Note from Dr Billy – Recent events have led me to reminisce, reflect and re-focus on life. And as I pondered, I remembered this one article entitled “The Cycle of Grief” that was published in the Straits Times some time ago, and I feel it’s timely to share it now.

Yet again, we are subjected to unpredictable economic conditions. Perhaps unpredictable is not the word as there have been many warning signs before we confirmed that we are in a technical recession.

Business process re-engineering, cost cutting and retrenchment are terms that enjoyed much publicity during these difficult times.

Therefore, in many people’s mind, the thoughts are “What do we do?” and “What happens if…?

Being out of a job is a catastrophic experience for many of us and this experience can be mentally, physically and emotionally harmful for some people.

Losing the lifeline can be a very stressful experience. As much as these are natural reactions, there are responses that one can adopt. These will help us to move on with our lives positively.

Perhaps a simple example would help you recall a time when you had to face challenges and rise upon them.

In my workshops on change management, I sometimes start by getting people to change seats and then I take a poll. Not surprisingly, I will learn that most people resist the idea at first (well, some admitted that they detest it while the majority indicated a little resistance).

My next question however, also generates a unanimous answer: As much as we dislike change and getting out of our comfort zone, we also settle in the new environment or situation very quickly.

We all have the natural ability to adapt to change and challenges. Some rise to it while others falter.


The Cycle of Grief
We experience a cycle of grief when we lose our jobs. Michael Farr, author of “The Quick Job Search“, proposes that we go through the grief in stages, namely shock, denial, anger or shame, depression and finally acceptance.

Shock occurs when we are surprised by the bad news and when the dreadful happens to us. Denial comes next when we cannot come to terms with the loss. Anger and shame then crop up resulting in us justifying, blaming and finger pointing.

Unfortunately, our society is a judgmental one that is quite unforgiving and that intensifies the feelings of anger and shame.

After some time, depression sets in and finally, we accept the reality and then summon the energy and motivation to move ahead.

Understandably, different people have different timeframes to reach the desired state of acceptance where we begin anew and seek a new job or a new area of interest to pursue our career.

The most important thing at this juncture is to understand the stages that we go through inevitably and get out of it fast. The sooner we deal with it, the faster we accept reality and the earlier we move on. Remember, there is a difference between failing and being a failure.


Let’s move on
The pain-pleasure principle of motivation states that those motivated by pain will move faster in these tough times but those motivated by pleasure can take time off to visualise a positive future state and create the urge to surge ahead.