Group Cor 5
Group 5
How do you handle dismissal

To most people losing a job constitutes a significant change. A change that includes a variety of thoughts and feelings, which can be difficult to handle. When changes happen, we tend to react both emotionally and physically. Understanding your own reactions can ease the way out of the change process. By identifying own reactions and relating to them, you are able to keep an overview and stay focused throughout the change process.

One of the main reasons why changes are seen as difficult to go through is that change is often connected to loss. That may be the loss of a job, income, colleagues, responsibilities, prestige etc., which is vital to most people – loss of control.

Loss of control should be understood as the way you suddenly find yourself in a situation that you do not have control of. You did not decide for this to happen. Typically, changes you decide on are easier to handle than changes inflicted by someone else.

In retrospect, changes are often connected to improvements. A dismissal may pave the way for living out the dream of establishing an independent business. Maybe the new job is actually better than the previous one. Or perhaps the relations to the new management will provide new possibilities etc. However, initially we have a tendency to feel as if the loss is blocking the view of the reward.

The change, which is initially seen as difficult, will become easier to handle once you focus on regaining control of the process and focus on the potential reward.


Psychological process

Everyone goes through a necessary psychological process on the way to accept the change. This process is called transition. The word transition means a passage from one phase to another. Below follows a short description of the three phases in the transition process and some of the typical reactions.


Transition consists of three phases:


The end

The first phase of the transition is the phase, where something ends. This is where the change becomes specific, and the losses become real.

In general, people feel bad about ending something or saying goodbye, and it can be tempting to avoid “the end” and immediately make a new beginning. However, endings have a tendency to reappear, until they are dealt with and relived – you are, in a manner of speaking, forced to say goodbye to the past before you can say welcome to the future.

The end phase is typically characterized by:

  • Confusion of identity - who am I? where do I belong?
  • Lack of commitment
  • A changed perspective on the world (tough, unfair)
  • No targets
  • Loss of control
  • Emotional ups and downs
  • Psychical reactions - headache, insomnia/fatigue, tense muscles
  • Need for support


And you have a tendency to think:

  • Others have forced me to let go of what I had
  • I will never again get a job this good
  • How will my surroundings look at me?
  • Life as I know it is challenged by an unknown future
  • I would have preferred the decision to be initiated by me


During this phase it can be helpful to specify the actual and potential losses and the consequences thereof.


The neutral zone

The neutral zone is “no man’s land” often accompanied by the feeling of being alone. In this situation you have said goodbye to the old and familiar and have not yet found your right place in the new settings. 

The neutral zone can be challenging because you look back and perhaps long for the known and safe, and at the same time get drawn towards the possibilities of the future.

The neutral zone is characterized by:

  • Isolation from the community
  • Emptiness and confusion
  • The need to reconsider and reflect
  • Fatigue
  • Passiveness


You have a tendency to think:

  • I realize that I cannot change their decision
  • They were not aiming at me as a person
  • My future situation has become more clear
  • I have doubts about my abilities and targets
  • What other options do I have?
  • How do I achieve the biggest gain and the smallest loss?
  • Who can I talk to?
  • Who can help me from here?
  • Could I have done anything differently?


During this phase it can be helpful to write down experiences and thoughts e.g. as a journal. This can free space and energy for creativity and new possibilities.


A new beginning

The transition ends with a new beginning. The unsecure feeling slowly disappears, because you have reached some level of clarity regarding the situation.

The new beginning is characterized by:

  • The ability to make effective decisions
  • Being open to coincidence
  • Being able to relate to situations without being emotional
  • A new perspective on the future
  • Being present
  • Renewed energy


You have a tendency to think:

  • I acknowledge the dismissal
  • I design my own possibilities
  • I accept the balance between what I have lost and the advantages gained
  • I contribute with constructive suggestions
  • I speak in the present tense rather than the past tense
  • I focus on ideas and possibilities more than on limitations
  • I assess my skills in relation to a future job


Getting through the phases

The three phases are not clearly separated, but replace each other in the pace you are ready to move ahead. Moving ahead often happens unnoticed just as you, during some periods, can move back into an earlier phase. Thus, there is no “right” way of getting through the transition. It differs from person to person and from one type of change to another.

Under all circumstances, it is completely normal to react when facing changes. Luckily, it is just as normal that the reaction passes. But it can take time. When going through such reactions, it is important to know that there are two things you can do to help yourself: Use your network to talk about what you are going through and accept your reaction.

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