Friday, October 9, 2009

Debunking Myths About Being Out of Work...

Yesterday, as I was running out of the Marriott Hotel to catch my plane, I picked up a F*R*E*E* copy of USA Today.

On the front page of the business section, I saw this headline: Being unemployed 6 months or more grinds on you --

Well, of course it does. It's very disheartening to look and look and look and not be able to find a job. It can be debilitating to the self-esteem and devastating to finances.

So, it certainly doesn't help when one runs into a kind of conventional wisdom that worsens the situation. Consider this quote from the article...

"The rub: the longer someone is out of work, the more likely he or she will continue to be. Skills erode: gaps on resumes widen."

Rubbish. Once you have developed a skill, you'll always have it. Sure, you may get rusty over time if you don't use the skill, but it will always be a part of you and you can always get it back. It's like riding a bike. You'll never forget how. So, please don't buy into the "belief" that if you are out of work and not using a particular skill, it will "erode."

This is especially true for stay-at-home moms. Just because you haven't used a skill in 10 years doesn't mean that it's gone. Look at Meryl Streep. How long was she away from the screen when she was raising her children? 10 years? More? And, when she came back to film, had her skill diminished? No. She is just as fabulous today in "Julie and Julia" as she was in "Sophie's Choice." No diminishment of her acting skill.

So, let's us -- you and me -- just dismiss that misplaced conventional wisdom that if you don't use a skill, it will erode. I call such "accepted wisdom" nothing more than "educated myths," which operate as "unexamined beliefs" with most people accepting them as true on face value. Please don't do that to yourself. It's hard enough to keep your spirits up when you are looking for a job. Please don't accept "educated myths" for yourself. You have the power to examine the underlying assumptions and to dismiss them. Think for yourself.

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