Redundancy is one of the most traumatic and difficult experiences one can undergo. Some of the emotions that are most prevalent when dealing with those going through this experience are anger, disorientation and an initial sense of helplessness. When I reflect upon my own painful experience from many years ago, perhaps the emotion it resembles most closely, was grief.
In reflecting on the death of his wife, the author, C.S. Lewis wrote: “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear… There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me.’
Stumbling through the emotional aspects of redundancy – especially when this has occurred quite suddenly and without warning - cannot be rushed. Not should it be. Emotional wounds, like all healing, may require a number of ingredients, but one of them is always time. In such situations, and especially where it is imperative for financial or other reasons, that the person finds work as soon as possible, it can be useful to counsel on small actions: in practical terms, it matters less how you feel, than how you act. By focusing the client on doing what can be done and leaving aside (or being patient with) those things that cannot be immediately resolved, the person is able to live themselves into a position where they are eventually able to accept and fully receive the emotional healing that comes more slowly. The added benefit is that instead of idle wallowing during the ‘grieving’ phase, practical steps have already been taken from the get-go which increases the person’s chances of obtaining employment that much sooner.