Ask a life coach

Ask a Life Coach: Stress with Layoffs


Dear Jackie,
Things have been so stressful at work lately with all the layoffs and job cuts.  The atmosphere at work is so dismal that I feel drained the minute I walk into the building.  I am so thankful my job wasn’t one of those cut but I also feel guilty because many of my friends lost jobs.  How can I be supportive but not feel dragged down?   Also how do I prepare for the next time this happens?


Dear Andrea,

These are all normal thoughts.  What you are feeling in your office could actually be explained as you and your co-workers going through the grieving stage of loss.  Some of you may be feeling angry, some depressed, some feeling guilty because they are happy they still have a job and yet they feel badly for their co-workers and friends.  First and foremost you have to stop worrying about what you don’t control.  I’ll repeat that, stop worrying about what you don’t control.  Only time will change the attitude in the building, and each and every day – especially now – no matter how hard it is, you have to show up.  Not only do you have to just show up, I mean really show up.  And you have to do the best you can, with the most positive attitude you can have.  Now is the time to shine and show that you can handle crisis and change. Here is something that you can do right now.  You need to find 3 things each day you are thankful for and write them down.  At the end of each week read them over.  This will provide some perspective and help keep you positive.
No matter how comfortable anyone is in their job, this recent round of cuts has shown us that everyone needs a back-up plan.  Start writing out your goals and qualities.  Dig out all of those glowing performance appraisals.  It is time to touch up the résumé and have it ready.   Keep your options open and put out feelers to other departments or the private sector.  Remember, if you do leave for the private sector, talk to a good financial advisor about your options.

It’s the people who are proactive that survive this type of change with barely a scratch; it’s the people who look at job loss as opportunity and not set back who will land on their feet.  These same people are the ones who at the first sign of cuts got their finances in order and worked out a plan just in case, rather than burying their heads in the sand and praying please not me!

Be supportive to your affected co-workers by listening and offering suggestions or helpful resources.  Suggest life coaching, retraining, and *second career (a grant up to $28,000 for individuals going through career change to go back to school) talk to your Local – they are there to help.  Remember to practice self-care.  Go for a walk, read a good book, watch a funny movie and leave work and stress at work.

Hope this helps,
Jackie Lee


*What is Second Career?

Second Career provides laid-off workers with skills training to help them find jobs in high-demand occupations in Ontario financial support.  It is a cost-sharing grant provided on the basis of need –those who apply may be asked to contribute what they can to their training or education.

Second Career provides up to $28,000 for tuition, books, other instruction costs such as manuals or workbooks, transportation, and a basic living allowance.

To learn more visit:



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