Word Of the Week #588: Grief

November 11, 2015 by  

Griefmental anguish or pain caused by loss.

Have you been personally affected by a job loss? Are you worried that you may get laid off? Could your job possibly be eliminated?

Neil Senturia’s column, I’m There for You, Baby is featured in the San Diego UT. His article “Take time to grieve a job loss, then get back in game” had lots of good sound advice. This week I share the first half. He writes, “You will be fired. You will be laid off. Your position will be eliminated. There will be a RIF (reduction in force). You will have a lousy boss who screws you over. It will not be your fault.

You worked hard, you attended all the stupid meetings, and you didn’t steal any pens or paperclips. But, goodbye, sayonara and don’t let the door hit you on the way out – and oh, by the way, severance and accelerated stock – are you kidding me?

Welcome to America and the thing we call – a job.

I have been CEO or chairman of more than a dozen companies – and I have been fired twice. And recently a very good friend of mine found that “her position has been eliminated.” A large multinational bought a tiny biotech and they consolidated, and my friend (with a Ph.D.) found herself out on the street, wondering what to do now.a greif

So let’s turn to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, who famously wrote about the seven stages of grief.

  • Shock. Are you kidding me, you’re firing me? Huh!
  • Denial. Yes, it is actually happening. I know that the HR person is a rat and didn’t tell you the truth and you got no formal exit interview, but there is no denying it.
  • Anger. Oh, why me, it’s not fair. I’m going to call a lawyer and sue them. (Do not do this.)
  • Bargaining. Maybe I can make a deal, take a lesser position in the company. I will work for a reduced salary. I just don’t want to go back out there.
  • Guilt. It is all my fault. I had it coming. I should have worked 90 hours, not just 82.
  • Depression. I am 30 and miserable and alone, and have no job and the holidays are coming. What do I say when asked what I do for a living? Or I am 50 and what do I tell my wife and children? Depression is age independent. It does not discriminate.
  • Acceptance. Ah, the sun will come up tomorrow – unless it is June in San Diego. Sometimes, this is accompanied by hope. (I am not big on hope; I prefer acceptance and let’s get on with it.)

This week’s focus is all about grief. Have you ever been laid off, fired, or downsized? How long did it take you to find a new job? Do you believe you could work through the seven stages of grief, come to a place of acceptance and get passed it?

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