on work on your own is a strength. Stronger still is the person who becomes empowered making themselves self-reliant in the process.

LinkedIn Notifications


When I open LinkedIn I can see right away that there’s some notifications waiting for me to open. The more connections you have, the more likely you are to have a number of these, and so with quite a few connections, these notifications come daily.

As I move to click on the small red dot on the notifications image (in this case what reminds me of a school bell), I wonder less and less what the notification will actually turn out to be. This is because more often than not, the notifications are to either wish one of my connections a happy birthday or to congratulate them on a work anniversary or perhaps starting a new job.

Now I’m not under any obligation to actually do anything with those notifications. I can ignore them and choose to move on with whatever else I want to do, or I can click and up comes a standard message I can send as is or edit. Typically the standard message is, “Happy Birthday”, “Congratulations on the new job” or “Congratulations on your anniversary”. With a second click I can send the message as is or as I say edit the message by sending an additional thought of my own.

Now me, I always choose to acknowledge the event connected with my connections. I know however that this is not a practice shared by others, and I’m actually not going to suggest or advise you as a reader of this article one way or the other. I’m going to share with you why I personally do think this is a practice I will continue to engage in however. I would think the only reason I’d stop to do this would be if a number of my connections contacted me and requested I stop. It would seem to me however that this practice must be working for the majority of LinkedIn users or LinkedIn itself would disable this functionality and stop promoting the practice of acknowledging events going on with ones’ connections.

One thing I have to say is that like so many other users of this social media platform, I have contacts I know intimately, others I know well, some I know moderately and some I’ve accepted as connections whom never really entered into dialogue with beyond initiating or accepting a connection. My response to these people will vary when I see a notification. To the extent I know the person and/or the actual time I have on my hands at a given moment dictates what I choose to do. Not much time and I send the standard LinkedIn proposed message; more time and I add a personal note of my own.

The real question of course is why. Why do this at all? Of what value is there in sending any acknowledgement? Well to me, I believe it’s one small way of maintaining a relationship with the person. Take the person I know well but not intimately. Maybe I’ve exchanged some messages back and forth over the years, provided some feedback on something they’ve said or they’ve commented on a blog of mine. Acknowledging their birthday costs me nothing but 4 seconds and aren’t they worth that? I think they are.

Should my contact change jobs I’d also want to know about this and I wouldn’t expect they’d individually notify all their connections about the change. This service provided by LinkedIn is a quick way to get the news out and new jobs are always cause for celebration. I think most people enjoy being congratulated and so I do so.

What of the person then that I don’t know all that well but who is nonetheless a connection of mine? I still take those few seconds to click on the, “Say happy birthday” message. Here I might opt to just send the standard greeting. Again, it requires so little effort I can’t help but think if I really value the connection why wouldn’t I give them 4 seconds of my time?

You might wonder why I’d even have a connection that I don’t really know that well or whom I don’t exchange much conversation with. Perhaps for you this is a bigger question. Well, yes there are people who just go about collecting connections at random and think it’s a race to have the highest number possible. I’m not one of those. I do think that in addition to building a network of people in my field, there is value in knowing people in other lines of work; connections where the benefits are not immediately obvious. I’m laying the groundwork for the future, and if they initiate a request with me, perhaps they are looking to benefit from me as a connection. So it’s not always what I can leverage from someone but more often than not what I might do for them.

Clicking on that ‘Congratulate so-and-so on their work anniversary’ is also important I think just because it’s nice to do. There’s no strings attached to sending the congratulatory message, I’m not asking for anything. It does from time-to-time result in a few messages back and forth; a check-in if you will and my relationship with that person gets some attention and nurturing.

So there’s some of my argument for the LinkedIn Notifications feature and it’s value. Sometimes it’s all the little things that cumulatively make a difference.

How Many Jobs Should You Apply To Per Day?


The short answer is a nice big fuzzy, “it depends.”

Now of course the logical question you’re framing in your mind is what does it depend on? Am I correct? While setting goals for yourself is commendable and strongly encouraged, it’s not always the best strategy to set a number of jobs to apply to each day when you’re out of work. That may come as a surprise to some of my readers given that I’m an Employment Counsellor.

An effective job search is about more than just filling out applications and firing off resumes to organizations online or via email. In fact, a healthy job search allocates time to a number of activities which will keep you busy and productive.

Now while you may be driven to actually apply for employment, it’s not always the case that the person who applies for the most number of jobs is ultimately the first one hired. Nor is it the case that the one who applies for the most number of jobs is the one who lands in the right job; and that can lead to many job changes when the positions don’t last long.

Sure you should look for jobs daily. By all means set aside some time in the morning to see what new postings may have come out in the last 24 hours. You don’t want to miss an opportunity that you’ve otherwise kept your eye on and find it has some extremely short deadline to apply and then miss it. How unfortunate that would be! If you also look into postings once during the afternoon, you’re already doing a good job of staying on top of what’s available.

There are other things you should be paying attention to however; and it’s these other things that will keep you productively engaged in your job search and give you enough variety so you avoid discouragement. Here’s a list:

  1. References. Now is the best time to put together a list of the people you know who will vouch for your work performance. Current or former employers, supervisors and/or co-workers are excellent choices. You’ll need a minimum of 3 of these, including the correct spelling of their names, titles, company names, phone numbers and emails. By the way, send them a current resume to have on hand as well as a note of appreciation for their ongoing support.
  2. Social Media Profile. When applying for a position, many employers will turn to the internet and dig around to find what they can about you. If you started a LinkedIn profile but never really developed it much, now is a great time to devote some attention to developing and fleshing out your profile. Put in a little effort now and you won’t feel embarrassed about your profile later.
  3. Exercise. Job searching is stressful for almost everybody and it manifests itself in physical ways. Getting out for a walk, bicycle ride, the elliptical gathering cobwebs in the basement or a trip to the gym will not only improve your physical fitness but ward off aches and pains.
  4. Enjoy A Pastime. If you need permission to spend some time doing things you enjoy, here it is. Get out in the garden, work those knitting needles, pound those keyboards, pick up that paintbrush. Setting aside some time to do things which bring you happiness and keep up your sense of normal day-to-day living is strongly encouraged. Job searching need not be all-consuming.
  5. Practice Interviewing. I know, I know, I know. This is likely something you don’t enjoy and only want to do when absolutely necessary. Still, without practice and more practice, you’re not going to be at your best just winging it on the day of the big interview. You’ll feel mounting anxiety if you put off practicing and end up sitting in some Reception area wishing you had dusted off your interview skills earlier.
  6. Work Your Network. Networking is essential; engaging with other people, taping into their resources, gaining support and advice, drawing on their expertise and experience. Be it phone calls, face-to-face, over the net, etc., devote some time to reaching out. All those friends on FB and connections on LI you’ve been building are a good place to start.
  7. Diet. By diet I do not mean lose weight. What I do mean is pay attention to both the quantity of food you consume and the quality. When you’re off work, the proximity to your pantry and fridge is considerably reduced, and your trips to both may be much more frequent. If you don’t bring junk into the house in the first place it won’t be there for you to over-indulge in during those weak moments when you crave comfort food.

There’s more you could be doing for sure, but these 7 are a good start. Setting yourself an arbitrary goal of say, 8 job applications a day will either set you up to fail or have you applying at jobs you don’t really want at all just to meet this quota.

If you’re only applying to a single job every week or less you’ve got to step things up my friend. What I’m saying is balance is the key; apply for jobs that you’re truly qualified to do and motivated to do – absolutely. It’s equally important however to get out from in front of a monitor and keep living.

 

Ask The Right Questions Or Don’t


I am privileged as an Employment Counsellor to engage in meaningful conversations with people looking for employment. If you listened in on these, you’d hear me pose a number of questions and with each answer a clearer picture of the person would be revealed.

The trap someone in my place can easily fall into is to size up the job seeker in a few moments based on all the previous job seekers one’s worked with and miss what makes this person unique. The questions I ask and especially the ones I might not, can and do make all the difference in helping that one person find the right match; what they’re really after.

For example ask the question, “So what job are you looking for?”, and I’m likely to get a simple job title. “Personal Support Worker”. This reply is correct, definitive and tells me nothing of the person themselves. If I worked in an environment where success was based solely on churning out resumes and getting people to apply for jobs measured my performance, this would be the fastest way to carry out that goal. However, that seems backwards measuring my success rather than the job seekers based on quantity and not quality.

There’s better questions to ask of someone looking for work; questions which are far more effective at assisting someone to find and keep employment. Better questions that get at the person themselves and their motivation for work.

When I ask, “So what do you want out of your next job?”, one will glibly state, “A pay cheque.” Another will say, “I want to find meaning in what I do”, or, “I want a job where I can make a difference; where I can really help others.” So of the two answers, which person would you rather have caring for you as a Personal Support Worker? I’ll opt for the person who is motivated by their wish to make a difference in the lives they’ll touch over the person working for a pay cheque.

Another good question I like to pose is, “Tell me about that job; what would you actually do?” I ask this question whether I have a really solid understanding of the daily functions of the role or not. This question is really designed to give me information on what the job entails from their perspective and how well that matches up with what employer’s set out as the responsibilities and job functions. Working in a Veterinary Clinic for example sounds appealing to those who like animals but many aren’t ready to keep their opinions and values to themselves when an owner comes to an agonizing decision to put down their beloved pet. It’s not all cuddling and grooming.

As I listen to someone describe the job they are after, I also focus my attention on not only the actual words they use but whether there is any passion or genuine love for the work described. This is most often revealed through a smile on the face, a softening of the eyes, a change in the pace of their words and some varying of the tone in their voice. Do they show and demonstrate some enthusiasm and excitement at the prospect of doing this job or not? Some speak very matter-of-factly about their work of course and for many that’s exactly what it is; work.

Perhaps you’ve heard that expression, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? Well, even the most ardent worker who loves their job with all they’ve got will tell you they still make a significant investment in their time working to improve their productivity, working to keep their high standard of performance or working to keep up with best practices. Stop working at being your best and you rot. So if we all ‘work’ at work, why isn’t the experience of work the same for everyone?

Simply put, it’s what we put in and what we get out of it; investment and return. The best athletes aren’t just naturally gifted, they invest countless hours training, improving, working on elevating their performance to be the best they can be. The brightest often experiment and when they don’t succeed they embrace that failure and learn from what didn’t work to discover what will. So when I ask, “What are willing to put into the job?”, if they answer with the question, “You mean overtime?” that tells me volumes.

Here’s what I think about, “overtime”. I find that a person I work with will often end up over time securing a job which differs from the one they originally identified to me because having got to know them better, together we’ve found a better fit. In other words, with some question and answers, they’ve discovered that finding satisfying and fulfilling work is more than just finding a job.

If you believe that in this economy this kind of thinking is a luxury and one can only hope for a job and a pay cheque, you are entitled to that opinion. There are professionals who will gladly take your money and your time while mass producing your resumes.

As an alternative, let’s ask some probing questions; get to the heart of what makes you unique and find where you’ll truly live that passion that seems so elusive.

I’d love to hear your own thoughts on this. Please comment and share.

 

Get Going On What Needs Doing


Some people in both their personal and professional lives have the tendencies to put off doing things until the last-minute. Whether cramming for a test the night before and pulling an all-nighter or writing up your part in a team assignment at work, they don’t do what needs doing until, well frankly…they NEED doing.

For some people of course, this isn’t an accident but rather the way they work out of choice. Not only is it their preferred method, they don’t stress about looming deadlines and the quality of their work is consistently good. Those of us that might point fingers in their direction and caution them about the dangers of rolling the dice once too often are continually surprised at how well things tend to turn out for them.

However, there is another group of people who leave things until the situation is near to critical and these people don’t meet the same levels of success in the end. The delay in getting going on what they must do is fraught with heightened anxiety and stress. They put off what needs doing which they know isn’t healthy and stew about what they must do. They feel bad they haven’t started, know they are repeating a pattern of behaviour that is harmful to their success but continue to do so nonetheless. Why?

Well that is the question isn’t it? Why? Why would intelligent people with the necessary skills to do the tasks assigned to them choose to put off for as long as possible doing things that they eventually must until the last moments? Why would they knowingly choose to avoid the work knowing as well that they will feel guilt at not having started earlier and repeat this behaviour again and again? Why indeed.

Now from time-to-time I suppose many if not all of us put off doing the odd thing that we know in the end we must. Sometimes it’s laziness or what we have to do isn’t as high a priority at the moment because we still have time to get to it so we do other things. Putting things off here and there isn’t a normal pattern of behaviour however, it’s an anomaly for most and therefore atypical.

You would think that the decision to routinely delay getting started on whatever needs doing would really only be the concern of the people procrastinating themselves. Ah but such behaviours does impact on others around them and yes both in their personal and professional lives. This is the reason – the only reason – that such behaviour is of concern to others. So much of what we do these days involves other people; work is shared and we are counter-dependent on each other to meet common end goals.

When collaborating with others, effective teams that work best together will often divvy up tasks which will use the very best talents of the team members. It’s not enough however to just divide up what needs to be done to assure success. What the truly effective teams also do is make sure all the members know the deadlines for the work to be accomplished and then work backward to the present moment setting up dates and times for updating each other in order to assure work is being done, complications are shared and resolved and help if needed is provided.

When the responsibility for a project is shared, all those involved have to have a certain level of trust in each other that their contributions will ultimately result in a unified presentation which they hope is the formula for success.

This then is the problem when someone puts off doing their part until the time almost expires. Doing so raises doubt in one’s teammates and detracts from their ability to concentrate fully on just doing their piece. They may worry about the productivity of what the procrastinator will or won’t deliver, and wonder if it will be the best they could give or something shoddy done with haste and errors.

I feel for the person who doesn’t want to end up in this kind of situation but despite their best of intentions, always seems to be putting out fires at the last-minute as their motes operandi. For even though they live dangerously working from one deadline to another, the mental anguish, anxiety and stress they feel isn’t welcomed; eventually impacting on their health both physical and mental.

For these people, I suggest a few things. First of all, it is important to decide if you really want to change your standard operating behaviour. If the answer is really a, ‘no’, keep doing what you’re doing. If however, you’d really like to change, understand like any desired change, it will be uncomfortable at first and take work.

You know the absolute deadlines for projects and you’re used to working to those final deadlines so set yourself a series of check-in dates with others and give them permission to ask to see the progress of your work. These check-ins must be more than superficial. Build in some reward for yourself if you’re on track rather than a penalty if you’re not. You’re far more likely to celebrate progress with a treat not penalize yourself for a lack of progress.

See if you’re stress levels decline, anxiety is checked and confidence in you from others improves.

Behavioural Change Brought On With Unemployment


I feel a lot of empathy for you if you’re unemployed and really motivated to find work. Having had times in my life when I’ve been out of work I know personally the ups and downs of job searching with little success until that moment of euphoria comes when you hear the words, “We’re offering you a position”.

The interesting thing about being unemployed is that it’s both the lack of employment and the lack of income that while related, force us to make changes in behaviour; to do things differently than we’ve done. It’s these changes in behaviour that elevate our stress levels. Understanding this can and does help immensely.

For starters, very few people actually look for employment when they are employed. If you are the exception, I’ll still bet you don’t go about looking for another job with the same level of intensity that you would were you entirely out of work. After all, your motivation for wanting a different job than the one you have at the moment is more for personal satisfaction or happiness, wanting to accelerate your career or to build on your current income. The work you do in your current job provides some level of income however, and so if you feel tired when you can finally turn to looking for work, you feel no hesitation to put off seriously looking for another day without guilt. There is much less urgency.

When you’re out of work completely, things change out of necessity. Suddenly you find yourself having no choice but to engage skills that might be rusty or completely foreign to you. Writing cover letters, thank you notes, lining up references, networking for leads, composing resumes, marketing yourself. You may not have had to do these things for a while and you might not find these things pleasant, so you haven’t invested any real-time in keeping up with latest trends in job searching or what employers want.

Secondly there’s the change in income or rather your change in behaviour that has to happen when your income changes. You can either keep spending like you’ve been used to and you’ll increase your personal debt, or you have to cut back and save where you can. Saving money and spending only what you have to is a change in behaviour that can add to your stress. Maybe you drop the social dinners out on Friday nights, start clipping coupons, drop the 3 coffees a day at your local café and only use the car when it’s necessary to save on fuel.

These two changes regarding your spending and having to engage in job search activities are both necessary and both things you’d typically like to avoid having to do. Here then is the reason for the stress; unwanted but necessary activity you begin to engage in.

While I acknowledge that we are unique in many ways, it is also fair to say that in many ways, most of us share similar feelings when out of work. We might feel embarrassment, shame, a lack of pride etc. and want to keep our unemployed status from friends and extended family. If we could only get a new job in a week or so we could then tell people that we’ve changed jobs. We do this of course because we want to save face, protect our ego, avoid worrying over what others might think of us and wanting to keep our relationships as they are. We worry they might re-evaluate us, think poorer of us, maybe even disassociate themselves from us. Ironic then that while worrying about possibly being disassociated with us many unemployed isolate themselves from social contact.

But I get it. When you’re unexpectedly out of work, you have really two options; get job searching immediately with intensity or give yourself a reasonable period in the form of a mental health break. This time might be good for grieving the loss of your job, venting the anger and bitterness until you can focus better on looking forward not back. You don’t want a trigger of some sort to suddenly have you spewing out venom towards a previous employer in a job interview after all.

When you’re ready to focus on looking for a new role, ask yourself as objectively as you can if you have the necessary skills to job search successfully. You might be good in your field of work, but are you as highly skilled as you need to be in marketing yourself? How are your interview skills ? Are you in uncharted waters or have you kept your résumé up-to-date?

I understand that job searching ranks pretty low on most people’s list of enjoyable activities. It’s understandable then that if you too don’t love job searching, you’ve done little to invest any time or money in honing your skills in this area. Suddenly of course, you hope the skills you do have will see you through.

You’re in a period of transition and you’ll feel a range of emotions. You’ll get frustrated, maybe even educated on how things have changed since you last looked for a job. You’ll feel demoralized perhaps and hopefully encouraged at times too. It’s the broad swings of emotions, raw and real that can catch you unprepared. These are normal when you are forced to deal with change out of necessity.