OK ladies. The pity party is over. Yes, I am well aware of this fast sinking economy, foreclosure landslide and job eliminations. I hear about it from many people, see it on every news channel, read it in every paper and magazine I encounter. I’m only 39, but haven’t we been here before? I’m pretty sure we have been, and this won’t be the last time. I too have been affected by this crisis and I’m as mad as anyone else. But I’ve decided to rise above it and take care of myself in the process. I know I will be better than OK when this is all over.

I come from a family that values long term dedication to one job, one company. The entrepreneurial bug skipped a generation obviously. I was told that my grandparents were entrepreneurial. They had to be because of the times they lived in. But my parents come from that 25+ years of service retiring with a gold watch line of thinking. But that ain’t me! Employer loyalty flew out the window a long time ago. Companies are giving people the axe left and right. Thankfully this generation is full of free spirits and entrepreneurs who look at this crisis as opportunity and not as disaster. That is who I am. I don’t wait for opportunities to find me. I evaluate the situation and start planning as soon in the game as possible. I don’t let someone’s decisions dictate my future or my fate. That mindset will get me through this crisis. And it will help you too.

There are tons of people flooding the job market through no fault of their own. We have crooked Wall Streeters and Government to thank for that. People who were secure in their cushy jobs with their plush bonuses thought the world was fabulous. But when the rug was pulled out from under them, they found themselves in tough situations they had not prepared for. Now, those who were living check to check or barely getting by were affected too. The only difference is they were used to being without. Naturally there is a huge panic (spurred on by the media no doubt) that the world is going broke and that we’ll all be on the soup line soon. Comfortable people are terrified to death. The budget conscious are cautiously guarded. So where does everyone go from here?

Well first of all, the pity party needs to end now. Stop listening to the news and the pundits. You can survive this. You should be writing down your goals, reviewing your skills and accomplishments, surveying the job market, and reaching out to contacts. There are opportunities out there, believe it or not, but they are not going to find you. You have to go out and find them or better yet create them. Anger, sadness, bitterness are all understandable emotions. You should be all of those. But don’t let them keep you in bed under the covers. You get one week maximum for that. Use those emotions to fuel your next move. Think about your idol or role model. What would they do in this instance? Once you’ve figured that out, take on that mindset yourself. Don’t let this economy fool you into believing that there are no opportunities out there. We live in the internet and information age. You can make money, start a new career and start a business with little or no money. We are a capitalist society. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. You can control your fate and keep from crashing.

Once you’ve taken inventory on what you can and like to do, and what’s available, start going for what you want. Talk to people. Tap into your network and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Listen to what people are telling you but take it with a grain of salt. If anyone wants to speak negativity in the air, cut ties with them. Now is the time for positivity and support. Align yourself with power players. If you dig deep into your network, I’m sure you can find some. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all need help from time to time. Don’t let your pride or fear keep you from reaching your goals. If you’re not comfortable starting a full time business, try it as a side gig. Go to the SBA and get a mentor to guide you through start up. Once you’re comfortable going out on your own, don’t ever look back. You can take your skills, experience and contacts, and turn that into a business. But be sure you are up to the challenge of running a business. Not everyone is meant to have a business. It takes a passion and dedication to start and maintain a business. If you don’t have what it takes, don’t try it. But be honest with yourself.

If starting a business isn’t your thing, start planning your next career move. There is no law that says you have to be married to one career for all of your adult life. Start looking at how your skills transfer to another industry or career. Don’t be afraid to seek a career coach to help you put it all in perspective. I would take those career personality tests with a grain of salt. You know what your likes and dislikes are. Trust in that and stay true to your heart. Career Coaches are great allies, but be sure they are guiding you and not telling you what to do with your life. Anyone trying to push you into something doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Again, reach out to your network. Set up meetings with trusted individuals and ask about their industry and company. Research as much as you can. Ask to shadow someone to see if you would even like the new career. Look at the good and the bad. There is a very real chance that you’ll have to start from the bottom up. You must be willing to do what it takes to succeed. You have to take it all into consideration when making your decisions. Whatever you do, stick to your guns. If a new career is what you want, then go get it because it’s yours to have.

It’s easy to crawl up in bed and cry about the state of the world. But you have to decide if you want to be a part of the recovery or a victim. I choose to be part of the recovery. You learn more about yourself when you go through tough times. Money can be made, lost and made again. Don’t think of your life in terms of your paycheck or even title. Think about it as a wonderful adventure, an opportunity to learn what you’re made of. If life was meant to be easy, none of us would ever have to make decisions or think for ourselves. I say bring on the tough times because I’m prepared to beat them. Are you?

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham