• Leigh Gerstenberger

Job Loss: I've Been in Your Shoes...



I've been in your shoes....

I recently spoke with a friend who learned that their position was being eliminated by their employer after 20 years of service to the company.  After letting them vent for awhile during which they shared their frustration with the decision their firm had made along with the way the news was delivered, my response was simply,


"I've been in your shoes".

On two separate occasions during my career, I too have been caught up in an organization's restructuring and as a result, have found myself out of a job.  In my case, both times, I knew the news was coming so I wasn't caught entirely off guard.  However, once the HR representative left the room with me just holding the separation documents, the harsh reality that I would soon be out of a job, still set in very quickly.  There are several things I've learned through these two experiences that I want to pass along in the event it might be helpful to others.

 1.  Don't underestimate the grieving process. 


We usually think of grieving occurring when we lose a loved one, which certainly does happen.  However, what I've found is that any change in circumstances can trigger the five steps of grieving (denial, anger, bargaining and depression before arriving at acceptance).  While I don't want to practice armchair psychiatry here, being displaced from your job can often bring an individual face to face with each of these stages so at a minimum beware, and depending on the severity of your emotions, you may need to plumb some of these feelings in more detail with a counselor and/or trusted friend or advisor.

 2.  Look at your job loss as an opportunity for adventure.


As difficult as losing a job can be, try to figure out how to view this more as an opportunity for adventure and less as a problem to be solved.  In my case I was fortunate in that I received a severance package which took some of the financial pressure off me that often burdens others who find themselves in similar situations. However, even if you're up against some financial challenges the attitude you approach this new "opportunity" with will make all the difference in the probable outcome.

 3.  Explore new opportunities for more meaningful roles.


Speaking of opportunities, looking back at my experiences with 20/20 hindsight I can see now that in both instances, losing my job was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time.  You see, while I didn't fully appreciate it when I was in the midst of my job search, finding myself in the job market became the catalyst that launched me towards exploring other opportunities and ultimately resulted in my identifying more meaningful roles for which I was better suited.  I would never have come across those new roles that gave me so much personal and career satisfaction had I not been involuntarily forced to re-enter the job market. As a result, today I am more fulfilled, challenged and feel that my skills are being maximized in a much greater way than they would have been had I remained in either of those previous positions.


In summary, if you find yourself re-entering the job market involuntarily or because you feel the need to make a change, please reach out to me.  I'd enjoy comparing notes with you and sharing my experience in helping people manage career transitions and Capitalize On Their Calling. LET'S CONNECT HERE

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