The days of carriage clocks and gold watches as long service awards are fast disappearing. Not only because employers are discovering more varied gifts of recognition but because long service itself is increasingly rare. Most people currently working can expect to be employed across multiple companies, maybe even multiple industries, during the course of their career. There are likely to be several changes. Not all of them will be voluntary.
This can make people angry. But that is okay. No amount of articles you read about how redundancy is increasingly commonplace can diminish the fact that it can hurt. Ignoring that hurt and treating this particular transition as any other career stepping stone may not be good for your health. Career workshops full of strangers and online guidance do not do justice to the emotions in play. A more personal, human touch is often required.
Redundancy may be the ‘new normal’ but, as PRS’s Career Transition expert Peter Wilford explains, it can also represent ‘a psychological crisis’. For many people caught up in the process ‘redundancy can bring a sudden sense of loss in two areas; the practical loss of income and the psychological impact of loss of status, companionship and the mental well-being associated with being fully employed. It can also undermine our sense of self-esteem and bring about a fear of what’s to come in the future’*.
In a situation like this, there is likely to be sadness and fear – as well as anger. These are emotions that need to be recognised, accepted and worked through. Redundancy releases emotions similar to a bereavement or relationship breakdown. Emotions from events like these can be repressed or brushed under the rug but may continue to haunt you, could ultimately resurface and will certainly impede decision making when it comes to choosing the right career destination for the future.
So how do you deal with a potential psychological crisis, come to terms with change and effectively plan your next steps? Personalised redundancy counselling is the most complete solution. Due to the similarities with bereavement, the Kubler-Ross grief cycle is often used to understand reaction to redundancy: Denial, followed by anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance. Everyone’s timescale for moving through this will be different and everyone’s needs will vary accordingly, which is where ‘one size fits all’ group sessions can feel unhelpful and an e-learning programme devoid of empathy.
One to one counselling adapts according to the needs of the individual. For those who have completed the cycle and accepted their new situation, counselling takes the form of practical advice and support in finding a new position. Others who have experienced a significant setback as a result of being made redundant – such as a loss of confidence – can work on overcoming their specific challenges too. Services can also be tailored to support an individual when a broader change is required – if, for example, an entire sector of the economy was contracting.
Whether you need to provide genuinely effective outplacement services for your team members or require such a service yourself, the bespoke approach of redundancy counselling helps people feeling anger, feeling fear or feeling fine to seek out the most appropriate opportunities for the next stage in their careers.
For a conversation about career transition and outplacement services, you can contact PRS here.
Embracing change as a positive
Change in the business world today is something that is expected as a norm and to be encouraged and extolled. It’s commonly realised that the world is changing faster than ever before and that those who remain stuck in their ways will be left behind. Businesses want to be the agile, evolving mammals not the lumbering dinosaurs. In this environment, it’s easy to be excited about changes in the world around you – changes to your own life and career can be a different matter though.
Most of us are not merely reconciled to, but have fully embraced the changing world and the opportunities it presents. Externally, we have learnt to identify, change and improve aspects of the business we are part of. With regards to our own roles within a business, we have become more comfortable with being flexible and more open to training and development. However, career transition itself can still seem a daunting prospect, particularly when it may be imposed as a result of restructuring of the business.
Don’t get left alone or lost in the crowd
If you or your staff are facing this prospect, you can take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Career transition is part and parcel of the modern world and there are tangible ways to smooth the journey. Very few people now remain on a single career path, receiving a gold watch on retirement for their efforts. Adaptation and restructuring have made involuntary transition much more commonplace, as well as accepted by new employers, and increased connectivity brings an awareness of opportunities which leads many to make decisive changes themselves.
Of course, the downside to the increasing regularity of career transition is the growth of mass-market services which have grown to facilitate it. If there’s anything as bad as being alone, it’s being treated as a part of the faceless crowd. When it comes to transitioning your career, online tools, self-diagnostics, e-learning and other ‘one size fits all’ approaches aren’t always suitable for such a significant and personal step. Group seminars can provide useful information but cannot deliver the personalised service one would consider appropriate. We believe that one-to-one support is the most effective way to make the transition.
One-to-one career service
The significance of the moment requires a more individual approach. People Risk Solutions offer a package of one-to-one sessions for those undergoing career transition in order for our clients to take full advantage of the situation. Not only is this a time of change, it is an opportunity for growth and a chance to analyse your skills, behaviours and preferences – not only to secure your next appointment but to increase your effectiveness and happiness.
This is also a very personal process. There are bound to be emotions in play during a moment of transition, both positive and negative. Elation at a new challenge and excitement to be taking a new path may sit side by side with fear of the future or worry about self-worth. Talking through your options and ambitions with a specialist in a one-to-one setting allows you to focus on the positives and draw up a tailored career strategy.
Though career transition has become a more common occurrence, it remains a significant moment in anyone’s work life. It is a time for contemplation, but also a time for action. Using one-to-one sessions to talk though the process, and build positive plans for the future, allows you to extract the most value from this time of reflection and to decide on the best course of action for you and your career. To find out how PRS could help you to navigate a period of change, or to book a series of one-to-one career transition sessions, contact us here.