Although it was announced at the beginning of the year that 2014 would see a growth in private sector employment, we are still seeing major organisations making cut backs. It was announced yesterday that Barclays would be making between 10-12,000 job losses, 7,000 of which will be in the UK. Last month it was announced that Lloyds Banking Group would be axing 1,300 jobs. There are still also many cuts being made in other industries.
Living with the constant threat of job insecurity can be very anxious but taking charge and preparation can ensure that you are in control of your situation, not your situation controlling you. Feeling in control will help you to feel more confident, more hopeful and will help you to develop resilience.
Francine D. Blau and Jed DeVaro likened job loss to the grief process, with individuals going through similar symptoms as someone who is suffering from grief. Individuals move through denial to anger to bargaining to depression before exploration and acceptance.
When you do not feel in control of your situation, you are less likely to see the opportunities that do exist or to be open to making changes that will benefit your career. If you are facing the threat of redundancy or the possibility that this will happen, to help improve your outlook and help you to take control, the following will help you through the stages mentioned above.
There may be denial that this is actually going to happen and that there may be a change of heart and everything will go back to normal. Whether you agree with it or not, whether you welcome it or not, the organisation is making cuts and inevitably there will be job losses.
In your personal life, when you experience financial difficulties and your expenditure exceeds your income, what do you do? You cut back and tighten your purse. Imagine yourself in charge of the organisation experiencing those difficulties. What would you do to keep the company viable and effective?
Gaining an understanding of why the organisation has to make these changes will make it easier for you to come to terms with.
Once the reality that this is happening sets in, you may find yourself angry at the organisation or those around you. Being angry about losing your job will not change things. You will only expend a lot of energy dealing with the emotions that arise from your anger.
Ask yourself what is to be gained by being angry? This is really happening and you can either continue to be angry, getting stressed and anxious about the situation or you can channel that energy in to looking at what options are available to you.
What support can you get from the organisation? What opportunities can come about as a result of your situation?
You may find that you want to bargain with the company or come to some sort of compromise about your leaving. You may even start to question your performance and start thinking that if you do better you will be able to stay.
An acceptance of what is happening and that it is out of your control will help you to shift focus and look at what is within your control.
Dwelling on the loss can make you feel low. It is only natural to feel sad about leaving an organisation if it is not your choice to go. This can be even more so if you have worked there for a long time and have established routines and good relationships.
Accept that it is normal to be upset or feel sad, however, do not dwell there too long and think about what will happen if you let this continue.
Take up any support that the organisation is offering as this will help you through this. If the organisation is not offering any form of support, seek the services of a Career Coach or contact an organisation such as the National Careers Service who may be able to point you in the right direction.
If you find yourself sinking in to a mood that you are struggling to get out of, a counsellor can help you to make sense of what you are feeling and support you dealing with the situation. You can find a counsellor by searching the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s database.
At this stage you may find that you are exploring the possibilities or opportunities that can arise out of your job loss. This could be an opportunity for you to pursue something that you have always wanted to do.
What skills do you have and what are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? Have you secretly always wanted to start your own business? Well, this could be the push that you need to do this.
By reaching a place of acceptance, you can take control of your emotions and take control of your future career, making preparations to move on. Redundancy does not mean the end, it can be the start of a bright new beginning and with the right outlook and the right support, you can be hopeful and optimistic about the future.
If you recognise that you are at any of these stages, give some thought as to what you need to do to move yourself further along. Who can support you with this? What information do you need and where can you get it from?
Finally, remember, it is not because of you, it is because the job you are doing no longer exists.
Carol Stewart, The London Career Designer, is a Personal Development, Career & Business Coach and founder of Abounding Solutions. She works with women in their forties who are unhappy at work but are too scared to do anything about it. She helps them to develop the confidence to make a career move and find something that they love. This could be a complete career change or it could even be exiting the corporate environment and setting up their own business.
Carol herself made a significant career change in 2011 when at the age of 44 she left the organisation she had worked in for 28 years, went back to university and set up her own business.
She is also a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Member of the Association for Coaching.