A Wild Current

Illustrations by Sarah McMenemy
“I’m surrounded by people, but there’s no one I can open up to and share my troubles with… I wish someone could give me the answers I need.”

If this sounds like something you’d say, ask our M.o.M. Suh Yoon! Email us at ask@yoooon.com. We’ll publish the best questions with Suh Yoon’s answers here in YooooN magazine.

 

Q: I have a Ph.D. in engineering and have been working as a developer for 3 years with a large software manufacturer. I am relatively satisfied with my job. The work is interesting, my compensation is among the best in the industry, and the atmosphere is fairly relaxed. I get along well with my coworkers; my manager expects me to take his place eventually and my teammates and I are usually in accord.

I was chosen to work on an important project at the end of last year. I’ve been focusing on it for 6 months and am now in the final stages. My personal life is also comfortable; I got married last year and bought a house I like. My wife is expecting in a few months. I thought my life was stable and carefree.

That is, until recently. My company was suddenly acquired by another firm a few months ago. My swifter friends anticipated that the company would move. But I was immersed in my project and didn’t even realize what was happening. I worried that with the company in disorder and people moving, my work on the project might not be recognized, but I tried to assuage my own fears. “It will be okay. The papers said there wouldn’t be any reorganization. Nothing will happen as long as I keep doing my job well.”

But the atmosphere at the company now feels rather strange. A person from our new headquarters was sent about a month ago to become the president. I keep seeing strangers in the elevator. Last week, my immediate supervisor Jay was suddenly laid off. Jay was of the same generation as myself, and I began to feel uneasy.

When I went to the canteen yesterday, people were murmuring: saying that downsizing of 30% had already been approved and that executives had started to quit last week. Someone said his entire department would disappear, that everyone would have to go home.

Someone else claimed a headhunter told her there were too many people from our company in the job market and that it would be hard to take a new job at the moment.

These stories were terrifying. What if my entire department is laid off? I’ll be unemployed! It seems it will be difficult to get a new job in this atmosphere. How can I pay my mortgage next month without a job? I might have to sell my house for whatever I can get for it or take out huge loans. These sudden changes make me fearful and gloomy about the future.

-Ian from North Carolina

 

A: People typically experience 7-8 major changes and 49-51 minor changes throughout their lives. Depending on how you react at these times, you may encounter miraculous good fortune or an unimaginable downfall.

When surrounded by change, most people don’t know where they’re headed and feel frightened. These emotions can lead you in the wrong direction and push away good fortune.

If you, like the writer, are dealing with unpredicted changes, try to see them from the following viewpoint:

“These changes will unquestionably be beneficial for me. They have created a better situation for me. What I’m enduring now is a chance for me to become better.”

A viewpoint means a particular way of seeing the world with a certain attitude or desire. It’s not the same as a thought, which floats vaguely in your consciousness.

Once you’ve established the view that changes are beneficial, gather proof of it. It would be a good idea to use a Luck Diary (see Ask Suh Yoon, Issue 2) in which you record proof of good fortune each day to bring you better luck. It doesn’t matter how slight the evidence is. You only need to check that it is leading you toward good fortune.

“I happened to connect with a friend from university on LinkedIn today. He works for a company I’m interested in. What have I got to lose? I’ll send him a message to see if there’s a job available.”

“My mortgage rate has dropped 0.03%. My financial luck keeps getting better! I’ll be able to repay my debt and won’t default.”

It’s natural to feel fear or anxiety during this process. Try to put those feelings aside at times like this. If you hold onto the viewpoint that “change means opportunity”, your negative emotions may fly up like spray from the water, but will just as naturally subside.

If you’re in caught in the middle of a big wave, don’t try to control it, feel anxious, or change it. Stick to your viewpoint and focus on small movements that match it, and you will ride the wave of good fortune and reach a better place before you know it.

Suh Yoon's Quotes

“If you hold onto the viewpoint that “change means opportunity”, your negative emotions may fly up like spray from the water, but will just as naturally subside.”

“If you’re in caught in the middle of a big wave, don’t try to control it, feel anxious, or change it. Stick to your viewpoint and focus on small movements that match it, and you will ride the wave of good fortune and reach a better place before you know it.”