Nowadays people’s career paths aren’t as straightforward as they were in previous generations and redundancies have become increasingly more common. Losing our job or business can be devastating. I am reminded of a poignant part of the film The Full Monty when we see the redundant manager of the steel works, Gerald, getting ready for work each morning, pretending to his wife that nothing has changed because he cannot face telling her that he’s lost his job.
Losing our job can affect us in many different ways: anger, shame, sadness, let alone worrying about the everyday practicalities of our new found situation and how we’re going to replace our lost income.
The practicalities obviously need sorting as soon as possible such as seeking legal and / or union advice, sorting mortgage or rent payments and applying for any benefits we may be entitled to.
However, the emotional side of our new situation also needs attention:
We may be in shock to begin with. We may have known that our redundancy was coming up but part of us has denied it, not wanting to face the truth. But when this happens in reality it becomes unavoidable, we have to accept it whether we like it or not.
Anger is a very natural reaction to our bad news. We may be angry at our manager, boss, shareholders or the company who is taking us over. It is important not to take our situation personally. If we are feeling angry then this is a good sign because it tells us that we are at the start of the grieving process. It is important to get in touch with these angry feelings. It is just as important not to act them out and become abusive or violent but to just sit and feel the anger. Exercise and being outside are great ways to relieve pent up feelings of anger and frustration. Get advice and support if you feel you have been unfairly treated but otherwise give yourself time and space to feel the anger and it will move on and turn into a different feeling.
Sadness and Regret
Once our anger begins to subside we may start to feel sadness and have some regrets. We may wish we had time to finish a project we were involved in. We may start to miss our colleagues and some of our daily routines. This is very normal and to be expected. Even the most stressful job will have had some aspects to it that we found fulfilling. It is healthy to acknowledge this sadness and regret and to realise that there were parts of the job that we enjoyed.
Finally, we need to accept that this is the situation we are in now. We need to use our support group to help us through this change and to share our plethora of feelings about what has happened. If anyone we know has gone through a similar experience their support can be especially helpful. Then we need to begin to think about what we want to do next. What will be our next move? How are we going to get started? What help can we enlist to get us going? In fact maybe losing our job can be a powerful opportunity to make positive changes in our lives.
My next blog post is on creating a better work / life balance and career changes…..