dog-pack.jpgI traveled this past weekend to Mystic, CT, to meet my best buddy for some alone time together. Basically we checked out the local haunts, stayed up really late and did whatever we felt like doing. (Something two moms with kids rarely do.)

Since I’m never off the clock, I had my trusty reporter’s notebook with me and interviewed just about everyone we met — people in bars, store owners, waiters and waitresses.

As you might expect, we met a lot of people who had recently lost their jobs.

One guy, we called “Nice Kevin” because he was really sweet, had just lost a plum job at Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company. Despite his bad luck, he was out with his friends at the Harp and Hound Pub having a good time and trying to look on the bright side. No matter what, he had his friends and he’d be able to weather unemployment.

We also met “Beatbox Bob” at BravoBravo restaurant. He was a 71 year old man who recently lost his job at a small business. We called him “Beatbox” because he made percussion sounds with his mouth; something you wouldn’t expect from an old guy.

Here’s a great example of beatboxing just in case you’ve never heard it:

Bob needed to work, even though he was past the standard retirement age, and was pretty bummed out he lost his gig. But he was out at a local bar, by himself, talking with and entertaining the bartenders and patrons. (OK, I sang some songs with Bob as well.) Based on the staff’s familiarity with Bob, he probably spent a lot of time there.

At a time when so many people are losing their jobs, and there are more stories out there about unemployed folks losing it and taking it out on their families, we need to focus on finding ways to let off steam and make ourselves feel better. I’m not saying unemployment causes people do commit crimes. I don’t buy that. But there are studies that suggest people can get hotter under the collar during times of joblessness.

This from a story:

Several studies have found that suicides as well as domestic violence spike for the unemployed. While family murder-suicides are relatively uncommon, such events can be tied to poor economic situations such as the current recession, said Sampson Blair, a sociologist at University of Buffalo.

“I expect an increase in such incidents over the next few years because economic strain on families provokes depression and desperation,” Blair said.

A good way to counteract such desperation, many psychology experts say, is camaraderie. You’ve lost the intense workplace camaraderie you had and it’s important to try and replace it pronto.

“Often going out with friends is a great antidote to the type of loss like the loss of a job, particularly if those friends are supportive, and/or they have been through a similar experience,” says Jason Greenberg, a psychologist from New York.

But, he adds, “I could imagine scenarios where going out with friends would not be ideal, especially if they are work friends and did not lose their job, that could get tricky. It depends on what they receive from the camaraderie they find once they’re out of a job. Do they feel connected to others or more alienated? Supported or further beaten down?”

So, basically, you have to find a dog pack that works for you, one that you feel comfortable with. And I’m not talking about cyber networking here folks. You need to get out and actually be with people real time.

And it doesn’t have to necessarily be a pack.

My friend Mary and I can pull each other out of a slump pretty quickly, and we’ve always been able to do that ever since we met when we were around 15.

There is something about a person that knows you better than you know yourself to kick your butt out of self pity.

Do you have a friend, or pack that helps you?

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