Rejection… leads to… Redirection

“It wasn’t until I lost my job, I realized how lost I was in my job”.

Meta’s news today along with other global tech firms has started a wave of downsizing to reduce costs. Investor backed tech firms have grown exponentially in recent years which led to rapid hiring to meet demand. Now just as quickly when the tide turns, we are seeing rapid firing.  Once confidence dips in the markets, the first way many corporates know to stall a share price fall is to make a downsizing call.

In Ireland, we are protected by employment legislation laws around terms and conditions for redundancy, which cushions the blow. In the remote world of work, we now live in, some impacted by these layoffs will be leaving colleagues they never physically met!

In our Outplacement work, I have met thousands of people just after they hear this emotional news. When I meet them, they are often hurt and experiencing feelings of sadness, loss, shame, and anger. They are fearful, not knowing what to do next. It’s an emotional tsunami of feelings as neurochemicals are flooding through the body. They are in a survival emotional state.

The Emotional Spectrum Model illustrates our 8 primary emotions. The 5 primary survival emotions are Fear, Anger, Disgust, Shame and Sadness. They historically protected us from danger when we were being physically attacked. When you lose your job these survival emotions kick in because your self-worth is under attack.

But, the surprise/startle emotion is a potentiator and can flip response states. Between stimulus and response there is a space, this space offers choice. Rejection is an opportunity for Redirection.

Redirection takes time and when you are anxious and fearful, you want the quick fix, the next job! Time is needed to do a career stock-take to clarify how you could move to the thriving side of the emotional spectrum. This is where you seek out roles which bring you excitement and joy. Working in a thriving culture where you are trusted and valued. These are the attachment emotions which bring career happiness and engagement.

In the past two years especially, I have come across many people permanently operating from survival emotions. They are stressed and burned out in their work. They haven’t taken the time to reassess their future career direction. Bad as this news of redundancy will be for some, it is the opportunity to press pause and reappraise their definition of career and life success.

One person I coached through job loss said to me lately – “It wasn’t until I lost my job, I realized how lost I was in my job”.

If you are facing redundancy, I would ask you these three questions to help you do a career stocktake:

  • What emotions were you regularly experiencing each day at work?
  • When in your career past have you been at your best and what made it so?
  • What strengths and skills do other’s say you bring to a project and why?

John Fitzgerald is the Founder of the Harmonics Group. Harmonics specializes in helping organizations plan for change, manage change and support their people through change.

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