Work, Change, Pride

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picture-131Having to face the strain and fill time in between jobs has, for many, become a matter of survival. On this topic, Charles Darwin had this to say, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” A recent series of articles in the Boston Globe, Anything, Anywhere, Anytime, illustrates that even now, Darwin’s observation is more than opportune.

While you may not be thrilled at being a victim of the last round of layoffs at the advertising firm, your ability to adapt to your new circumstances is crucial to sustaining yourself in this economy. “From Lemons to Lemonade: How to Make the Most of Getting Fired,” suggests you push your pride issues aside and offers advice from career coaches on how to proceed after you’re done being angry, embarrassed and sleep-deprived. One coach suggests you make a schedule, get out of the house, and “be curious.” She also suggests taking a job you’d never have seen yourself doing. Whether you collect bills or swing hammers, you may have the free time and mental space to work on your own creative projects and remind yourself, “You are who you are, not what you do.”

The need for change has also given rise to objectives both entrepreneurial and humanitarian as per “Degree of Uncertainty.” Two Harvard MBA students, presented among various profiles, are in “launch mode” believing it’s a good time to start a digital media company. The article showcases a group of self-starters who while having invested time and money in advanced degrees, like good Darwinians, are adapting to change not only on a personal level, but on a larger scale, by carving out their own sharp paths in new areas like clean energy and non-profits rather than at fading white shoe firms.

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Then there’s the odd and otherworldly group who have managed to ride out the downturn doing just what they love, and have always loved, to do. In “Safe and (Sort of) Secure,” a woman escapes stress by speaking other languages, and helps others navigate Boston’s medical system. A “Generalist,” from Dorchester specializing in home improvement continues to make his living in “trim, finish, carpentry,” and “cabinetry,” even though construction is one of the hardest hit industries in this economy. And a gamer, who created his first video game at the age of eight, is now a lead designer at a gaming company, which exhibits not only that gaming is a fast-growing industry, but that following your passion, rather than your purse, can result in both staying power and satisfaction. Or one can follow the lead of comedian Amy Poehler who fills her free time in between jobs, “Learning how to print my own money.”


Rozalia Jovanovic is a founding editor of Gigantic, a magazine of short prose and art. She is the Deputy Editor of Flavorpill and has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and Columbia University. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming from Unsaid, The Believer, Everyday Genius, Guernica, elimae, and Esquire.com. She blogs at The Astonishing Egg and is The Rumpus New York Editor. More from this author →