Retrenchment is one of the most difficult disasters to come a person’s way. It is a terrible loss which not only has to do with the forfeit of a salary but also threatens a person’s self-worth. The loss of a job, brings along the same traumatic state as with the loss of a loved one. It is traumatic; it is funeral and one must deal with it on several levels:
- Deal with the emotional impact: This will differ from person to person but will include a mixture feelings of loss, disappear, low-self-worth, depression and suicidal thoughts may even be present.
- Deal with the current loss of an income: This means that the retrenched person will automatically be in survival mode. The family will have to come up with temporary plans to cut expenditure and maybe sell assets, if necessary.
To survive retrenchment, you will have to deal with the above first before you can move forward. This means that you will have to get out of survival mode and into future mode. How to do this? First of all, be kind with yourself. Take time to feel the pain, acknowledge that it is there and do not allow your feelings to drag you down with the sinking ship. Let the words of Henry Ford remind you: “Let your ability be your security and not your income.” Try to get to the heart of your fear and worries – pinpoint the source. Fear tends to blow reality out of proportion. Fear will tell you that you lost yourself, your whole world and everything in it. Well, actually you only lost your income… your abilities are still intact.
Your next move will be to seek out new possibilities. I see many retrenched employees who immediately want to start their own business and often with now experience what so ever in running a business. Bad idea! Try to get a job first. First prize, will be a job in the industry where you want to establish your own business. Alternatively, just get any job to assist with the loss of income. Then, and only then, talk to people in your line of business. Read as many books and articles you can find. See what the competitors are doing. Try to see where the pitfalls are and where the best opportunities are. Finally, identify your potential customers as closely as you can and formulate your unique value add which you want to offer them. In other words, before you can start your own business: 1. Know what you are selling and 2. to whom you will be selling.