Article, How to deal with a layoff by Alan Kearns :

Ex CEO Eleanor Clitheroe on how to deal with a layoff
Alan Kearns

A layoff is one of the most traumatic events in ones career. This weeks podcast is with Eleanor Clitheroe, the former CEO of Ontario Hydro. She was laid off from her CEO position in a very public manner and went through a difficult time. Whether you are a CEO or a Junior Manager, the journey that one goes through is very similar. Eleanor shares in a very honest way, her experience going through this difficult time, the challenges and the ways that she learned to move forward both in her personal and professional life. Her issues ranged from loss of identity to financial security to what was she going to do next?

In today's workplace, you can expect to have this happen at some point due to an acquisition, a change of leadership or a downturn in the sector that you are a part of. Even if you are expecting this, or if this comes out of the blue, you can never be quite prepared for this event. The emotions are parallel to the stages of dealing with any major loss.

Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the world's foremost expert on grief, lays out the "five stages of receiving catastrophic news".

1. Denial: The initial stage - "This is not real - I am having a bad dream".

2. Anger: "How dare you lay me off, I have given so much!!"

3. Bargaining: "Is it possible to finish this major project?"

4. Depression: "I don't have anything to offer" - What will be the financial implications?"

5. Acceptance: "That was a good experience, now I can move forward".

Like Eleanor, you will journey through all of these emotions, sometimes experiencing these back and forth over a day.

Here are five keys to dealing with a layoff:

1. It isn't personal, it's just business. At first, you will experience all kinds of emotions that won't be dissimilar to dealing with the death of a loved one. Acknowledge these feelings, but keep your dealings with your employer on a professional level.

2. Reach out to your friends and family. First, they are a great source of support and second, they may know of new opportunities.

3. Seek legal counsel. Meet with a lawyer and get good advice on what is a fair settlement. You probably won't end up in court, but this advice will help you protect your interests.

4. Seek a career coach or outplacement firm. A majority of companies will invest in this service on your behalf as part of your settlement package.

5. Take a vacation. It may sound unusual, but taking a break may be both good for your soul and your soles!

The good news, Eleanor has moved forward in her career and is now an Anglican Minister dealing with a "higher power" and is President of Prison Fellowship which helps prisoners and their families do deal with the impact of prison on their lives and provide practical support and healing. Eleanor's case is much like others. You will move forward, you will find a new role and, in most cases, you will end up in a much better situation.

Struggling with this issue? We provide outplacement and job support - book an initial consultation today.

Along the road with you,
Alan Kearns


Alan Kearns is associated with the What Color Is Your Parachute? career search team, as well as being certified in the Highlands Career Assessment Methodology and the DISC Personal Profile. Alan was a founding member of the International Association of Coaches (IAC) and also has memberships with the Career Masters Institute (CMI) and the International Association of Career Management Professionals (IACMP).


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