DON’T TAKE IT PER­SON­ALLY?

STRUG­GLING WITH BE­ING MADE RE­DUN­DANT CAN HAVE LONG-TERM EF­FECTS ON YOUR SELF-ES­TEEM

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | MIND - MINDYOU WORDS: ROWE NA HARDY Rowena Hardy is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor and coach at mind­saligned.com.au

Icaught up with a friend last week and she men­tioned that it was com­ing up to four years since she had been made re­dun­dant from her role. We talked about the chal­lenges ex­pe­ri­enced over the four years – the rare highs, the many lows and her path from then to now – and it re­minded me of my ear­lier work­ing life when I had been made re­dun­dant three times.

While I ac­cept that it would be chal­leng­ing to have to tell some­one that they no longer have a job and that the per­son may not have the ex­pe­ri­ence or train­ing to do it, in my case I felt there was a lot of room for im­prove­ment.

My friend men­tioned be­ing par­tic­u­larly of­fended when she was told “don’t take it per­son­ally” and how much it had con­tin­ued to af­fect her. When some­one has in­vested a lot of their time, en­ergy, en­thu­si­asm, be­lief and ex­per­tise into their role over a num­ber of years, that com­ment may be wellintend­ed but poorly re­ceived in the mo­ment.

I of­ten use the phrase “we bring our­selves to work” – in other words, our work life and per­sonal life are in­ter­twined par­tic­u­larly when so many spend long hours at work. This is prin­ci­pally true when we love what we do and bring all of our dis­cre­tionary ef­fort to it, hap­pily de­vot­ing all of our ex­per­tise to do­ing the best we can and, yes, it’s our choice to do that. Such was the case with my friend; so when it was sug­gested that she didn’t take the loss of her job per­son­ally she felt as though all of her per­sonal con­tri­bu­tion and de­ter­mi­na­tion was be­ing di­min­ished and de­val­ued.

Be­ing made re­dun­dant can lead to a cas­cade of emo­tions; ini­tially shock then anger, de­nial, bar­gain­ing and then, over time, ac­cep­tance, at least of the sit­u­a­tion. How­ever, soon af­ter that may come, in no par­tic­u­lar or­der, doubt, a drop in self-es­teem, re­duced con­fi­dence, anx­i­ety, con­fu­sion, un­cer­tainty, shame, re­sent­ment and lack of be­lief in our­selves to ever get a job again par­tic­u­larly if we are older and may see our­selves as less em­ploy­able.

This was cer­tainly the case for my friend who strug­gled for a long time with her emo­tional roller coaster and has only re­cently felt as though she is com­ing out of the fog. She now lives in a beau­ti­ful area and works for a com­pany that val­ues her ex­ist­ing skills and of­fers plenty of op­por­tu­nity for her to ex­tend those and build new ones.

Me? Much as each re­dun­dancy was painful and took time to work through, I can now look back and recog­nise that each was ac­tu­ally a gift al­though I didn’t re­alise it at the time. I would not have done all that I have since or be where I am now if it hadn’t hap­pened.

My sug­ges­tion? If you have to de­liver such a mes­sage, take time to con­sider how you would like to be told in the same sit­u­a­tion, seek ad­vice if you need to, pro­vide con­text where pos­si­ble, of­fer sup­port where you can and ac­knowl­edge and value the per­son’s past and con­tri­bu­tion.

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