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A Listening Ear and a Loving Heart
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Our office technicians were notified today that they will be receiving 45-day layoff notices in the mail. Our two technicians were devastated, but the junior one especially so.

After most of the office personnel left for the weekend, he hung around outside my door until I realized he wanted to talk, but couldn't say so. He is an Asperger's person, so often he has trouble communicating, especially when he's upset. When he hangs his head and can't make eye contact, I know it's because he is unable to force himself to do it--it's a skill learned as an adult, not acquired as a child, and under stress he reverts to type.

We started talking and I quickly realized that he thought being laid off was the end of the world, had no idea how re-hiring works by seniority and didn't know how unemployment works. He has excellent computer skills and could have researched most of this, but I think he just needed a friendly support person to tell him.

I'm so glad our narcissist had gone home--she would have made the conversation all about herself and her partner and her dogs, when this young man needed to talk about his fears and uncertainties and ask for advice. Plus, she's made it abundantly clear she despises him.

We talked about what will probably happen, and about the worst case scenario. He lives at home and has a car owned free and clear. Two worries dealt with: roof over his head and the necessary transportation for dealing with Los Angeles distances. Already he was feeling better. His head came up, he gave me eye contact and a bit of a smile.

We talked further about remaining centered, no matter what happens, and taking it as it comes, since there's nothing we can do to influence the outcome. I helped him put together an emergency plan for the worst possible outcome, then told him to relax as much as possible and not fret, go with the flow.

By the time I was ready to leave for home, I could see he had recovered a lot of his self-confidence. I'm so glad I stayed and talked with him!

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