'Tis the Season (...for Lay-offs)

This season can be the cruelest - depending on where you are in the world, you may be plunged into the depths of a dark,  bitter winter. You may be recovering from lots of festive food and cheer (if that's what you celebrate), battling crowds in the sales at retail centres, and the credit card is in meltdown. You're trying to close out the year at work on a high, trying to beat the budget for the quarter in the last few days of December. Get through the month and you can have a few days of quality time with your friends and family.

Then you get the word...

The announcement comes that the company is restructuring as a result of a strategic review of the business. Your position is to be eliminated, and it "...in no way reflects your performance in the role." Somehow, you gloss over the last part of the sentence. Your day just got darker.

While you were planning your holiday festivities, your senior leadership may have been planning something else (and had been most of the year). Major restructures no longer impact only middle management and individual contributors. More frequently, senior leadership are culled as companies seek to be more competitive with less across all levels of the organisation. Double and triple-hatting - having responsibility for several roles, is becoming the new normal.

In the last couple of months alone, there have been some significant announcements globally, demonstrating clear plans to fundamentally change the structure of certain businesses, either by redundancy, attrition, or voluntary severance. Rolls Royce announced its scrapping of two divisions and a senior leadership shake-up; AIG announced a senior leadership shake-up, a number of senior departures, as it implements its plan to cut 23% of its 1,400 senior leadership; Rabobank, Royal Dutch Shell, Siemens...

If you've been given 'the word,' it will take some time to work through the grief process which may include :shock, denial, anger, fear, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified this pattern of emotions while studying grief and its impact on people (On Death and Dying, 1969). It has developed and evolved over time as a very rough model of emotions for loss, grief, or change. By all means, take time to allow the reality of the news to sink in. It is a grieving process afterall - you have experienced a loss. Do seek the trained support of specialists e.g. counsellor, psychotherapist if you feel you need to work through these emotions.

Then pause to consider...

Could This Be a Course Corrector?

Could this be an opportunity to dig into what you truly love doing, how you'd like to live and work in the future, your purpose, and goals?

This type of life-changing event - losing one's job, however it happens - can be an opportunity to take stock and create something bigger and better in your life and career than you've experienced to date. By viewing the event as a Course Corrector - something that will take you in a different direction - can release the negativity around it, spin it on its head and create a positive place from which to transition into something new and exciting.

Let me be clear - I am not trivialising losing one's job at all, especially when you have others relying on you to be the breadwinner and bills to pay; but what if you could look at the situation differently, creatively, without consideration to limitations, so you could formulate some viable options? By reframing like this, you can create a thinking environment that is liberating and free from the usual constraints. Often the constraints and limitations we apply to ourselves and our situation are learned behaviours and beliefs which, when studied closely, have no use to us at all. In fact, they usually prevent us from doing or being something better, and living bigger.

Coaching Works

Investing in a programme of coaching will help you to gain clarity on your vision of how you want to live and work, your purpose, strengths, skills, goals and options. Understanding what truly drives you, the legacy you'd like to leave, and a myriad of other discoveries gives you clarity, confidence and creativity.

Leaving 2015 behind, 2016 could be the beginning of a complete change in direction for you - and how exciting is that?!