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Crap, I lost my job!

A man in a dress shirt and pants leans over on a stair step in stress

J: Welcome to Slingshot25’s podcast, a series of bite-sized podcasts that will feel like an espresso shot to your brain.  I’m Jackie. 

C: I’m Courtney.

J: Something that we’ve been thinking about is job loss.

C: So, when it comes to change, we are always paying attention to losses and one of the most emotionally-triggering losses is job loss.  Whether it’s real or perceived – like rumors spread through your organization and people, with any change almost like we’re good we’ve upgraded the coffee system… I wonder if he’s going to result in job loss. People jump there very quickly because our jobs are so fundamental to our survival. What we want to do today’s dig into that like real or perceived there are actually people are losing their jobs – that have lost their jobs. it’s been happening forever and if that actually happens and if you’re that person like should you end up in that place what are some things to think about how do you help yourself through that.

J: Just thinking about what are some of the conditions that you’re experiencing. If you find yourself in this situation, let’s just name a couple of things that are probably going on for you. One is we call just it a stress response and of course there’s a stress response. This ranks as one of the highest stress producing factors in our human lives.  

C: Other than giving a speech, right. 

J: The stress response and no joke about that. It would make perfect sense that you would be very concerned about your finances, the state of your career, like what happened to your career Ambitions if you were on some sort of a career track and just feeling out of control of a really important part of your life. So just a good old stress response both physically mentally and even spiritually. You may feel in crisis, lots of exhaustion creeping in in the form of a stress response. The other thing that is really likely to happen and totally understandable is what we call negative evaluation of self. Which is basically just another way of saying, I don’t feel good enough.. like I am not good enough. I lost my job because I’m not good enough. It’s a story that you can easily start to tell yourself and you can also start to tell yourself that Courtney, you  opened this morning by saying job loss has been happening forever. People have been getting caught up in layoffs for a long time. But it’s really easy to start to tell ourselves the story that for some reason we are the ones that aren’t going to be okay. We won’t rebound. I’m going to be the one that just doesn’t make it. And that can start to really see a negative evaluation of yourself.

C: And, it’s embarrassing. It triggers shame. It’s just normal that when we lose our jobs it is very very hurtful because we wonder what people are going to think of us, we are embarrassed by that,we have all these things. So it’s very easy and understandable that we go to this place of saying I’m not good enough.

J: The first thing I would love to say to you is you are good enough. 

C: There’s nothing wrong with you. 

J: Nothing wrong with you and you’re sitting there in that place of us have been there. Just being in this place of not feeling good enough and it’s not going to be okay for me. And as if that’s not bad enough you then have a lot of things start to come at you that are just really not helpful and I’m going to name two of them and then I’d like to hear what your thoughts on these Courtney. The first one is this thing that I called cruel optimism. It’s almost self-explanatory if you sit and think about what that means. This is a lot of people and then sometimes even yourself your own self talk but a lot of people coming at you with this idea of you know just smile and it’s going to be okay. Just do some resilience training or work on your positivity or you just sit and do some self-compassion. All of that work isn’t going to get you another job. 

C: And it’s not terribly helpful. 

J: So the first thing that I would be aware of. The second thing to beware of is comparative suffering. You see comparative suffering. It looks like this… all sentences that are talking about compared to suffering start with the words, “Well, at least.” At least you live in America where there’s other opportunities or something…. We tend to want to compare the suffering that we’re having, which we can go out, like a first world problem or something like that. We start to compare it to we could be so much worse and not helpful to us in this moment. 

C: Right, these things aren’t helpful because when you have an experience you’ve lost your job or something that you think is more trivial you’re late for work or you know that your kids because either I just need to be positive like skip over it or someone else has got it worse and so therefore they’re worse experience means I’m not entitled to mine. And the reason we want you to pay attention to these thought patterns is both of them allow you to skip over your experience so when you are hurt, when you are embarrassed, when you are ashamed, you are having a human experience. And when you skip over it and say I’ll just put a smiley face on it or you skip and see what I’m not entitled because someone else has it worse, you actually don’t process that emotion. And it doesn’t go away. You bury it or carry it around with you, you know anger is my go to emotion so I rip somebody’s head off later because I’m upset about that thing. And because I skipped over my humanness, I didn’t give myself permission to be human, I’m actually hurting myself in a deeper way and if I just said you know, what this sucks right now. It doesn’t matter what’s happening to anybody else, I’m sad. I’m disappointed. I’m hurt and mad and I give myself permission to be human. Then I can start to burn those things off. I can experience those and go through those emotions. I’m entitled to them. Something traumatic happened, I lost my job. I’m scared. And that’s normal. There’s nothing wrong with you and the more we can give ourselves space to be human, the faster we can move through these very difficult things. 

J: Ya, I love it. That’s what we call the inner work, the inner work of self-reflection and knowing what’s going on for you. And we mentioned though that you have to be careful that you don’t you don’t see that as the end-all be-all a response or any answer to be to where you’re at. You also need and let’s be really clear about this, you also need a lot of just really pragmatic action. Actions like connecting to your network, working on your resume, thinking about any new skill training you might need, so the inner work has got to be accompanied by what I will call the outer work, the environmental working, the work of your environment, the work of pragmatically making things better. Where are your chronic stressors coming from? If you need to take it you know what a truthful look at your finances right now and and work some things out around budget and do that work. 

C: That is so important. One of our most used phrases in change management is action breaks anxiety. So it is overwhelming. When you lose your job, it affects every part of your life – your relationships, your finances, where you live, who you spend your time with,  So just make a pragmatic list – what are things I can do because those things that you do are going to help you move forward. They’re also going to reduce your anxiety, make you healthy, make you feel better and get you moving. Your energy is trending in a direction that is healthy and helpful. 

J: I love that – action breaks anxiety. The last thing that I’ll say about this is and maybe it’s not as evident to you. It might not come up right away but one really important piece of advice for you here is to stay generous and forgiving. Be mad first but come back to find a path to a spirit of generosity and a spirit of forgiveness. Because if you hang on to resentment, if you hang onto grievance, those things are easy to nurture and they love your nurturing oh boy does resentment and grievance love to be nurtured and they will grow beautifully under your nurturing. But they will also poison you. I will often say that the best definition of resentment I’ve ever heard is like drinking poison and hoping someone else dies. It is not good for you, it will keep you in a bad headspace, it will get you to make bad decisions for yourself that are not helping you out of your situation. So work your way back to practice being in a space of generosity and forgiveness.

C: And they really go together. If you skip over the honest most do you have you will not have the capacity for the generosity and forgiveness you have to actually be mad first and then give yourself permission to do that so that space is available to you. 

J: I love it. Well that is all we have for this episode of our Shotcast but we always have a lot more to say and if you want more drop us a line at Until next time. 

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