Psychology

Shopping the Blues away



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"Shopping the Blues away"
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A diversion like shopping does drive the blues away. Let me give you a true example of how it works.

I was at a conference in San Francisco, when my Pittsburgh boss phoned me. I had just had a shower so I was dripping wet at the phone and not really ready for business. However, the voice on the phone was my boss.

He said, "Take down this list of names" and I fumbled to find a note pad and a ball-pen getting everything wet along the way.

"These are all people at the conference there. Find them this morning and tell them that they are all fired and that they have two week's notice. We didn't get the construction contract." He had transferred the job of firing a dozen employees to me instead of phoning each one and letting them down gently.

I said, "But these are good people and some of them work for me. Why would you let them go and anyway what about me?"

He replied quite without emotion, "Oh yes, you're on the list too."

That was his idea of communicating sympathetically with an employee.

I spent the morning going from conference room to conference room finding the people on the list, sitting down with them, explaining to each that the company had not won the contract so that the company couldn't afford to keep them. They had two weeks to give them time to get another position. I also said that it was fortunate that they were at the conference since they could make contacts immediately to find work.

It was not a pleasant morning for me. It's never nice to sack someone but doing it to so many one after another was terrible. However, it was much easier to tell them that they would have no job in 14 days if you can also say, "Yes, I'm on the list too."

At noon the job was done and it didn't seem much good to stay at the conference, especially as the news began to hit me. I would be out of a job shortly.

I went out to an electronic store, which I enjoy and bought the most expensive and complicated short-wave radio that they had. I brought it back to my room and spent the afternoon programming the device and enjoying finding stations around the world.

I found I was quite relaxed. Shopping had certainly driven my blues away.

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