The recent wave of layoffs has had many from the workforce, including
myself, battling Unemployment Grief. Amid the progression through
these stages, I had time to reflect on lessons of resiliency.
The five stages of grief are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and
Acceptance, but I argue there are actually six.
The shock of the news often brings this about. It manifests itself in
several forms. Believing there are alternative company roles not
explored or offered or the potential of rehire. The fact is with a large
pool of candidates, unless the skillsets are unique, it is very unlikely
even after hire freeze is removed. Dismiss those thoughts.
The question of “why me” follows. Anger can be directed inward to
self and for others outwards to the source. Neither are healthy.
Remember these situations aren’t unique. Move forward and connect
with your support system and healthy outlets. The past cannot be
Through a series of cycles, we try to find immediate comfort to
shield us from our anger, our worry, our grief. Phrases like “what if”
or “if only” cannot apply to the present. These mental processes
have no action. We can’t wish-away things of the past. We can’t
bargain with time. Let’s move past that.
So, you’ve resurrected your support system and realized a few rejections,
or in some cases, no response. (I hear crickets!) You may even feel
overwhelmed by the personal responsibilities that still exist facing this loss.
Stop! Depressive thinking will only lead back anger and denial. All poor
ways of coping or rising to the challenge. So, things feel overwhelming.
Well set a plan and a daily to-do-list just like you did on the 9-5. Follow that
same work schedule that motivated you to get up and look your best for
Make coffee, get resume/CV out, references, cover letter, email, LinkedIn
up on screen. You are the chief executive for the rest of your life, and you
have actionable items to work on today. Intently apply to ten jobs, F/U
previous applications, reach a contact or a colleague, thank a contact or a
colleague. Yes, you can!
Suddenly you feel a burst of optimism. You have a network of partners on your side in
your quest to return to work.
So, the responses are slow. Don’t sweat it. The light is at the end of this tunnel and the
things you can control will surely make it happen.
Knowing and accepting that grief is a natural part of life and learning how to prepare for the
unforeseen is healthy. But that does not mean we need to repeat the cycle with the same
struggle each time. We need to be resilient and to do so we must not only learn from it but
apply new techniques to reduce its effect in the future.
So here are some of my takeaways when thinking about the next recession and layoff after a
return to work.
Never wait for the writing on the wall. Don’t ignore company town halls, company news,
reports and do seek out the details behind the details.
Grow your network always. Give LinkedIn the same attention as your Instagram. Whether
you’re riding a wave or waiting for the next one.
Expand your skillsets and seek training opportunities. Try LinkedIn Learning or self-paced
Post your resume, complete an application. Even if you’re employed. What’s the worst
thing that could happen. You’re offered a position for which you may have to refuse.
For the hustlers and I mean that in a positive manner. Resurrect your reliable side gig.
Research employment and job trends both locally and across states.
Share learned experience.
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