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There is no doubt that all of us are currently experiencing seismic
change in our personal and working lives, writing at the time of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Many people will be fearful
that they are going to lose their job, some will have already lost
theirs. Even those that are still employed have had to adapt to
completely different ways of working and communicating with their
colleagues, bosses, direct reports, suppliers, associates and clients.
And that’s not to mention having to bring the workplace into a home that
still needs to be a home and, in many cases, is now also a school.
When I’ve worked with people who have lost their jobs due to redundancy,
we always take a look at the *Kubler-Ross change curve because it helps
you to understand that everything you’re feeling is part of a necessary
emotional cycle. I think it is a really useful model to reflect on
originally based upon the grief that we feel when someone dies, the
model has been developed over the years and it has been accepted that
these stages apply to any kind of change, not just grief. However, I do
think that the concept of grieving is also relevant right now as we
will be experiencing a form of grief for the relatively “carefree” life
that we had just a few short weeks ago.
Where are you on the change curve right now?
Denial is close to follow. Well this can’t be
happening. There must be some mistake. We will carry on going to the
office and the pub and the shops.
Frustration is a natural reaction and a purely
emotional response. At this stage you might behave irrationally and
with high emotion. Frightenedly stock-piling or getting very angry at
the stock-pilers might ring a bell? Why isn’t the Government doing
Depression is when your energy is at its lowest.
Negative thoughts can stifle motivation and you won’t feel like doing
much. You may well be experiencing / have experienced some days when
your energy has completely flagged.
Acceptance is not a done deal where you dust yourself
down, take a deep breath and march into the future leaving everything
behind. It is often a quieter acceptance of the new reality. How are
you adapting to what has changed?
Integration is the point at which you can engage with
your transition and start to feel optimistic about the future. I do
hope that this stage is not far off for you.
How does this help?
What I think is most useful to take away from this model today is the knowledge that:
What to do now
*The Kubler-Ross change curve is based upon the five stages of grief identified by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying.
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