If you have lost your role as a result of this coronavirus pandemic, then you are going to go through a whole range of emotions. These are scary times for many of us.
As a career transition coach and as a someone who has been made redundant a couple of times, I get how you may be feeling. I can’t say I have ever faced a pandemic like this before, however I was quarantined in China during SARS and that was no fun!
There is a really great model I use in my coaching which I think may help at this time, that I’d like to share. It is called the bridges transition model.
This model shows that when something major happens to us like we lose our job or we are faced with something like this terrible global pandemic, we are likely to feel many emotions, and that’s normal, we are human afterall! What else it shows is that, these emotions will change over time. Know that your emotions and your perspective will change with time.
Let me explain the model in a way that makes sense for those whose roles have been made redundant or they have lost their jobs. The model has 3 stages; the endings stage, transition stage and the new beginning stage. The endings stage – is when you are notified of redundancy and you physically have to pack up and leave the organisation, the transition phase is when you accept your new reality of job search, then the new beginning is the energy and focus that will lead you into the next stage of your career.
During the endings stage emotions can range from shock, denial, fear, disbelief to anger. Feelings of ‘why me?’, or ‘why now?’ or ‘why this virus?’ are common here. Often it just sucks! Often it feels unfair. If any of you feel like this – know you are not alone. You do however have to let go of the past, you have to let go of the fact that you no longer work for your previous employer, that you no longer hold that position, that your days are going to be different now being more at home. We simply have to accept that ending in order to move on. No matter how much it may suck!
We then start to accept our new reality. For some of us this might be difficult you may feel sad, frustrated maybe disappointed. You may still be a little bit in denial or angry that you were chosen over others, or that something completely out of your control has caused you to lose your job or maybe even your business.
Alternatively, you may have had a good retrenchment package or it could have been just the push you needed to leave your employer and so you are fully ready to move onto the next phase, once we are allowed to resume our normal lives.
Once you come to terms with this new reality you can start to move forward. Once the virus stabilises and we can start to go back to normal, what ever that normal is, you can decide what to do next. Do you want to go back to your old job, or do you want to do something different, and if you do, what is that?
For some people getting to the new beginnings stage can take a very very short time, for others a little longer. I just want you to recognise that this is a process you are going to go through. And how you might be feeling is ok.
Please don’t compare your experience to anyone else, because we are all so different.
- from a personality perspective, some of us are more sensitive and anxious so we are going to worry more than others, that’s OK if that’s you
- some of us may not have savings or have a big mortgage, so we are more concerned about how we are going to pay the bills and try to get any job to do that, and that’s OK
- maybe we haven’t had to look for a job for 10 or 20 years and we’ve got no idea what the job market is like & we are fearful of what’s next – that’s also fine and OK
Everyone handles job lost and challenges differently – we all have to go through this transition process however, regardless of who we are or what level of role we held.
One thing I know, from my own experience and in working with hundreds of others – is that how you feel right now will change. Feelings don’t last, emotions don’t last – they change with time. And knowing that, we can do something to help these emotions be more helpful to us. So if you are feeling a bit negative and fearful of what’s to come– that’s okay just know that these feelings can be replaced with more positive and empowering emotions and we are all in this together.
I do want to say though that if you find you are struggling more than you’d like – reaching out for help is courageous so please get the support you need. Lean on your partner, friends, ex colleagues, anyone who can help you realise that we will get through this. Organise virtual coffee catch ups, drinks or just get togethers. Download mindfulness apps, watch motivational YouTube clips or Ted talks. Freeze mortgages, get financial help.
This model shows that how we feel is natural that it gets worse before it gets better, however, the more we take control of what we can, the quicker we can pivot and see the positive in this. And I think there will be some positives. What happens to us may not be in our control, but how we handle it, think and behave is.
Keep Healthy and Safe
June Parker, a career and executive coach.
M: 0418 433389