Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

The Job Miracle

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on July 3, 2012

Dibs, forty-one, got a job, after not having one for five years. Not only that, he is doing something he loves and making more money than he did in his previous job. Dibs, needless to say, is very happy. “How do you think things came together for you?” I ask, wondering if he thinks it is related to our psychotherapy, which has spanned ten years, and three previous employers. “Well, I have been trying to get a job. I really wanted one. I think some people out there get lazy, but I never did. I mean I did sometimes, but I always bounced back and I stayed focused.” “I see your point,” I reply, thinking that he never stopped thinking about getting a job, and even though at times, that made him very depressed, it also reminded him that he needed to try every avenue to see if there were opportunities. I can see that although our work together might have helped to keep him focused, it is also true that he was very hard on himself, which in a way, was painful to watch, but in another way, kept him in the game. “My mom died when I was fifteen,” he chimes into my thinking about how amazing it is that he landed a really good job. “And you wish she could see how happy you are right now?” I ask, knowing that I am finishing his sentence, but also fairly certain as to why he mentioned the saddest part of his life. “Yes,” he starts to cry. “I will never get over it. When she died, I was a mess. I did not get out of bed. I did not go to school. I did not talk to my friends. I know what it is like to shut down. I am just glad that I did not shut down when I was looking for a job. Otherwise, I don’t know what would have happened to me.” Dibs says, with gratefulness to himself for being active and resourceful. “You wanted to make your mom proud,” I say, pointing out that maybe he stayed active because he knew that his mom had faith in him and he wanted to prove her right. Dibs become overwhelmingly sad. “Of course, I do,” Dibs says with deep feeling. “Well, she is proud of you,” I say, also with deep feeling and appreciation for these moments that Dibs and I are sharing together. “Yea, I know. I am also really proud of myself.” Dibs says, ending our session, as we began, with tremendous hopefulness and exuberance.

6 Responses to “The Job Miracle”

  1. Shelly said

    Wonderful how Dibs stayed on the straight and narrow path and didn’t give up until he found a job that fulfilled his expectations in terms of his salary and responsibility requirements. Is he a religious man? Does he believe in the afterlife? I ask because of the certainty you say, “Your mother is proud of you.” I wonder how Dibs felt about that? Did he feel the way people feel when someone hears bad news and they respond by saying, “everything will be o.k.?”

    • Jon said

      I would argue that one does not have to be religious or believe in an afterlife to let the spirit of another effect or guide one’s actions or feelings. In some sense, one can keep another’s spirit alive by acting in this way. Thus, Dibs is interacting with his mother; however, I do not think she will be interacting with him in a dynamic way. By this I mean she herself became static at her death, although Dibs’ sense of who she was may still change.

      • Shelly said

        I agree with you, Jon. I just wonder if Dibs feels that too.

        • I would say that we have external experiences with people and we have internal experiences of them as well. The internal experiences may be thought of as the meaning that we assign to the external experiences. When someone passes away, the external experiences cease, but the internal experiences continue on for as long as the person holds on to those feelings. Dibs would say that major life events, like getting a job, triggers him to miss his mother deeply. Otherwise, he is not aware of missing her. Thanks, Jon and Shelly.

  2. Dan said

    another great posting, as it reflects and parallels the experience of so many people… thanks for the post Dr vollmer.

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