Coping with post-layoff emotions
There’s no doubt about it: A layoff is difficult on the psyche, whether it’s happened to you or someone close to you.Dr. Joe Siegler, a psychiatrist and author of “Fire Your Therapist,” provided tips on how to keep yourself — and others — emotionally healthy after a job loss.
Try to see your job loss as normal
First you must realize that it’s not a reflection on you. “Try not to let it get you depressed or down on yourself,” Siegler said. “It’s normal to have multiple careers and job losses in your life. “The reality is that companies need to downsize.” If you loved your job, you need to grieve, said Siegler. But then you need to move on. If your spouse or significant other is the one who’s been laid off, make an effort not to judge them. Siegler said he often sees spouses being supportive at first, but as time goes on the judgment starts. But he stressed that positive energy helps others find jobs. Sometimes couples coaching can help, too.
See the opportunity
“It’s a very creative opportunity,” Siegler said about being laid off. Think about what you’ve always wanted to do, and give it a shot. Do some ‘white-space thinking’
Siegler recommends leaving the house for a bit and allowing your mind to blank out; in other words, take part in “white-space thinking.” “It doesn’t have to be all day every day, just a quality hour or so. Clear your mind of worries,” he said. Once you’ve done that, keep a journal. “Then do a pros and cons list to every possible job,” he said. Try coaching
Siegler believes career coaching is the best way to go for someone looking to change careers. He founded Chicago-based coaching company Full Life Coaching Centers 10 years ago, with the goal of helping those in transition. “Sometimes you need a coach, sometimes you don’t,” he said. “But if you know you’re not getting it done, you need one. “Most people thrive because coaches pull you and help you focus on your big goal. We all have areas and times in our lives where we need a little help,” he said. When it comes to choosing a good coach, Siegler said, “You have to be really careful. It’s a new field, and a lot of people claim to be coaches. The biggest thing is the person’s credentials. See if they have a Web site and check their credentials there. “I look at coaching as the next evolution, past therapy,” Siegler said. “It’s in line with cognitive behavioral therapy.” For that reason, he recommends coaches with a therapy background. “Layoffs can bring out the same issues that therapists deal with — attachment issues, depression issues, burnout, substance abuse and more,” he said.