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Optimum Talks Blog

Transition – No Laughing Matter?

by Margaret Maich

Remember the executive ‘tribe’ I wrote about in my last blog? I’ve been thinking more about what makes that concept work and what moves it from the equivalent of a support group for a bad break-up, to something special, unique and highly effective. One of the things that I keep coming back to is the importance of humour and having fun.

I know, I know, getting the heave-ho out of an organization that you’ve been with for some time, maybe even a long time, and where you’ve been a person of some significance and stature, is hardly amusing. Similarly, being unemployed and having to look for a job rarely makes anyone’s top five ‘fun things to do’ list, but bear with me a minute.

I’m referring to a positive attitude, a ‘growth’ mindset, and all of those other good things, but I’m also talking about the liberating power of actually laughing; laughing with others, laughing at ourselves, laughing at the foibles of human nature and the ridiculous situations we can find ourselves in through a career transition.

Job search is serious business and no one knows that better than I do.  But the ability to find the humour in a situation that is inherently not funny does a great deal of good!

So often through laughing I have seen executives relax, listen better and really start to learn the key lessons of conducting an outstanding job search. I’ve seen them learn to laugh at themselves and share embarrassing moments – and help others learn, grow and keep it all in perspective.

Coming back to the ‘tribe’ concept, it is much easier to take suggestions, advice and counsel around the serious business of finding another job from people that you’ve shared a laugh with. More often than you’d believe, I’ve heard executives say, “the best part of this awful experience was knowing that it would make a great story to bring back and share with all of you”.

I firmly believe that we learn better, more quickly, and in a more sustainable way when we’re enjoying ourselves – even a little. I also firmly believe that we do a better job of connecting, networking, interviewing and ultimately finding that next job when we’re able to keep it in perspective and continue to find the humour in the world around us.

Much bigger brains than mine confirm this. Carlos Davidovich, our exceptional neuromanagement expert, says that “Positivism” allows us to take greater advantage of our intelligence, creativity and energy. Not only that, but it releases into our brain the powerful neurotransmitter, dopamine, that has been proven to turn on the learning centres in our brain that allow us to work harder, be faster and work more intelligently.

Now, I ask you, who wouldn’t benefit from that during a period of transition and job search?

And the best part? This works even if we’re just ‘pretending’ We are taking the phrase ‘fake it ’til you make it’ to a whole new level!

Let’s keep laughing – especially at ourselves!