Coping effectively with lay-off trauma

Spread the love

By Goke Ilesanmi

LOLet me first say Happy New Year to you all. The year will be that of divine fortune, exceptional breakthrough, enduring peace and sound health for all of us. I want us to discuss this concept this week because it is a fact that being the beginning of the year, many people must have changed jobs now while many others must have also lost theirs.

   It is common for individuals to make career change about two or more times during their lifetime. At times, career change is not planned for and caused by downsizing, re-structuring, an illness, the economy, etc. At other times, it is due to a planned event such as one’s passion to engage in something that is (more) mentally interesting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Marsha Myers, a successful career changer and senior vice president of Lee Hecht Harrison, a global human-resource outplacement consulting firm in Jacksonville, Florida, United States says change is scary for everyone. A successful career changer is self-responsible, self motivated with good people skills. One must also be willing to embrace change.



Unemployment is undoubtedly a traumatic life-changing event that greatly leads to stress. Studies have also shown that even confident people generally need to take a step back and go through the grief process, in order to move ahead. Many times, people are unable to talk even with close friends or family members about their feelings of frustration. But opening up to people in a similar circumstance or those who have had the same type of experience helps to reduce or overcome the feeling of isolation. Blaming does not fix anything and if you are the kind of person that needs to feel sorry, set aside a small amount of time each day for it. Take time out to brood and then get back to the really important things in life. Eventually, the time for action will come and you will be ready to move ahead.



 You need to recreate your career from the ashes of dejection. Know what you really want and need. Create your personal mission and vision statements. Make an inventory of your talents as well as a self-discovery journey and determine what you need to do to get there. Dr. Freda Turner, Management, Leadership and IT expert with University of Phoenix advises that you should begin to build a personal action plan based on your values, skills and interest. Be realistic, if you need additional career planning, training or education, accept it. Take the challenge as this may be an opportunity to create a new life, the one you only thought about before.



 Whether your lay-off is temporary or permanent, it can still take a toll on you financially and emotionally and the best way to handle the stress that comes with a change like this is to realise the things you can and cannot change. You cannot change the fact that you have been laid off. But you can change your future by taking an active approach to your job search as well as keeping a positive attitude embroidered with common sense.  This is very important.

 Estienne de Beer, author of the book “Boosting Your Career – Tips from Top Executives”, educates that positive thinking without common sense is like operating your computer without anti-virus software. It causes illogical and unnecessary and avoidable threat to one’s career and business. In short, zeal or passion without knowledge or natural capacity is dangerous. Positive thinking without substance is nothing but self-deceit. So placing too much emphasis on positive thinking at the expense of other critical success factors will only lead to frustration, disappointment and embarrassment.



Networking is one of the major keys to finding another good job. It is simply about informing friends and contacts that you are in the job market and would appreciate if they would let others know. It is about communicating and tapping into all available resources. Contact your friends and ask them to let you know of any possible job openings. They will network for you by asking other friends about opportunities. Do not take for granted that the people you come in contact with will know how to ask about job opportunities for you. Be specific and ask them for leads.


What to do

When you begin your job search, you may find that your skills need to be upgraded, especially if you have been in the same job or industry for many years. Now would be the time to look into retraining options. According to Beer, one of your strongest assets will be your willingness to learn and adapt to change. When you start interviewing, prospective employers will ask you about the lay-off. Be careful not to say anything negative. A good answer may be something like, “The company was reconstructed and my position was affected” or “The company closed the division where I worked.”



 One main concern of the laid-off employees is how to pay their bills. Experts advise that the best thing to do is to create a budget and items such as rent, utility bills, vehicle payments, etc., should be included. It is important to be realistic and put all necessary items on your list. You will use this list to create a budget that will tell you how much money you need to make to pay all your bills. If you have money in your bank account(s), you can use this budget to find out how long your money will last. Pay at least the minimum payments and call the creditors to see if there is anyway you can reduce those payments if even for a short time. Explain to them what your circumstances are and that you are currently actively searching for a job. Most creditors are willing to help you stay on tract as long as you let them know what is happening ahead of time. Others may not feel concerned too.


Last note

Being laid off is not the end of the world, even if it looks like that at the time. Most employees are laid off at least one time in their lifetime. Some people believe that all jobs are temporary; it just depends on how long you keep them. This is a good philosophy to keep in mind and stay active in your job-search efforts.

  PS: For those making inquiries about our Public Speaking, Business Presentation and Professional Writing Skills programme, please visit the website indicated on this page for details.

Till we meet on Wednesday.

  GOKE ILESANMI, Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Certified Public Speaker/MC, Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker and Career Management Coach. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.

Tel: 08055068773; 08187499425

Email: gokeiles2010@gmail.com

Website: www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng             

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.