How I Dealt With The Psychological Trauma of Being Laid Off. You Can Too.
I never expected that my post on being laid off would get to this overwhelming magnitude! Since I shared it, my blog has seen almost 7,000 clicks in a period of two days ( and still rising)! Comments are overflowing as well and I was just too humbled to see the words of encouragement for my honesty and “coming out”.
I received a lot of comments via the blog & email from readers (male and female) who shared my experience, and how they struggled & are still struggling to come to terms with being laid off. Some have still not been able to get another job whilst others have been able to start out on their own business.
I got questions on how I was able to overcome the trauma and what books I read which guided me to start out. I wrote this post to respond to those questions and it's also for anyone out there who is still struggling to overcome the mental trauma of being laid off and what resources I have read over the period to build myself up.
Prayer Really Is The Key
The first and early reactions when you get laid off are usually anger and pain. I went through it. There’s no other way to let go off pain and hurts other than through prayer. Prayer and then talk to a trusted person like i mentioned in my first post. There’s no Prophet or Pastor who will help to unburden the thoughts on your mind. All they will do is listen and pray with you. It lies on you to go on your knees and unburden your thoughts to God. Prayer has never failed me. It won’t fail you. The self-healing process starts when you lay your burdens down to God. It wont happen in an instance. But you will heal.
Choose To Respond To Others Positively ( Look on the bright side)
One of the commonest expressions from people when you tell them you got laid off is ‘ Oh! I am so sorry!’. It will come from your former work colleagues, family members, friends and even strangers. I don't know why I felt like I was bereaved whenever someone said that to me. It was as though I had lost a relative and my response mostly was a brave smile. How do you respond to such an expression? “ Thank you?” I actually got tired of it and had find a strategy to say something to reassure myself that I wasn't actually bereaved and my life hadn't ended. So I started laughing when I heard it. I would laugh and say, “ God took me out to take me further “ and “ Don't worry about me, I am strong”. I spoke life over my own self. Acting like a pity party wont get you anywhere. The thing is, any company can afford to do layoffs if they realise they cant afford to pay you or they have made terrible management decisions and layoffs is their only answer. You can’t stop them. What you can however stop is acting bitter and revengeful. Yes, it does hurt. So does a divorce or a relationship breakup. How you choose to rise up from where you have fallen is what will make the difference between you and the other laid off employee.
Find Yourself in Your Strengths
One question you will ask yourself is, “ So I wasn't valuable to the company?” I asked myself that question so many times. Thoughts of things I had done in the company came to me on certain days, days when I did not feel like rising up to work. Doubts flooded my mind about my own abilities and what my strengths were. What I did was to make a LIST of my strengths as a form of assuring myself day in and out that I was capable of so much more. The loss of one job isn't the end of the world. Is it possible that you have strengths in an area which you have neglected over time because of your 8-5? Can you bring them back and discover a new you in them? This is also an opportunity to explore new areas of work where your strengths might work out even much more than the previous job.
Speaking at an event for Ghanaian Publishers at a WorldReader event.
Start That Business Idea.
I mentioned this in the first post. When I decided to focus more on social media management, I had to spend some time explaining how it works to family and some friends. Friends often asked if I was looking for another job. I replied in the negative. I was really good at social media and with my passion in creating content for my blog, it was so much easier to do so for businesses. I started first by buying a printer. Actually, that was my Pastors idea when I told him about the layoff. When I told him, he said, “ Oh you don't have a problem! You have a car already, you know a lot about the internet. All you need to get is a good internet connection and a printer.” He was right. I went out and got a printer and got Vodafone Broadband installed at home. My home office was a table by the window and I started building things up from scratch.
Get Out There And Meet New People
Why do I say this? Because you will lose the socialcircles you built at work. It happened to me. People are busy more than ever of late and your absence sometimes or most often gets forgotten. There are work colleagues who will not check on how things are progressing with you. Friends who were with you because of your prestigious job will find someone else to hang out with. Such is life. Find time and think of the friends who add value to your life and who still show love to you despite the job setback. Stick to those friends and gradually build new yet smaller friendship circles. Making new friends isn't easy as you aren't sure who to trust, etc. Even Jesus was selective about who he hang out with and even they ‘po' deserted Him.
Find & Discover New Places
I travelled two months after I got laid off. I needed a change in my environment to relax and think of the life ahead of me. My time in Manhattan was worth every penny. I got to explore museums, go out to Central Park, take photos and eat as much as I could. I also watched Game of Thrones from Season 3 to Season 5. Travelling helps you to take your mind off past hurts, it opens up the wonders of new countries and cultures to you. Ghana is just a speck on the globe. If you can't afford travelling outside, go across the country. My number one place for a place of restoration and rejuvenation is Busua Beach. It’s not only cost-effective but the beach alone will refreshen your senses.
Books Which Are Helping Me On The Way
A few of my readers have asked which books I read when starting out and from the top of my head; The Winning Attitude by John C Maxwell , How to Win Friends & Influence People in The Digital Age by Dale Carneigie and The Platform by Michael Hyatt. They each served their own purpose with regards to my personal success and growth in my passion. I also subscribed to Michael Hyatt’s newsletter which has proved highly useful over the last year.
There’s no shortcut around getting over trauma’s caused by layoffs. It’s a slow and often painful step-by-step journey which leads to self-healing and recovery. Every day it gets better.