Although I was safely sitting in my office at Emory University in Atlanta the morning of 9/11/01, when a student from NYC came in, looking stricken, and asked to reschedule her appointment because a plane had struck the towers and she was worried about her friends, I felt transported right back to my Wall Street office that overlooked those beautiful towers. All I could think about were my friends and former colleagues in NYC.
One friend worked in the towers. I had attended her wedding weeks earlier. One friend had just started dating someone who worked in the towers. I thought of a childhood friend’s father. I knew that many former Wall Street colleagues worked across the street from the towers, or in connected buildings. Having lived in NYC and having worked in that neighborhood, I felt personally connected to the tragedy. It was a connection none of my Atlanta colleagues shared.
I raced home. Should I make calls? What if no one answered? For more distant friends, would I be bothering them when they’d want to be connecting with family and closer friends? Heart racing, I was so fortunate to reach everyone I could think of or their friends. They were alive. Their stories? Running. Losing shoes. Many of their friends were not as lucky.
Sadly, many of us rely on a horrible, defining moment in our lives – a catastrophic event, a death, an accident – to re-focus on what is important and real.
If you’re in the midst of a job hunt and/or out of work, you may be focusing all of your energies and efforts every day on getting a job. The stress of sending resumes and not getting replies. Preparing for interviews. Writing letters. All of these tasks can easily mask the big picture of what is most important in your life.
While I would never want to suggest that the stress of the job hunt isn’t real and difficult, it is useful and important to stop and to take a step back from the process…Focus on the things that you ARE fortunate to have. Take a break from your job hunt to slow down and re-evaluate. Re-assess your plans and refocus your energies.
Whether it is slowing down for the long term or just sitting down for a minute…Being grateful for the here and now is a lesson to re-learn everyday.