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Layoff trauma - 11/2001


Losing a job is a traumatic experience, and managing the raw emotion that often accompanies such a loss is the first step to landing and succeeding in a new job, according to Tony Lee, editor in chief of CareerJournal.com, the executive career site from The Wall Street Journal.

ìThere are many emotions that accompany a layoff, including anger, depression, anxiety, and grief,î said Lee. ìThese emotional defences are normal reactions to a volatile situation. The key is to acknowledge the cause of these emotions and express them appropriately so they donít impair your job search.î

According to The Wall Street Journal, Julyís unemployment rate was 4.5% and nearly 900,000 people lost their jobs in mass layoffs and filed for unemployment between January and May. As companies continue to restructure in todayís turbulent economy, workers are more and more likely to be the victims of downsizing. The resulting loss of a job can range from inconvenient to traumatic.

Anger is one of the stages that many people go through when experiencing a layoff. If jobseekers properly understand and channel that anger, it can be beneficial in expressing tension and triggering energy to gain control.ìThe energizing effect of anger actually helps you get on with it, so donít try to deny or suppress it,î says Lee. CareerJournal.com offers this advice to help victims of layoffs:

1. Depersonalize the layoff. It is a business decision and not a reflection on you personally or even your skills.
2. Think of yourself as a business, and your skills as products. Know what you are worth.
3. Learn to tolerate rejection. It is a stepping-stone toward success.
4. Play up your strengths and manage your weaknesses.
5. Recreate some structure in your life. It will help you to regain control.
6. Donít network too soon. If your goals are vague, contacts canít help you.
7. If you get angry, use it to good advantage. Channel it into productive action. Donít let it come out in a job interview in the guise of sarcasm, bitterness or self-righteousness.
8. Donít forget the basics. Thank others, have a sense of humour, and present yourself well.