The emotional ups and downs following redundancy

When someone is made redundant, there are a variety of emotions that they may experience. Some people are delighted to get out of a workplace that they never liked anyway, some have been made redundant many times before and they know the drill. Some people, perhaps experiencing redundancy for the first time, will go through a wide range of uncomfortable and challenging emotions as a result of losing their job.

Research shows that the emotions may fit into a particular pattern, which is called the ‘grieving cycle’. This includes a number of emotional states, which may be experienced in sequence but may also occur in any order, at any time.

Shock – the initial emotion may be shock due to the changes that losing the job entails. For some a job is not only a source of income but has a social aspect, provides a challenge, sense of achievement, brings status and routine. Losing a job can therefore be so much more than simply the loss of income. There may be a temporary feeling of numbness or disbelief.

Denial – this is common. The thoughts are that “This is not happening to me”, “There has been some kind of mistake”. During this phase the individual is not dealing with the practical issues that may arise, such as adjusting household spending. Also, they are suppressing their emotions.

Anger – which can be used positively if translated into attitudes such as “I’ll show them” or “I can get through this”. Channelling this source of energy can be very productive and focused. However, anger is more destructive if it is turned on other people, the former employer or possibly family and friends. Anger can also be misdirected to blame others for the situation and not take responsibility for what comes next.

Despair – this is the time when there is grieving for the loss that has occurred. Perhaps a loss of status, colleagues, lifestyle, routine, purpose, satisfaction, challenge or a sense of belonging. This stage can lead into depression if it is not addressed. The feeling of loss needs to be identified and steps taken to put other things in place to fill the gaps, such as volunteering, hobbies, social activities.

Acceptance – at this stage the individual accepts the changes that have happened and they have addressed the main issues which have occurred as a result. The idea of moving on becomes a reality and they are ready to begin thinking about it.

Excitement – looking forward with energy and enthusiasm about the opportunities available and exploring new ideas that had previously not been thought of.

Tips on how to get through redundancy:- (these are much easier said than done, but worth keeping mind as you go through the early weeks of being out of work)

Allow yourself time to grieve

See redundancy as a positive opportunity for change

Write down your feelings

Review your finances and make adjustments if necessary

Look after yourself, keep fit and watch your health

Keep busy and have fun

Be social and get out of the house!

This post was written by Charlie Damonsing of CLAssociates. CLAssociates specialises in helping businesses manage stress in the workplace and provides redundancy support. Cconsultancy, training and 1-2-1 support. For further details please contact Charlie on 0771 559 6487.

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