How does the “Grief Cycle” Impact on Outplacement? Part 3

 In Job Help Blog, Uncategorized

The Grief Cycle & Job loss – part 3

As mentioned in an earlier part of this blog, the second stage of the “grief cycle” is Anger. Anger is one of the strongest of human emotions and can take many forms from a seething silence through loud remonstration to uncontrolled, and possibly uncontrollable, displays of emotion, and ultimately a blind, raging fury.

In a redundancy situation this anger will normally be directed towards the perceived source of the redundancy. That source may be a direct line manager, the local company, “group” or, increasingly, remote and often almost invisible third party owners. Very commonly the redundant individual will just want to “hurt” the perceived source without having any real concept at all of what that hurt should be or how it might be caused.

In my experience it is normally very difficult for the career consultant to communicate with that anger. By its very nature angry people quite literally stop listening. As the brain concentrates more and more on the anger response so it concentrates less and less on the other senses. Hearing is normally the first sense to suffer followed by touch (pain) and even vision where an individual will not see anything other than things directly connected with their anger.

But, with experience, a good career consultant should be able to become part of that anger experience. Naturally the consultant must be seen by the candidate as being on the candidate’s side; be seen as sharing in the candidate’s anger and in their determination to extract revenge.

At this stage it is then relatively easy to align the candidate’s anger with the steps that they need to take to move on in their career. The consultant must explain to the candidate that in reality there is almost certainly nothing that could be done that will “hurt” back into their previous company. Instead they should explain that the win-win situation is for the individual to take the forced career change opportunity and obtain a position for themselves which will take their career further and faster than would have their previous job.

Initially it is very useful to use the anger to energise the candidate’s “activities so that they really concentrate on the job at hand which is to get a job! However, and again by its very nature, as soon as the anger is rationalised so it will tend to dissipate and the candidate will move onto the next stage of the grief cycle – negotiation.

This “negotiation” will be the subject of my next blog.

Phil Boyle has over 28 years of board level headhunting and outplacement experience. He is one of the country’s most experienced and well respected executive recruitment and outplacement consultants. During his career Phil has conducted face-to-face interviews and psychometric assessments of nearly 10,000 inplacement and outplacement candidates.  Click Here to contact us for more information.


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