I have three friends who are chronically chirpy, meaning they never seem to be in a fussy mood or have a crabby day. Being around them is like basking in a warm sun, and I appreciate them … when I want to bask. The rest of us live somewhere between "Good morning, God!" and "Good God it's morning." Nothing against my sweet friends, but I'm not sure I want them around when I've had yet another bad night and can't imagine how I will make it through the day. In my experience excessively cheerful people are uncomfortable around those of us with troubles. They want to fix us and seem to assume that we haven't been working on whatever it is that has derailed us. There's nothing like a list of recommendations you've already tried to cheer you up.
There's a web site that I've already included, but this topic kept coming back to me: useless advice for the laid-off. (I sincerely hope that any information I share doesn't contribute to someone's pain!) The author of the site believes that the person who wrote this stuff had to be currently employed. Sure, I want advice about my frequent bad nights and the resulting trashed days from someone who rarely experiences that. What would I appreciate? First, assume that I've tried lots of remedies, and second, give me a hug. Most of us with serious problems want our distress to be acknowledged first. Then we can explore possible solutions.
I'll list the topics here, and if one appeals to you, go to http://shine.yahoo.com/work-money/useless-advice-for-the-laid-off-400822.html and check out the site he mentions.
1. Just get over it approach "If you're laid off, you'll need to overcome the initial shock and demoralization and move on quickly and confidently."
2. The laughingly unrealistic "Do things that will get you to be recognized as a world leader in the field you want to be in."
3. The glaringly obvious "Review your financial situation. You may have set aside what seemed like a reasonable amount for a rainy day, but if your unemployment goes beyond a month or two, you may need to make some lifestyle adjustments." (Add a big "DUH" here)
4. The out of touch "If your feelings of anger, sadness or helplessness persist beyond a few weeks, consider getting short-term therapy for depression."
5. The outright dangerous This needs some explaining. The offending site offers this: "You need to get your mind off losing your job and get out of the house and meet people. If you're single, there's no better way than dating." Yes, like you're going to make good decisions about new relationships when you're feeling sad, angry, and depressed.
6. The wishful thinker "Now is the time to pick up a hobby you've always wanted to do but never had time for. Diddit is a relatively new social network for finding people who are doing the things you want to do. Use it to learn more or just find partners to go skydiving with." (Hmmm. This is uncomfortably akin to my suggestion that you consider where you might want to work that is different from your previous profession. I hope this wasn't wishful thinking. Well, if it is wishful thinking for you, ignore that piece of advice.)
7. More from the Pick-Yourself-Up-by -the-Bootstraps Useless Bucket "But don't let your layoff get you down. Be sure to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. Stick to a regular exercise program. Get involved in outdoor sports. You need to look sharp when you go to job interviews."
8. The Too-Little-Too-Late "Take a few minutes to connect with everyone before you leave the premises. Get everyone's contact information and future plans. You never know if you might need them."
9. More Don't-Be-a-Freakin'-Wuss "Don't be a victim. Don't whine. Don't let people whine to you. Get busy on the next phase of your life."
10. The Golden Opportunity "This is the time that you can spend Organizing Your Life! Remember when you said to your friend, 'One of these days I am going to get everything in my house organized.' Well, today is the day to start!" I have to include this commentary from the author of the "Useless" website: "I'm not a violent person. But I'd like to slap silly whoever wrote this. Especially for the exclamation marks."
11. The I'd-Rather-Beat-My-Head-Against-a-Wall "See if you can keep coming into the office. " Riiiiiiight!
When someone with good intentions offers you any of the above advice, just smile and say "Thanks." Or you can set them straight.