By Susan Begeman Steiner
If there is one mainstay in corporate life, it is that change is inevitable. We love the good changes, but the changes we don’t love take a bit of finesse to deal with.
The most extreme example is getting fired.
If you’ve experienced this kind of change, you know that it is an emotional roller coaster, not unlike going through a divorce.
The principles in Abigail Trafford’s book, Crazy Time: Surviving Divorce apply also to a “divorce” from your job. Trafford quotes Jungian analyst Lawrence H. Staples:
“’Divorce is always experienced as a failure. It threatens a person’s self-image of being good, being loved, being valued.’ But, he adds, it is out of failure that a person often finds the inner strength to attain major achievements in life. ‘A lot of people make a big contribution to society out of their own suffering,’ he says. ‘A crisis forces change.’ Often that is for the better. “
What can you do to find inner strength as you carry on?
• Take some time to grieve. Feel the heartbreak, devastation, humiliation, betrayal and what ever else is going on for you. Don’t just gloss over it. The first week after you get the news is NOT the time to take action.
• Take care of yourself. Practically speaking, you need to find work and move on. Steve Mitchell Sack goes into those details in his book, Getting Fired.
• Remember who you are. Realize that the action taken against you was not really personal. There were business reasons why it happened. This requires a “helicopter view” of the situation. You are still the same person you were before -- your value as a person is not determined by your job.
• Know that you are in good company. Many highly qualified people have lost their jobs, including Steve Jobs (fired from Apple Computers), Lou Holtz (fired from U. of Arkansas), Michael Bloomberg (fired from Solomon Brothers).
• Leave gracefully. If you are sticking around for a time after you've been let go, allow yourself to continue contributing to the company. Acknowledge those who have supported you, keep leading your team. The test of a true leader is to be able to show humility and courage, even through a difficult time like this.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
~ Helen Keller