I remember it like it was yesterday. After all, who would forget the first time they were fired from a job. It all started with a rather innocent email from my manager at the time and it was scheduled for 4 pm on a Friday. A time and date I would come to learn were pretty usual for having these sort of meetings. It gives you time to cool off, they say or drink the pain away others say.
Here I was thinking this was a regular meeting with my manager to talk about the plans for the week, objectives and the regular 1 to 1 not knowing it was about to be a meeting, from hell. It turned out to be a meeting where I’ll be told everything I had done wrong. He then proceeded to tell me I was to be let go. Can you leave your work pass and your laptop, as you leave the office? I’m also happy to give you a week off to think it through. I’m thinking to myself, What on earth is that to think through. I’ve lost a job which I thought was job my dreams, about to have a baby, no source of income. My world was shattered.
I got home in a state of shock. Panic even. I couldn’t think I was distressed. Little did I know I was at the beginning of the five steps people normally go through when they lose their jobs. It starts with denial. How could this happen to me? Why did this happen to me? I don’t deserve this. It was all a dream. Shortly after you go to the next stage called emotional reaction like hysterical laughter and anger. They’re all extreme emotions that come out as a way of coping with it – you’re thinking, how on earth could they do this to me How dare they? Little did I know I was slipping into the next stage called fantasy. Oh, I’ll show them. I’m going to set up a company and completely show them how it’s done. I’ll get a job at their main rival, make it to the top and laughing in their faces.
Then slowly but surely, you go through a dip. It’s called a ‘coming to terms’’ or what I like to call ‘acceptance’ stage. This is where you start to realise, You’ve got no money. You’ve got no job. You’ve got no hope and no way of coping or dealing with this. You hit rock bottom and your self-esteem is shot to pieces. It happens to the best of us. Nobody likes to be rejected because let’s face it, being made redundant, losing a major supplier, your major contractor or your big customers is rejection. And we tend to take rejections personally – but the beautiful thing about this stage, it’s also the is that its the bridge between you being reactive and you starting to be proactive.
You start to chart your path forward, you start to think about the steps you need to take to make it back. You start to re-assess yourself, you start to grow your self-confidence and self-reliance, you look at your CV, you shape up your CV give it a nice lick of paints to make it look the business of fit for the market. You understand what the market wants from you so you start to train yourself and get ready.
Then you start to apply for jobs. Slowly but surely the calls start coming in. Finally, the interview invitations start coming in. A couple of interviews don’t quite work out but at this stage what you’re really doing is just honing your interview muscle (it takes practice) and eventually you there is that one interview, you go in there, you nail every single question and you come out feeling so good and then you get the call that you’ve got the job. You’re back again baby!
The truth is nobody wants to lose their jobs. It happens to the best of us. But what we need to remember is, there’s a cycle we go through. Denial, emotional reaction, fantasy, acceptance and then eventually we get the new job. Through it all we need to remember, these emotions are natural, getting a new job takes times and your self-esteem is on a roller coaster but eventually you get a job.
The message is – This too will pass. The agonising wait for a call, the depression, the rejections will all pass and you will get a new job or a new client or a new customer. More often, you even get a job better than what you had. So my message for you today is keep pressing on. Stay focused on identifying and understanding these emotions and don’t get too overwhelmed while you start charting your path forward.
This too shall pass your next job is around the corner.