Mick Kubiak on the emotional impact of joblessness

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Mick Kubiak. Photo – Angus Ross

WorkingNation is proud to introduce our featured writer for September, Mick Kubiak, a Los Angeles-based Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She is the founder of Bernard & Kubiak Family Coaching and a mother.

Kubiak specializes in counseling parents who have children dealing with mental health issues. Kubiak is a life coach who teaches meditation and meditative awareness as part of her private practice and through the Evenflow app.

Her first article on getting beyond the emotional devastation which comes with unemployment will run September 4. Kubiak chatted with WorkingNation over email about her work and what readers can expect to read this month.

WorkingNation: What interests you about our mission?

Mick Kubiak: Sigmund Freud himself said, “Love and Work…Work and Love…That’s all there is.” Work is half the raw material we humans are working with in our efforts to participate in a life worth living. What happens with work, both personally and globally, has a tremendous impact on who we are and how we see ourselves in the world.

WN: What message do you want to share with our audience?

MK: I want to share the message that we are often trapped, not by our circumstances, but by how we think about our circumstances, which influences how we feel and the choices we make in life. Sometimes all we need is a slight shift in how we see things to transform our situation from a crisis into an opportunity.

WN: Your articles touch on the emotional catastrophes that can come with unemployment. Why is work so intrinsically tied to our emotional state, and why does it feel like a death when it is gone?

MK: Most of us find our place in the world–our status in the community, our identity, our way of paying for the life we have and the life we want–through work. When we lose that anchor, it is as if the rug that we didn’t know was a rug because we thought it was solid ground, just got pulled out from under us. Half or more than half of how we identified ourselves in the world is suddenly gone. It is the death of the self that we used to be. We thought it was permanent but it wasn’t.

WN: In one upcoming piece, you give great advice about separating one’s work with one’s purpose. How is reclaiming or better yet, reinventing, one’s identity central to restoring confidence?

MK: I think the first step is to get some perspective. Our psyches are vast places and we harbor many feeling states, some of which come and go with ease, and others which linger or haunt. Part of meditative awareness is being able to see this bigger picture in which you have a choice about what it looks like. Just like your house or your yard, you get to decide who and what goes inside and who and what stays outside.

WN: You also talk about the crippling shame that comes with unemployment. Shame is the first level of a downward spiral that can lead to depression or worse. You argue that it is a feeling, something that is ephemeral as bliss and is a state of mind. What are some tactics our audience can use to move on?

MK: Emotions passing through are messengers. Try to understand the message of the emotion and then let it go, because once you get the message, you don’t need the messenger hanging around. Move it out. Don’t let the mailman take up residence on your porch!

WN: As a family therapist, have you seen in your experience how unemployment affects the family dynamic? What are the stages that families go through to cope and come out stronger together or break apart?

MK: Families that prioritize their family bond do well no matter what happens to them. It seems to be about having a strong sense of loyalty, warmth, and protectiveness for one another regardless of circumstances. A general feeling of goodwill. In terms of the aforementioned Freud quote, even when the Work side of the equation gets out of whack, the Love side stays strong. That’s the secret.

Connect with Mick via email or by setting an appointment through 310-593-4216. Download the Evenflow app for Mick’s meditation training.

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