When bad things happen, we tend to forget to look for the bright side. One technique for finding new perspectives is reframing. In reframing bad news, you try to find alternate ways to view what has happened so as to bring out the good.
Take being laid off. We often see only the dark side, especially during the holidays. Not minimizing the dark side, here are some reasons to be thankful when you get a layoff notice.
- Don't have to worry about being laid off anymore
- Looking for a new job is a full-time job — it's easier to find time for it now
- Every day is casual day — not just business casual — really casual.
- Collect unemployment without guilt
- Run errands when there's no traffic on the roads
- No longer have to deal with your old boss
- No time sheets
- One good thing about
being laid off: you no longer
have to worry about
being laid offSave 35 cents on Tabasco sauce by clipping coupons
- Home at a decent hour all the time every time
- Don't have to listen to traffic reports
- Traffic reports now seem hysterically funny
- Gives you the insight you need to support friends in the same spot in the future
- Lower income taxes
- All your books are now in the same place
- No more email from Security about new parking restrictions
- Eating much less takeout
- Cooking real food, then eating it sitting down
- Afternoon movies
- New job bound to be better than old job
- More time with the kids
- Reading for fun
- Sitting down to dinner as a family much more often
- Dry cleaning bills zeroed out
- Got accrued vacation in cash
- No longer have to deal with survivor guilt
- Don't have to wear a badge any more
- Can use the health club in mid-afternoon when there are no lines
- Can actually use the health club
- Get to the produce department before the produce gets picked over
- No more cellular leash
- Read more things like this
- Finally see the Grand Canyon
- No more bags of liquefied lettuce in fridge because of unanticipated three-week trips to the Far East
- Vacation whenever
- Network for yourself instead of your employer
- Can always use the same bathroom
- No traveling to exotic places and seeing nothing but the hotel
- Catch up with friends
- Browse in bookstores
- Biking, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, climbing
- No more working dinners at 9pm
- Save big bucks on day care
- No worries about what to do with the kids on snow days
- Less wear and tear on expensive clothes
- Low-mileage discount on car insurance
- Jacqueline Suzanne and PDQ Bach
- While sending out resumes, get interrupted by your four-year-old with urgent drawing of moon
- Rediscover your spouse
- Two words: the package
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The health effects of a positive outlook have been suspected for some time, and research in the area is expanding the evidence. Two examples available on the Web are:
- Toshihiko Maruta, MD; Robert C. Colligan, PhD; Michael Malinchoc, MS; and Kenneth P. Offord, MS. "Optimists vs Pessimists: Survival Rate Among Medical Patients Over a 30-Year Period." Mayo Clinic Proc. 2000;75:140-143. More
- Laura D. Kubzansky, David Sparrow, Pantel Vokonas, and Ichiro Kawachi. "Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full? A Prospective Study of Optimism and Coronary Heart Disease in the Normative Aging Study." Psychosom. Med. 2001 63: 910-916. More (search for Kubzansky)
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More articles on Emotions at Work:
- Never, Ever, Kill the Messenger
- If you're a manager in a project-oriented organization, you need to know the full, unvarnished Truth.
When you kill a messenger, you deliver a message of your own: Tell me the Truth at your peril. Killing
messengers has such predictable results that you have to question any report you receive — good
news or bad.
- Are You Micromanaging Yourself?
- Feeling distrusted and undervalued, we often attribute the problem to the behavior of others —
to the micromanager who might be mistreating us. We tend not to examine our own contributions to the
difficulty. Are you micromanaging yourself?
- The Focusing Illusion in Organizations
- The judgments we make at work, like the judgments we make elsewhere in life, are subject to human fallibility
in the form of cognitive biases. One of these is the Focusing Illusion. Here are some examples to watch for.
- Toxic Conflict in Virtual Teams: Virtuality
- In virtual teams, toxic conflict sometimes seems to erupt spontaneously. People who function effectively
in co-located teams can find themselves repeatedly embroiled in conflicts that seem to lack specific
causes. What triggers toxic conflict in virtual teams?
- Why Scope Expands: II
- The scope of an effort underway tends to expand over time. Why do scopes not contract just as often?
One cause might be cognitive biases that make us more receptive to expansion than contraction.
See also Emotions at Work for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming December 19: Embarrassment, Shame, and Guilt at Work: Creation
- Three feelings are often confused with each other: embarrassment, shame, and guilt. To understand how to cope with these feelings, begin by understanding what different kinds of situations we use when we create these feelings. Available here and by RSS on December 19.
- And on December 26: Embarrassment, Shame, and Guilt at Work: Coping
- Coping effectively with feelings of embarrassment, shame, or guilt is the path to recovering a sense of balance that's the foundation of clear thinking. And thinking clearly at work is important if you want to avoid feeling embarrassment, shame, or guilt. Available here and by RSS on December 26.
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- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
- Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.
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