OK – I am out of here to go lie on a beach somewhere….
“I am out of here!” is often a response to redundancy. The passionate determination to leave a bad situation and simply chill out for a few months. Losing your job is an enormous psychological blow. In this spectrum of reactions there is the desire to escape, the desire to go climb a mountain or take on another physical, life affirming challenge and then maybe succumbing to the temptation to treat yourself to a few expensive luxuries you now have time to enjoy.
We have a great deal of sympathy with this response. Particularly if the individual has left a toxic situation. Possibly the departure was an emotional one.
We don’t encourage a quick leap from one treadmill to another. There is a great deal to be said for a period of decompression. And expressing some relief and allowing time to recover.
At times of unexpected career change it is important to allow for any and all responses to surface. It is also important to reflect a bit on what each reaction means. Is this desire to go lie on a beach a ‘flight response’ or a genuine need to unwind for a bit?”
We do alert people though to the downsides to checking out of the world of work altogether.
During the holiday, a nagging little voice can surface. “What will I do next?” “Did I rush too fast to leave my last situation?” “Maybe I am losing my grip lying here in the sun” “Maybe I am not so good at my profession after all….” Relaxation becomes tinged with anxiety – and the break is not as good as it should be. In our work, we often observe a steady decline in self-confidence, the longer a break from work stretches out. Depression is an extraordinarily common side effect of unemployment, and it worsens when you sit at home and dwell on it all day.
We encourage a period of discussion with us in which to let all the reactions surface before any significant decisions are taken. For some individuals, going off for a holiday will be the right thing to do. They are in no condition to do any of the “work” we suggest in guiding their own transition.
But for many others, a quiet period carefully assimilating reactions, and gathering one’s thinking about what worked before and what might work better in a next career will be of terrific value.
Our work initially involves helping individuals gather information about their interests, values, signature strengths and capabilities. We look at their past achievements and the widest possible array of next career alternatives. We encourage conversations with others along with a process of gathering initial insight into next careers. Certainly not hitting the search firms or rushing about canvassing business contacts.
We help crystallize some great ideas and see if some appropriate resumes can be built. We come up with a plan of action to open some doors.
We always prefer to have the conversation around what the “I am out of here…” reaction is really saying. Sometimes the best resolution is some quiet work assembling insights, working to a different rhythm for a few weeks. Once this stage is complete it can be a great time to take a proper break. At this time, it is most unlikely that the nagging voice will disturb the break. The individual feels well prepared to engage after the holiday and can truly enjoy the well-deserved break.