Advice and Insights from Mainstreet, by Tell Your Story participants

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“Most people feel the system is out of whack. To get into place today, it seems knowing the right people and networking is vital. Competition for jobs is fierce. I would tell people to never give up and never settle. Life is too short to be depressed about an economic crisis.”

******

“It’s all about your attitude. If you have a good attitude, it will take you far; but if you have a bad attitude it will take you just as far the other way. I know, I’ve had bad attitudes within this stretch. I try to keep it positive as much as I can. But you can’t do it all the time.”

******

“My general comment would be for people to not give up. It’s so easy to just sink into depression, but if you just get up every morning and just come determined, and have courage, then it will eventually work out. Just live day by day and have courage.”

******

“One way I try to look at this is, What can I learn? What kind of lessons can I have come from this? What’s good about this? What’s the benefit? Can I look at it from that perspective? Otherwise you’re just gonna be frustrated, be angry. ..And then you’re miserable. I mean, I’m unemployed, but that doesn’t mean I’m miserable.”

******

“When you first get unemployed it has a social pariah attached to it. So people tend to withdraw and not tell anybody, they try to mask the fact that they’re unemployed. But that’s the exact wrong strategy that they should be pursuing. The right course of action is to let everybody you know, know that you’re unemployed because they all understand that. A lot of people are well-meaning and they’ll try to hook you up with jobs that don’t match your qualifications or interests, but they do get the word out.”

******

“I think in a sense that there is a higher power, and that I can look at the bigger picture and this is just a circumstance. This is not who I am, it’s just a circumstance of my life, and separating the two is important because sometimes you start to identify with being unemployed and labeling yourself: you know, ‘I’m unemployed, there’s something wrong with me, the world is against me.’…But if you say, ok, this is a circumstance, this will pass, what can I do to change it… Otherwise, you lose control and you can think…’I’m a victim’, your power’s gone. And when you give up your personal power, then there’s no more options.”

******

“It’s just real. It’s not positive, it’s not negative, it just sort of is. You just have to go with it and keep going.”

These statements are from people who shared their voices for the 2010 -2012 Tell Your Story project in Colorado Springs. Interviewers included Lindsey Raymond, Ivy Tyson, Christopher Hollander, Julie Weinheimer, Matthew Shell, John Palka, Rebecca Cornell, Rebekka Grainer, Sabrina Flugrath, along with 10 additional TYS team researchers.

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