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:
- The Slippery Slope That Isn't
- "If we promote you, we'll have to promote all of them, too." This "slippery-slope"
tactic for winning debates works by exploiting our fears. Another in a series about rhetorical tricks
that push our buttons.
- Stay in Your Own Hula Hoop
- Do you tend to commit to too many tasks? Are you one who spends too much energy meeting the needs of
others — so much that your own needs go unmet? Here's how a hula-hoop can help.
- When You Need a Lift
- When we depend on praise, positive support or consumption to feel good, we're giving other people or
things power over us. Finding within ourselves whatever we need to feel good about ourselves is one
path to autonomy and freedom.
- Hurtful Clichés: I
- Much of our day-to-day conversation consists of harmless clichés: "How goes it?" or
"Nice to meet you." Some other clichés aren't harmless, but they're so common that
we use them without thinking. Maybe it's time for some thought.
- Scope Creep, Hot Hands, and the Illusion of Control
- Despite our awareness of scope creep's dangerous effects on projects and other efforts, we seem unable
to prevent it. Two cognitive biases — the "hot hand fallacy" and "the illusion
of control" — might provide explanations.
See also Emotions at Work for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming February 27: Brainstorming and Speedstorming: II
- Recent research into the effectiveness of brainstorming has raised some questions. Motivated to examine alternatives, I ran into speedstorming. Here's Part II of an exploration of the properties of speedstorming. Available here and by RSS on February 27.
- And on March 6: A Pain Scale for Meetings
- Most meetings could be shorter, less frequent, and more productive than they are. Part of the problem is that we don't realize how much we do to get in our own way. If we track the incidents of dysfunctional activity, we can use the data to spot trends and take corrective action. Available here and by RSS on March 6.
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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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