Coping with the Emotional Impact of Downsizing


Being fired from a job is one of life’s top 10 stressors, according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, designed to evaluate how stressful events will impact one’s health. That’s why I recommend that one of the first things to do when you’re downsized is get support so you can vent your feelings.


Your family and friends can be wonderful cheerleaders, but also be sure to take advantage of professional support. Being fired is not an illness. Friends and family may not want to keep hearing about your career woes. They may also have their own concerns about the impact on the family finances.


A Career Transition Coach who has helped others in your situation has the expert experience to stabilize things and keep you moving forward. Choose a coach who is available when you need extra support and motivation to keep going. Evenings can be dark times, and a calm voice on the other end of the phone can make all the difference.


Dealing with your negative feelings about being downsized?


You need help getting over your negativity, or it will hinder your success when an influencer or hiring manager can sense that you’re still harbouring bad feelings. It’s important to not burn any bridges. Provided you haven’t done something dramatically wrong, being downsized is nothing against you; it’s a business decision. I’ve had clients who’ve been re-hired by the same company up to six times!


Remember also that you are not alone. Generally an executive can expect 3 ½ years in a position, and that means hundreds are downsized every week (usually on Tuesdays). Be thankful you’re experiencing this now rather than five years ago during the recession.


Still, downsizing can be a life-shattering experience, especially the first time. You can expect to have good days and bad days. As you get further out, you’ll get more good days, especially if you’ve surrounded yourself with supporters and professionals alike.


The people who go it alone take a lot longer to come around, get back on their feet, and start their job search. That gap in employment history won’t go unnoticed, so do whatever you can to take care of your emotions and start your transition as soon as possible.


Thank you for this guest post goes to Martin Buckland, Principal of Elite Resumes, one of Canada’s leading authorities on highly effective resume writing, high impact cover letters, successful job-search strategies, executive coaching, personal branding, interview tutoring and social media career strategies. Visit his blog at Downsizing with Dignity.