This is the area I’m most passionate about. And is, apparently, a superpower. 😊 I have the ability to be let go and not take it personally. To resiliently bounce back, recognize what could be an awful situation and turn it into an opportunity for growth, to move forward and not look back and get closer to my true path.
Job loss, dismissal, downsizing – whatever you want to call it – is shrouded in shame, confusion, identity crisis, anger, and grief. It’s one of the big three that most affect people’s lives, along with divorce and death of a loved one. Emotional trauma, physical reactions, stress on relationships, pressure on life, depression. It occupies a dark corner that no wants to go near. It’s a topic no one wants to talk about. I want to change that.
My jobs were eliminated three times during my thirty plus professional life. The first was the hardest. I was young, didn’t have the confidence to shake it off and hadn’t built my network yet. I was devastated and couldn’t understand how my loyalty and hard work were being dismissed. However, it was a blessing and paved the way for me to enter the technology sector. Then my role was eliminated again. This time I was more prepared, had confidence in my abilities and built a substantial network over my eight years in industry. This let go saw me transition into technical education and, shortly after, academia, where I spent almost twenty years in director level roles. In January 2020, my role was eliminated. And, again, rather than take it personally, I saw this as my best opportunity yet to transition into my calling.
I took the Executive Coaching graduate program with an eye to complement my twenty years of career coaching experience (a huge element of my roles within the university) and start my own consulting firm, becoming an entrepreneur for the first time in my working life. During the program, I found coaching truly was my heart work and recognized my skill in the area.
My network has come through again, offering mentoring, job and contract leads and opportunities, acted as informed sounding boards for my ideas, and surrounded me with support in my career refresh.
My overarching mission is to remove the negative stigma associated with job loss, bring the conversation out of the dark and into the light, and focus on the opportunities for growth, positive change, and a new career vision for those in the midst of this life changing experience.
Personally, and professionally, I want to help people let go after being let go and find their new path by reframing their story, realigning their thoughts, and finding their best career path.
What I want you know:
You are not alone. If you thought you were before, I want you to know you’re not. Most people who lose their job do so through no fault of their own. And the numbers are large.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel – the light just may not have reached you yet. Through the conversations I’ve had with folks who went through job loss like me, virtually all of them landed a better job and situation. Although it may not feel like it now, this could be the best thing to happen to you and your career.
Acknowledge your emotions, whatever they are, process them and move on and focus on the future.
Share your story with everyone – family, friends, former colleagues, even strangers! Don’t keep it bottled up and suffer in silence. It helps to talk about it (and can be therapeutic!) and opportunities may come from sharing.
Get your finances in check and create a budget, especially if you didn’t get a good severance package.
Consult with a lawyer to ensure you are being treated fairly in the eyes of the law and get the severance package you deserve.
Connect with your professional network – if you don’t have a network, connect with family and friends. They care about you and want to help. Again, it helps to talk about how you’re feeling, are being affected and to express your desire for new opportunities.
If you don’t have a professional network, build one, starting today. There are groups and sector organizations that meet regularly, and they are an easy and safe place to start. It may sound daunting if you’ve never networked before but there are lots of online resources available to help. Google is your friend!
Assess your education, skills, attributes, and set goals to enhance your personal and professional development. Take courses, read books, become more knowledgeable in something that will help you on your next steps.
Keep a routine. Get up everyday like you did before, get dressed, create some tasks that you do regularly to keep yourself occupied, engaged, and connected to your community.
If you don’t already, consider volunteering. This was a great help to me in building my network. Plus, it feels good to help others and help you appreciate your own situation. Don’t give till it hurts – give till it feels good.
Seek professional help if you’re overwhelmed. So important. If you don’t have access to a therapist, use a free service like the counselling being offered by the Canadian government during Covid-19.
Meditate and exercise. It clears the mind and is a proven remedy to lift you up when you’re feeling down.
Read positive and affirmational articles and books. Watch empowering videos (Brene Brown’s Shame, Vulnerability, and any of her many pod-casts can help you reframe and gain perspective).
Take this break as an opportunity to evaluate where you were and where you want to go. Did you have the best job for you? Did it fulfill you? If not, what do you want to do and how do you get there? Help is available to help you find your path to your journey ahead.
There’s much more to say on the subject and each point. To learn more please contact me at Shell@SeeShellConsulting.com