Aug 30, 2015

Anatomy of Losing Your Job: Take Control!


In 2007, I lost my job due to politics in upper management. A company whose sales I had taken from 50% below quota to 500% over quota in just six months became embroiled in the politics of who was going to claim credit for the turnaround of the sales force. Because my agreement with the CEO was that I would receive a percentage of sales growth as part of my compensation package, it was decided that the growth in revenue hadn’t come from my efforts over the previous six months. It was, in the view of my boss, a result of the years she had invested in the sales team that had finally come to fruition. It just happened to coincide with my arrival in the company. Not only did I not receive my bonus for the growth, I was unceremoniously escorted out the door. 2007 was a poor time to become unemployed. I remained unemployed for two years. I understand what people experience in long-term unemployment.

The Grieving Process

Losing a job can be much like facing the death of a loved one. The first step is Denial. Many people experience a numb feeling mentally, emotionally, even physically. This may last a few minutes or for weeks. In my case, I jumped over this phase right into the next…

Anger! Since I was owed several thousand dollars and it was clearly office politics that was the cause, I became angry and immediately sought help from an attorney. Unfortunately, it was going to cost me more to litigate than what I was owed. You may have experienced anger in your job loss, too. You may have been angry at the company, your boss, or your co-workers. You may even have been angry with people who had nothing to do with you losing your job, like your family and friends. You might even go into “Fight” mode and think and say things, like, “I’ll show them!”, “This is one door closed so another can open!”, or “God is testing me out to see how strong my faith is!” Once the anger and verbose words subside, the next stage is:

You feel saddened and depressed. You ask questions like:
• “Why is this happening to me?”
• “Why wasn’t I good enough?”
• “What’s wrong with me?”
• “What is going to happen to me now?”

Left unchecked, this type of thinking can lead to a downward spiral. You may have become listless and nothing makes you happy. Any hint of happiness is dismissed as undeserved. Your relationships became disconnected and unfulfilling. Nothing matters. Once you began to rise out of this state and stage then comes…

Acceptance of the situation. Like when you were angry, your strong feelings of getting things back to normal are there, but in a more balanced way. However, what if you have been unemployed for a long time, 6 months, or more? As I mentioned earlier, I was unemployed for two years! Here’s what I’ve seen happen to so many people who have been unemployed for three months, or more:
• You’re sitting at the computer applying for jobs and you begin to wonder, “What good is this doing me?” A wave of depression flows over you and you weep.
• You aren’t getting any interviews after applying over and over again. You wonder, “What’s the use?” and you feel your energy drain. You feel like going to bed and just hope to wake up and discover that you’re in a bad dream.
• You go on interviews and you get the sense at each successive one that you aren’t going to get the job. You prepare to send your follow-up email or card and you find it hard to write the words in a way that would convince the interviewer that you’re the right person for the job. How could you, you’re not convinced you even have a chance.

So, if you identify with this post, what can you do differently to change the most important part of the process of successfully finding a job? Others would have you believe that your resume and a host of other things they want to sell you are the things that will get you your next job. I’m sure those things have some impact.

What I have seen that creates the greatest benefit is changing the subconscious associations people have when looking for a new employer. If you’ve read my post I Give Up and others, you already know that I work with people and the mind-loops or neural pathways they create in all situations in life. I do what some call Neuropathological Remodeling. That’s a fancy way of saying that I help people change the way they think at the subconscious level. More than all the other things that will affect your job search, it is the beliefs and thoughts processing in your subconscious that will determine how long you’re looking for your next job.

I’ll give you an example of how this works through a person I recently helped. This person told me they had been unemployed for a year, had $500 in the bank and $5,000 in bills coming due, and no job prospects. Their body language was like this; their head slightly bent down; shoulders rolled forward; their face was drawn in and their brow deeply furrowed. Their voice was weak; their tonality was high from stress, and their words were all in “Victim” and “Defeated” mode. I spent about 10 minutes working with this person and did a bit of “remodeling” in their subconscious. Like when you remodel a room or a house, they were hardly recognizable! The person was standing tall with shoulders back, head held high, a skip in their step, strength in their voice and the presence of real confidence in their language! That was just a few days ago, so I don’t know the outcome yet. Here’s what I have every confidence in, though; this person will now succeed to a much greater degree than they would have had I not helped them. How do I know? It worked on me and it has worked on scores of my clients!

Consider investing a few minutes to learn where your points of personal power exist:

Dr. Edward Lewellen is a Master Executive Coach, leadership and sales expert, and keynote speaker for some of the largest global organizations.

Author of The 90-Second Mind Manager