If you’re currently not working [i](in transition / between jobs / laid off / out of work – choose your way to describe it), [/i]I’m posting this especially FOR YOU. Because I’m one, too.
One of the concepts that’s frequent here in Layoff Land is that of [b]Grieving[/b]. Most often, I’m told about or shown the “Five Stages of Grief” model developed by Kubler-Ross and her associates. You may know it: the stages are [b]Denial / Anger / Bargaining / Depression / Acceptance[/b]. I’m told we all go through it, though we go through it in different ways and at different speeds.
But it didn’t seem to work for me. I was never really able to make it completely “fit” what I’ve been experiencing. For example: what have I got to bargain about? My job was eliminated. The end. I can’t “bargain” in the way the Kubler-Ross Model describes it (for example, your spouse tells you she’s going to leave you. You try to bargain: [i]“I’ll behave. I’ll stop doing what’s been bothering you. Will you stay?”[/i]).
[b]Please don’t misunderstand [/b]my point: I’m [i]not [/i]criticizing Kubler-Ross or the model. I’m just saying it didn’t feel right for dealing with job loss.
It seems to me that job loss is significantly different in magnitude from the kinds of catastrophes that Kubler-Ross is all about ([i]this is just the end of a job. It's not death, terminal illness or divorce).[/i] I knew I was working through a significant and significant disruption. I was wary of somehow trivializing the "real" grief that people go through by comparing mine to theirs.
So I went to The Google.
My googling pulled out a different model for this process I’m experiencing – and it felt a little truer to me. The author mentioned that the Kubler-Ross process was actually the “stages of reacting to disastrous news” – so it’s core application is to events that haven’t happened yet (“you have cancer and you’re going to die”), not things that have already happened (“you’ve been laid off”).
I found a model that the authors applied to job loss, and specifically to the “post-termination” phase: [b]Numbness / Yearning / Disorganization and Despair / Reorganization of Behavior[/b].
Disbelief. Trying to maintain the same lifestyle. Clinging to routine.
“Homesick” for the old job, people, company
[b]Disorganization and Despair[/b]
Procrastination, haphazard job search efforts, depression
[b]Reorganization of Behavior[/b]
No longer blaming others; thinking future, not past; planning not daydreaming; building a support network; Avoid re-entering previous stage
Not only did this model feel right to me, hell: [i]I could even see my progress[/i] through it during the past six months!
Here’s a link to the article I found:
I’m not shilling for this author – I’m not trying to vouch for it’s academics or anything. It just felt right to me. And during this time of transition, finding things that make sense and feel right – well, that’s pretty important.
I'll finish with this message to my M-T colleagues who are in job transition: it's OK. The Numbness, the Yearning, the Disorganization and Despair will end. They have for me. They will for you. I'm surprised at how long it took me to REALLY get to Reorganization of Behavior - but about two weeks ago, I simply KNEW I was here.
It's a swirl of emotions and yes: it's a process. You go through it at your pace, in your way. The reward at the end is NOT a new job (really!). It's an amazingly peaceful and confident feeling that you're back in control of your life. That you've "come through" something disruptive, unexpected, maybe unplanned for. But here you are: still standing, confident, looking ahead.