>So now you know what it means for you – 10 strategies for coping with bad news


York railway station and Royal York Hotel - Ap...

Some four and a half years ago, I was sitting in the Royal York Hotel at a team away day.  As I listened, I realised what the latest cost-reducing exercise was going to mean for me!  It meant the end of our working group and, for me, doing the kind of work that I loved, as a Civil Servant. 

We’d been talking about the change for months but this was the first time I really took it in! It took me a while to come to terms with my  feelings and to start looking forward!  

Losing a well-loved job can be like like losing someone close to you, for example, a well loved friend! Sadness is a very personal experience, unique to each of us. It can come in waves and your usual calm and balance can suddenly be overcome by emotion. This is disturbing, particularly if you are used to being very much in control of your emotions. 

If the same thing is happening to you, here are a few suggestions to help you ride out the storm! 
  1. Take time out. In many ways, experiencing loss can be similar to recovery from illness! Give yourself time to come to terms with the news.  
  2. Avoid making major decisions immediately. Loss can cloud your judgment and make it difficult to see beyond the immediate disappointment. Impulsive decisions can have far-reaching implications for you and those close to you. If you need to make an urgent decision, discuss it with someone you trust, such as a friend or financial advisor.
  3. Talk. Feelings like anger and disappointment can fester if held inside. They need to come out but in a safe environment. When friends and family offer to help, ask them just to listen.   If you think you need more support than friends and family can provide think about working with a coach or, if necessary, a professional counsellor. Both have been trained to listen!
  4. Honour the past.  That this is happening now, doesn’t devalue your working life so far!  Take time to think about your past successes and the respect in which you have been held. There is no disgrace in being made redundant – many of the most successful people have it in their career history!    It doesn’t make you better or worse as a person –  usually it just means you were unfortunate enough to be there at the time! 
  5. Take care of your physical health. Loss takes a physical, as well as an emotional, toll. Rest, exercise, and eat properly!  Keep yourself fit for what might be quite an adventure ahead! While you may not be motivated to exercise, taking a brief walk every day can lift your spirits and help you sleep at night.
  6. Avoid using chemicals to numb your feelings. A glass of wine can be good for the soul and help to settle jangled nerves, but overdoing it can bring a host of new problems. Attempting to numb your feelings about what has happened with alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications won’t help you prepare to make the most of what might be a very good opportunity ahead!  Usually, it will only prolong the pain. Eventually, one way or another, you must come to terms with what has happened. 
  7. Have fun. Sounds odd, doesn’t it?  But losing your job doesn’t mean you have to feel bad all the time!  In fact, it’s important to take a break from focusing on the change. Spend time with the family and have fun when you can, even if it’s just reading a good book or watching a movie!
  8. Reach out. In the beginning, you might not feel like mixing with other people at work. Soon, though, you’ll be ready to ease back into contact and start networking. Make a date with an old colleague to have lunch and make contact with others going through the same experience – you can support each other. Helping them, will help you to feel good about yourself again.
When I got over the shock of my sudden realisation, I went on to re-think my whole approach to work.  Things turned out well for me a
nd for many of my former colleagues.  I am sure they will for you too.

Here is some further reading

In terms of regaining you overall confidence – here is a website that can help; Recover Your Balance. Ann Lewis’s website supports you to recover emotionally so that loss of confidence is less likely to hamper you in deciding your best course ahead. You will also find her book very valuable  ‘Recover Your Balance: How To Bounce Back From Bad Times at Work’   

Wendy Mason is used to working with people moving out of the Public Sector! She is a performance, programme, contract management and change specialist. She works as a consultant, business coach and blogger.  Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439
You can find her business blog at www.wisewolftalking.com  

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