The Day After Termination – A Personal Perspective from a Career Consultant
By Lotte Struwing.
As a career consultant, I work with people in what I describe as “the day after the worst day of their life” – the day after they are terminated.
When I see clients, they are sometimes in shock, very sad, angry or have a host of other strong, negative emotions. In order for them to productively move on in their career, I have found it best to help them acknowledge what they are feeling and let them know it’s okay to feel whatever they are feeling. I do this purely from a coaching perspective and never cross the line into counselling.
I’ve found that the first meeting is very important in building the trusting relationship. While it takes a few meetings sometimes for them to move through the emotions productively, setting a positive direction really helps.
To facilitate the process, I provide clients with a graphic adapted from the Kubler-Ross grief model. We review this on day one as part of their orientation. The graphic, entitled “The Phases of Change” proves to be a valuable tool for them as they can visually see and acknowledge what they are feeling. I’ve had many clients who refer back to the ups and downs as they go through the process, which helps them significantly through the process of transition as they realize their emotions are ‘natural’.
Because both resumes and interviews are “behaviour and results” based, I employ the SAR (situation, action, result) format. This allows me to seamlessly work the resume first and then the interview. Clients find this process very supportive as they quickly understand that they don’t have to learn something different for each part of of their career transition. Using the same SAR concept throughout makes the entire process much easier.
One of the most successful strategies I use with clients is for them to remember that regardless of their employment status, they are interviewing the prospective company as much as they are being interviewed. When they can think in this manner, it automatically gives them some extra confidence.
I also explain what “behaviour based interviews” are and how to know if you are asked a behavioural question. I’ve found that it is helpful for clients to know how to respond, how to know if they are off-track during the interview, and how to get back on track.
After their interview, I ask clients to “debrief” by themselves. I ask them to start with what went right and then what they can improve on.
I’ll close with a quote from the workbook I provide my clients. “Losing a job ranks among the top 5 life situations that cause the most stress in our lives. The others include death of a loved one, divorce, moving and major illness. Dealing with just one of these situations can cause significant turmoil in our lives and we may feel it is unmanageable and yes to the point where we feel immobilized. By taking the time to review and work with the Lasting Solutions Program, you can turn this experience into a positive one.”