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Fear of change is the egos natural state. Many people also lack confidence in themselves or their abilities. Everyone, regardless of level or competence, has spent, at least, a little time worrying about losing their job. This worry often increases with age and financial family responsibilities. This fear is almost a natural human condition that stems from fear of uncertainty and from a natural process of analy!ing the "what#ifs$% of the future. &n the modern business world, safe jobs dont really e'ist anymore. (lmost everyone will lose a job sometime in their life. This is true of even the largest and )perceived to be* safest +lue ,hip multinational companies. The concept of a job for life )outside of -overnment employment* has come out of a very short phase in modern history in a small number of .estern countries. This phase of long#term job security has largely come and gone.

The key questions are about learning how to deal with this fear.
This involves recognising when it is a genuine concern that you have to prepare yourself for. (lso, it involves recognising when the concern is a personal e'aggeration or the result of catastrophist or self#deprecation and self#doubt. /ou may lose your job at some stage in your life but you dont have to constantly worry about it all the time. 0emember that change can be a positive thing and it might be the best thing that can ever happen to you. Focus on that which you can control. /ou can control your attitude. /ou can control the 1uality of your own individual work and make it the best that it can possibly be. /ou can strive for e'cellence. There are people today who are worried about losing their job. .ith the daily news of downsi!ing and company failures, many people are becoming afraid that they could become unemployed. 0ecently, & have talked to a number of people who have lost their jobs. & have also been talking to people who are afraid of getting fired. There is something that & have shared with both groups. 2omeone can take away your job or your current income. .hile that is certainly something that is very unpleasant, that is all that they can take away from you. They cannot take away who you are or what you can do. .henever you leave a job, either by your choice, or the company3s choice, you take with you everything that you are and everything that you have. /ou take all of your e'perience with you. /ou take all of the skills and abilities that you have developed. /our discipline and work ethic come with you as well.

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No one can ever take any of those things away from you.
For those who have been laid off, that is very important to remember. +eing let go for no fault of your own can be hurtful. & know some who are bitter and angry. 4owever, dwelling on the hurt and the emotions does not help one to seek out and find employment. 0ather, the focus needs to be on what one has to offer. That is something that those who are employed also need to remember too. &f the day comes when you are let go, you still take with you all that you are and all that you can do. 5ther points for anyone tempted to be afraid of losing their job include focusing on what you can control, knowing how to make the company money and e'panding your skills at work. First, remember that there are things that you can control and things you cannot control. 2ome decisions may be made in a corporate office hundreds of miles away. 2ome of these things you have no input in and no control over. Focus on that which you can control. /ou can control your attitude. /ou can control the 1uality of your own individual work and make it the best that it can possibly be. /ou can, and you should, strive for e'cellence. &t3s sad, but true that many workers have developed a slacker3s work ethic. They do just enough to get by. They should have been developing a work ethic that is now needed and in demand. 2econdly, remember that the reason for being hired is to make money for the company. 4ow few recogni!e that6 &f they really understood that, it would greatly influence their work ethic. Thirdly, don3t only strive for e'cellence in what you do7 also look for ways to e'pand your skills. 8earn things about other departments. (sk 1uestions, get involved, and, volunteer to help someone else with their job. Finally, being afraid will shackle you. Fear always keeps someone from freely moving forward. .orking with fear will affect your productivity. /ou will not be able to work peacefully and accomplish all that you really could accomplish without fear. & can remember specifically on two occasions when & was afraid of being fired. 5ne situation was in the mid 9:3s and they were downsi!ing. The fear of getting fired was affecting my work, and & knew it. The other time was in the late ;:s. & was working for a small company and & just knew something was going on. (gain, the fear of loosing my job was beginning to affect my performance. Thankfully in both cases, & was able to secure other employment. (nd, & took all my work ethic, skills and strengths with me.

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(s long as you are doing the very best that you can, it serves you no purpose to be afraid or worry that you might get fired. That only adds stress and affects your performance. &f you think about it, with so much downsi!ing, in many workplaces, one person now does the work that two or three people did previously. /ou just cannot afford to have anything affect your performance. 2o, refuse to live with fear. 0efuse to go to work with fear. Tell fear to take a hike and then pour your heart and soul into what you are doing. <o your very best6 =ever comprise on a good work ethic. 0emember, if you leave, you3re taking your work ethic with you. &n the meantime, continue to grow and develop yourself, either in the field you are in, or in some other field. Make yourself more valuable this year than you were last year. >now that you are someone who has a lot to offer, wherever you are employed. The risk of being fired is the biggest a'e a company or a manager holds over an employees head. /et despite its commonness, we have tacitly accepted the idea that being fired is not only costly and disruptive to employees, their families, and their communities, but is also a shameful thing which should be avoided at all costs. For this reason, many of us will accept untenable conditions at work and go to e'traordinary lengths to keep our jobs. (dopt a positive attitude that overcomes the threat of being fired. Fear is oppressive and threatening, and cause one an'iety over many of one3s actions or thoughts. (n'ious employees are less productive, because they fear making the wrong decision or saying the wrong thing and because they avoid complaining about any problems they encounter. Moreover, chronic stress hits employees3 health hard. Make a resolution that you will not tolerate working in a state of fear.

A big reason most of us are unhappy with working in an office is due to fear.
.e are afraid of losing our jobs and the pay check that comes with them. &f we lose our jobs we think that the entire world will end. .e wont be able to have a home or feed ourselves and our families. .e think of the worst possible thing and imagine how bad it would be if we lost our jobs. &ts this fear that keeps us sitting in our cubicles day in and day out, or trudging the shop floor. .e may hate our jobs for years, but we are too afraid to do anything about it. .e dont talk to people or stand up for ourselves because we are afraid of being fired. .e dont take vacations and genuine sick leave because we dont want to be seen as la!y. .e work all day without breaks so that we look like hard workers. .e dont look for other jobs that might make us happier because we are afraid of change. .e ask ourselves what will happen if it doesnt work out. .hat if we dont like our new boss$ .hat if we get laid off from that job$ .e tell ourselves its scary out there.

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This isnt healthy. &t stresses us out constantly. This kind of life gives a kind of stress that people have never e'perienced before the modern workplace. &ts chronic stress. &t used to be that people were afraid of starving, or being killed by a lion, or falling off a cliff, or something truly dangerous. =ow we are afraid of losing a job title. .e are afraid of losing a pay check. /es, we may starve because of it, but probably wont. &t confuses us. 5ur bodies can do things to fight off lions and starvation, but they cant do anything to stop this chronic stress. .e spend our days doing our job. .e sit all day. .e fret about inconse1uential things. Then we sit in traffic on the way home. 2ometimes we have a few beers to rela' on the really stressful days. Then we wonder why were always tense and have to go to the chiropractor. ( life of fear wont get you anywhere. Even if you work the office job your entire life youll still probably die of the heart attack brought on by the stress. .e might make plenty of money and never have to change jobs. 5n paper, we might be a total success. &nside well be a wreck. &ve met people who are ?: years old and have been working in their jobs for the past @:, yet they are still deathly afraid of losing their jobs. .hat a hard life. & propose that we give up this fear. 8ets stop worrying about whether or not we have a job tomorrow. Aust stop worrying about it. &f you get fired tomorrow life will go on. &t wont kill you. /ou can find another job and another way to make money. /ou can change your lifestyle if you need to. /ou can become a hobo. &n the end, it doesnt really matter. The important thing to remember is that no matter how much you worry about something, you cant stop it. /ou can fret and worry and be afraid about losing your job, but it wont change anything. /ou will still get fired if they want to fire you. +y no means am & saying that you shouldnt work hard. <o your job and do it well. +e the best at your job. +e awesome at it, but dont worry about losing it. .orrying will only stress you out. &t wont stop anything from happening. 8ike a lot of people, & was laid this year. &t really sucked. & was working for a company that was having financial problems and they had to make cuts # well that was the managers storey. & was one of them out of many. & did a good job, showed up on time, was nice to everybody, and was all around a good employee. & still got canned. 8osing a job sucks, but & think everyone should go through it once in their lives. &t helps to put things into perspective. &n my youth & had been worried for years about losing my job. & didnt know what & would do if & lost it. & thought my whole life would fall apart. &t didnt of course. & ended up losing not only my job, but all my positions B three times B once in =igeria )+iafra ,ivil .ar*, Mo!ambi1ue and in (ngola all because of civil wars. & was unemployed for a while, but & found something. Everything worked out in the end. Then & lost my wife since CDED in CDDC in an air crash and again & thought my world had come to an

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end. +ut it didnt6 &t may take longer for some people, but things will work out. Even if they dont, youll be ok. The big thing & reali!ed though is that no amount of worrying would have helped me keep my job. &t was going to happen. & was a great employee and & still got canned because of "budget changes%. & wish & wouldnt have been stressed out about it. & wish & wouldnt have been afraid of losing the job. & could have really enjoyed my time there if & didnt stress out about the possibility that & might be laid off. .hat a waste of time and energy to be stressed for so long. Aust remember that even if the worst possible thing happens and you lose your job, your house, your family, your car, your clothes, and cant even feed yourself, worrying about it wont help. .orrying everyday wont do you any good. +e prepared for things, but stop worrying. 2ome seven years ago, & got a job & really likes in the Tourist and 4ospitality &ndustry. My boss was a great girl, my co#workers were competent and fun and the clients are on the whole all terribly nice people. Theres only one fly in the ointmentF Five years down the line, the nice manageress left to get married and move elsewhere, then a year down the line from her leaving, one of the new managers B although a pleasant man # was on the fiddle and sadly many employees lost out on benefits, rewards and bonuses. Then a new boss )team leader* came on the scene and he wasG less nice. 4e tended to summon all his employees to meetings and chew them out collectively and loudly for whatever problems he sees, he bullied the female employees constantly, brought EHE0/ female employee to tears. &M45 4es abrasive and unpleasant, always complains and never acknowledges his people for the good work they do. 4is emails to his underlings are a case study in rudeness. (nd, of course, hes known for summarily firing people who cross him in any way. =ow, while & liked the job & was doing & did not need this. (s & was independently somewhat wealthy and so skilled that & could always go out and get another job if need be, and even more supportive for me is & only had a year before retirement, & therefore have !ero fear of being fired. .here other people in the company feel they must watch their tongue for fear of the conse1uences, & felt free to say and do e'actly what & thought is right. (nd heres the thingF .hen & stood up to this team leader and told him that & would not stand for his unpleasant approach and e'actly why his abrasive style creates problems for the company, he listens. =obody has ever told him this at the company these things before, and for the first time the company has an employee that is totally unafraid of doing so. The resultF This particular team leader was slowly changing his ways. (nd he certainly pulls none of his usual attacks on me, who he knows & would simply not stand for it.

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The risk of being fired is the biggest a'e a company or a manager holds over employees heads. &ts a mostly unstated, but well#known fact of working life that if you as an employee get too far out of line, youll be fired. 5r terminatedIa'edIgiven the chop B dont you just love those terms, with their unsubtle flavour of death$ (nd of course we have tacitly accepted that being fired is a terrible thing and should be avoided at all cost, which is why many of us will accept bad, actually appalling conditions at work and otherwise go to e'traordinary lengths to keep our jobs.

Do this, or else
eople who live in fear of being fired tend to! Take crap from management Follow unethical or immoral orders 2tand for bullying or harassment -o along to get along Mask their real personalities 4ide their real opinions (ccept too low or unfair salaries >iss butt (void complaining about any problems they see .anna bet how many people at Enron had a sense that something was wrong long before the company was e'posed, but kept it to themselves out of fear of losing their jobs$ 2o & say its time we take the stigma out of being fired. &f you can rid yourself of that threat )or at least reduce it greatly* then you grant yourself much wider latitude at work. Trust me7 our workplaces will be better and happier for it. "ou say #$m fired like it$s a bad thing (nd when you really think about it, whats so embarrassing about being fired$ 4ere are some of the most common reasons people are fired, and why that doesnt reflect badly on the firedF ersonality mismatch B 2o you didnt fit in at that one company. -uess what, there are millions of others. There might just be one somewhere that is a good match for you. +esides, who says you were the problem$ %kill mismatch B 2o you tried out a job and you didnt have the skills for it. +ig deal. (gain there are millions of other jobs. &efusing to go along B & say good for you. &f thats why you got fired, be proud. Downsi'ing B Thousands of people are downsi!ed every day. (nreasonable B &f you were fired for being pregnant or any other unreasonable e'cuse, then theres certainly no reason to be ashamed. The e'ception is people whore fired for harassing or abusing others or people who are repeatedly fired over the same problems. These people need to take a closer look at themselves6 )ake being fired less of a problem

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5f course being fired can create problems, but you can deal constructively with many of them, and thus reduce or eliminate the conse1uences. 4ere are some typical problems of being fired and how to mitigate them. *conomic uncertainty This must be the biggest problem that results from being fired. 4ow will you pay your bills, your mortgage and your kids college savings etc. etc.$ There are two ways to reduce the financial problems of being fired. /ou can increase your employability and make it easier for you to find a new job. This is a matter of keeping your personal and professional skills up to date and of cultivating a good network. The second way is to keep your private e'penses low, so that youre not C::J dependent on that pay check every month. & love this approach myself. Trouble e+plaining being fired to ne+t employer +ut how will & e'plain to my ne't potential employer that & was fired$ &f you believe that being fired is embarrassing and that it reflects badly on you, then this will come out in your ,H and in your job interviews. +ut if you hold your head up high and e'plain e'actly what happened and why youre not ashamed, then this will help convey the impression that "/eah, you were fired, so what6% 2ome employers will care7 some wont B provided you e'plain it right. Shame Many people feel a deep shame at being fired and at being unemployed. Thus being fired from your last job is typically not something we mention in polite dinner conversation with strangers. +ut why not$ .hy must being fired or being unemployed be so darned embarrassing$ &t doesnt need to be6 /ou decide for yourself whether you need to be ashamed or not6 <ont let others force shame upon you, if you have nothing to be ashamed of. ,oss of relationships For many people, their closest relationships are with people at work and losing them can be painful. The best way to mitigate this is to have many positive relationships outside of work also. (nd of course increasing your employability lets you 1uickly find a new job and new relationships at work. -rap .up 0educe your fear of being fired and you increase your freedom and happiness at work. (t the very least, you can stop being ashamed about something that happens to hundreds of thousands of people every year, is perfectly natural and which may not be your fault at all6 &m not saying that companies should never fire people. 2ome people fit in, some people dont, and companies need to say goodbye to those people who are not contributing or learning. &n fact, for some people, being fired from a job turns out to be a great thing, that allows them to move on to a job where they become much happier.

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The important thing is, that we as employees should put ourselves in a position where being fired is not a terrible thing. That way we rid ourselves of the fear of being fired and grant ourselves new freedoms at work. (re you going to do that, or are you going to spend your work life going along with just about anything, simply to hang on to a job that isnt good for you in the first place$ 5ne of the biggest threats to happiness at work is having too many fi'ed e'penses at home. .hen youre completely dependent on bringing home a pay check )or two6* every single month, youre vulnerable. &f work turns out to be unbearable you cant simply up and leave and take three months without income. &ve chosen low#rent living for myself. (t first it was through accident rather than planning but now & would never live any other way. &t has made me happy at work B and in life. 2ome years ago, my wonderful deceased wife 8otte and & were hunting for a new place to live in >enya. .e were living in a small, one bedroom bungalow right ny the ocean, but miles away from civili!ation and we really longed for more space, more rooms, a bigger kitchen, a larger bathroom etc. 4omes are getting ludicrously e'pensive in >enya not to mention in all European capitals, so we went through a process that is common to many people hunting for a new homeF C .e started looking at places within our budget that we could easily afford. K +ut those places werent really cool so we started looking at more and more e'pensive places @ Lntil wed reached our threshold of pain and were only considering the most e'pensive places we could conceivably afford .e actually submitted bids on two different )e'pensive* homes and narrowly lost out in each case to other bidders. +ack then we were devastated B we really had our minds set on those two places. 8ater were incredibly relieved that it never came through. Lntil my return to the L.>. & still have this small bungalow in >enya which costs me ne't to nothing and looking back & can see how much of an advantage that has been for the both me )as for both of us when my wife was alive*. =ow back in the L.>. & also invested in a small bungalow, low budget and no frills like large gardens, e'tra rooms etc. 5bviously this applies not only to your mortgage or rent but to all fi'ed e'penses. 0entImortgage just happens to be the largest fi'ed e'pense most of us have.

,eaving lots of breathing room in my economy has brought me some huge advantages! /! 0reedom to leave a bad 1ob
.hen a job doesnt make me happy, & can 1uit without worrying about the money. &ve done it four occasions, 8otte twice. &ts not that weve 1uit at the fist sign of trouble B we have always tried to make it work. +ut when weve reali!ed that a

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particular job wasnt going to make us happy, weve had the freedom to say "2ayonara% without first finding a new job.

2! 0reedom to take a chance

&n the L.>. start#up &ve been running the past eight years &ve been able to take some chances and focus more on building a happy, contented life style.

3! 0reedom to do what # en1oy

& can decide to do stuff that lets me learn, meet interesting people or plain have fun but may not make any money here and now. This is a huge boon to me and my work in the long run because it means that &m constantly developing and learning.

4! 0reedom to do what$s right

& can do whats right rather than what makes me more money. & can decide to work for free for a company or person that really needs me, but cant afford me. & can give stuff away if & think people need it. & can set a high ethical standard and not need to worry about having to compromise it for profit.

5! 0reedom to work fewer hours

Theres no pressure on me to work ?:, E: or ;: hours a week. & can if & want to and sometimes & do and if &d rather work K: hours or even less one week7 & can do that. &ve once and for all left the rat race.

6! 0reedom to say no to some customers7companies

2ome customers andIor companies just arent right for my taste. The chemistry is wrong, their needs dont match my solutions or theyre just too much trouble. & have the freedom to say no to some customers and yes to the best customers. (ll of the above really comes down to short#term vs. long#term planning. Economic freedom lets you invest in your future by doing things now that make less money, but will eventually make you more.

8! eace of mind
& spend almost !ero time and energy worrying about money B its just not an issue. & also dont need to worry whether the interest rates go up or down half a point. 5r whether there really is a housing bubble and house prices are about to start falling. Thats a huge relief and gives me more time and energy for some work and life.

9! 0ocus on what really matters

.hen &m not concerned with a bigger home, bigger car or bigger TH & focus on what really matters. My colleagues, associates, music, writing, networking, learning, reading, TH etcG & waste no time keeping up with the Aoneses.


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:! %imple living
8iving in a small bungalow has taught me to own only the things & really need. &ve been getting really good at throwing or giving away clothes, linens, kitchenware, furniture, knick#knacks etc. that & dont use regularly. (nd this is a huge relief because & can form a huge attachment to the things & own and paring them down to only the things & really need teaches one to let go of that. Theres a mental relief and freedom that comes from that. 8ess stuff in your home M less stuff on your mind. This was the same principle when my wife was alive.

/;! )ore money for fun stuff

.hen less money goes into the stuff & own, theres more money for the stuff & do. 8ike music, travelling and more.

# want to make two things very clear!

1: This is not about being un#ambitious at work or setting work goals. & can assure you that my aspirations are as big as the ne't persons. &ts about reali!ing that economic wiggle room frees you to do things and take chances that lead to more happiness and therefore to great results in your work life and your private life. 2: &m not knocking anybody elses lifestyle and financial decisions. This is simply an observation of something that & discovered mostly by accident but which works incredibly well for me. Maybe you would be terribly miserable living in a small apartment or bungalow instead of a huge house or mansion. . +ut & know that many people feel trapped in jobs they dont like because their financial situation is precarious and leaves them no wiggle room. &f thats the case for you maybe you should consider trying the low#rent life and granting yourself some financial freedom. &ts a huge step towards more happiness at work and in life. The cult of overwork is the prevailing belief that the more hours people work, the better for the company. That notion is not only harmful, it is dead wrong. .hen demand for a product is down, normally a company fires some people and makes the rest work twice as hard. 2o we put it to a vote of everyone in the plant. +ack in the ;:s & worked for an (ustrianI-erman ,ompany where the management asked its employees what they wanted to doF layoffs for some workers or thirty#two#hour workweeks for everyone. They )the employees thought about it and decided theyd rather hold the team together. 2o we went down to a thirty#two#hour#a#week schedule for everyone furring a down time. .e took everybodys hours and salary down B e'ecutives too.

# discovered two surprises.


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First, productivity did not decline. .ould you believe it that the company got as much out of the employees at thirty#two hours as they did at forty$ 2o its not a bad business decision. +ut second, when economic conditions improved, they offered the employees one hundred percent time again. .hen this happened7 =o one wanted to go back6 =ever in the wildest dreams would the managers have designed a four#day week. +ut its endured at the insistence of our employees. &nteresting, huh$ They cut back work#hours but production remains the same.


To Be


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