Bouncing forward from retrenchment

Published by mpume on

Last year September I wrote a blog called “You have lost your job, now what?” unfortunately the situation within South Africa has not changed much and the headlines in the past few weeks have been about job losses in the different industries.  Retrenchment can be a very difficult time for some people and for others it can be the start of a new amazing chapter.

Even if it presents a new amazing chapter, there are sometimes floods of emotions and those vary from anger – why me, betrayal – by the company and your boss, anxiety, panic, shame, fear, doubt, helplessness, sense of loss, uncertainty and not knowing what your next step is going to be.  All these emotions are very normal and it is good to acknowledge them because it helps with deciding how you bounce forward.  I attended a Leading Women course at GIBS a few years ago and one of the modules we had was on resilience.  Our lecturer spoke about bouncing forward instead of bouncing back, this concept stuck with me because it means you move forward and find different solutions and options to explore.

When you are at the centre of the storm, you need to ground yourself for long enough to examine whether there is anything you can do about your situation. At the exact point where everything feels out of control, have you identified what is in your control?  You need to always remember that the power to bounce forward is within you.

Some of the companies usually offer a number of services to assist employees that have been affected. The company might offer financial services, career transition services, opportunities to upskill yourself, etc.  What I have seen is that most people are so angry and sometimes miss the opportunity to use these services.  I was once asked by a company that was retrenching to assist the employees that were being retrenched with career transition coaching.  To my amazement, all those employees did not take up the service which was free to them because they were angry with the company, their boss and felt betrayed.  I have also witnessed where companies have offered upskilling opportunities which employees have also refused to take up. I do not want to underplay the emotions but I believe that as an employee you have nothing to lose and taking up these services might be very beneficial to you.

There is a different perspective of looking at retrenchment as a chance to bounce forward and explore opportunities that you might have always wanted to explore.  There is a possibility of looking for another job in the same field and using your experience, explore a new career that you have always wanted but had no courage to try out – use your skills, start a business, use your skills/talent to explore new avenues.  You need to be in a place of calmness – good ideas come when you are calm, place of believing that the answers are within you, place of believing that you deserve better, place of knowing that everything is possible and you can attract what you want in your life.

As I said earlier, it is critical to work through the emotions so that the next steps are not clouded by anything.  I have worked with a number of clients that battle to move forward because they are not truthful about how they are feeling, it is easy to say I am fine and rush to move on without dealing with the emotions of loss.  It is difficult to attract or explore new opportunities when you are angry, fearful, ashamed, etc.

Ideally, the next steps are showing gratitude in the midst of the storm.  Appreciate the work that you had, all the opportunities you had, the salary you were paid, your colleagues, your boss, etc.  Gratitude brings positive energy as well as help you attract new opportunities.  It is also critical to put a plan in place and execute it. It is advisable to have some guidance with your plan – a coach, a mentor, a financial advisor are some resources that are good to have in place. A coach or mentor will guide your thinking, encourage and challenge you whereas a financial advisor will help with financial planning, saving and making sure that you use your money wisely.

I have worked with a number of clients through this process and the feedback I have received has been focused on how they felt fear and never thought they could bounce forward and move on. A high appreciation of how important it is to deal with the emotions of loss and anger.

If you are going through retrenchment or have just gone through it and need assistance, get in touch.  Sign up for “How to bounce forward from retrenchment” a 2 months program.  The program focuses on acknowledging the emotions, how to deal with the emotions, the process of exploring your options/next steps and an executable plan, a session with a financial advisor; a session with a money coach, 5 sessions with me as a career transition coach – cv formulation, interview tips, business plan tips, etc.  Retrenchment is never an end but the next step to a new chapter.  If you are keen to bounce forward drop me a mail on mpume@changeconversations.co.za


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