Did you know that getting laid off can be as bad for your health as it is for your pocketbook? Research shows that the trauma of losing one’s job can create some adverse health risks. That’s next next on SelfPerspective.
My wife is a magazine ripper. If she sees an article or recipe that interests her, she will rip it out. In the old days, when we still received the actual New York Times newspaper, versus the digital edition that now comes to my iPad, I would always try to grab it first before pages or parts of pages would disappear. But I must confess, there are times when she finds some interesting articles for me. That was the case during a recent visit to the doctor’s office. We were the last ones in the waiting room when I heard the familiar sound of a page being torn from a magazine. When I protested she pointed out that the lobby was filled with multiple copies of the same issue of the WebMD magazine. The story she ripped was actually an interesting piece on the Trauma of Job Loss. And she was right, there were 15 or 20 copies of that edition lying around the waiting room.
Anyone who has lost a job will attest to the fact that it is one of life’s most traumatic events, after death, a major illness, divorce or detention in jail.
This particular article pointed to a study from the American Institute of Stress that said those who experience long-term unemployment have poorer health across a wide spectrum of medical and psychiatric issues as well as higher mortality and suicide rates.
Robert Leahy, PhD, clinical professor of psychology in the department of psychiatry at Weill-Cornell University Medical College at New York -Presbyterian Hospital said this: “Unemployment is not simply a statistical figure, It’s about human beings, their families and their future. And the facts are not comforting.”
Dr. Leahy, citing several recent studies, said the unemployed have greater risks for developing depression, insomnia, anxiety, feelings of helplessness, low self-esteem, malnutrition, cardiovascular conditions — especially heart attacks — as well as alcoholism, increased smoking and generally poor physical health.
A study by the Pew Charitable Trust indicates the unemployed also are at greater risk for drug abuse, marital stress and engaging in criminal activity.
And it is not just losing your job that is unhealthy, Dr. Leahy said the threat of losing your job — the whole process of thinking about unemployment — leads to increases in cholesterol levels.
Here is the most alarming part: “Unemployment eventually kills some people,” Dr. Leahy said. “Long-term mortality rates are higher for people who have previously been unemployed.”
In one study conducted at the Karoslinska ( CAR O LIN SKA) Institute in Stockholm, found that the unemployed suffered from significant increases in suicides, injuries and accidents. Even when you factor in the unrelated health and demographic differences for the unemployed, the increase in mortality is a shocking 47 percent.
So, clearly there is more to being out of work than finding your next better job. Your health is important. Neglecting it during this period of transition is really not an option.
In my more than 20 years of advising some of the top executives in the healthcare industry, I have come to understand and appreciate the emotional toll that a RIF or termination can have on an individual. The reason for the separation is not important. The toll it takes on executives is still significant. Walking to your car with your box of personal items, knowing that this is probably the last time you will be on this campus, almost always brings an initial feeling of profound sadness — of friends and accomplishments left behind.
For some, there are feelings of shame, especially if the separation is for cause or professional performance. But to be honest, this is an emotion that impacts almost everyone, regardless of the reason for the unemployment. If you think this is a bit of a reach, ask those you know who have been unemployed and, if they are truly honest with you, they, too, will admit that being out of work prompts feelings of inadequacy and that plays to the issue of shame.
The takeaway, even if you were fired, its that many people have suffered through this indignity and have gone on to thrive in their career. Their sheer determination, their positive outlook and a solid plan of action made the difference.
You will also encounter grief. And possibly anger. These, too, are normal reactions. Take some time to deal with them. Get professional help if you feel the need. There are stages to grief, so allow yourself to move through those but always keep your eye on the ball, that you will survive, and you will emerge on the other side a better person. You must believe that and work to that end every day.
Being out of a job can bring about feelings of hopelessness, especially after you have not been selected in three or four searches. One executive describe it as a powerful feeling that you will never find another job. But do not let that dominate your life. It is simply not true. But our minds can play some real debilitating games when we are depressed and frustrated. Take some time every day to worry about stuff and then close the closet door, tell yourself you can deal with those issues at a specific time later in the week or next week, and move forward with your job search.
Here is your takeaway on this issue: Do not deny your emotions, but do not let them take control. Give yourself time to grieve. Provide time for yourself to worry and think about options, but investing all your time on these negative issues is a bad idea. Twenty minutes a day for worry is about the right amount of time, Dr. Leahy believes. You must challenge the negative feelings, especially one called hopelessness, according to Dr. Leahy.
Dr. Leahy also says that one way to control the emotions — the ups and downs of your job search — is to have a daily plan. I advise my outplacement clients to establish a daily routine and begin each day — and this is critically important — thinking about and journaling those things for which you are grateful. That is so important. There will be some disappointments, some bitterly disappointing rejections. That is part of the job search process. If you allow those to severely impact your emotional balance, you could possibly prolong your job search. That is why you need to look for those things that you are grateful for. This must be part of your daily routine. You also need to schedule your time. Don’t begin each day hoping something will happen. Plan your day so that you advance your goal of finding your next better job.
Our take away here is this: Establishing a daily routine that begins with journaling gratitude is key to staying on top of the emotional roller coaster that can contribute to those adverse health issues.
Take care of yourself. As part of your daily routine include physical exercise — working out at a gym, jogging or walking. This will help candidates mitigate the impact of stress and depression. People who regularly exercise tend to maintain a more positive outlook and a higher level of energy and that, too, is critical.
Be flexible. Be open to different kinds of jobs and moving to new markets. Relocation can contribute to marital stress. It is important to have honest discussions with your spouse and family on these issues. But many out of work executives hurt their careers by being inflexible regarding jobs they will take or where they will live.
The takeaway here is that executives must come to grips with the fact that the job market has changed dramatically over the last three to five years. Executives who adapt and who are flexible stand a better chance of finding their next job in a more timely manner.
Now, here are two more career management tips for this week:
First, think twice before you have a resume writer develop your resume. I recently heard a recruiter say that although one of their applicants had a great reputation, he did not seem to be closely acquainted with his resume. That comment really resonates with me based on the thousands of interviews that I have conducted. Candidates who develop their own resumes with the help of a coach seem to be much more focused and effective in their responses to interviewer questions versus executives who rely on professional resume writers. There is an odd disconnect between the document and their performance in the interview. We provide our clients with a format and guidance, but we do not write their resumes for them. We want our candidates to be intimately connected with the information and own this important career management component. Top of mind awareness is critical to success.
And finally today:
Job candidates should keep a daily journal, tracking people they have called and why they placed the call. I cannot tell you how many times I have returned a candidate’s call and it was clear they were confused. They had forgotten about which specific search they called me. There is the embarrassing silence and obvious confusion. Sometimes they figure it out quickly but many do not. That is bad mistake that candidates cannot afford to make in a very competitive job market. So keep your daily journal and review at the end of each and at the start of the next. Pay attention to your list of calls, which ones are still outstanding and about which project you called the recruiter.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for listening. If you plan to attend the American College of Healthcare Executives Congress next week in Chicago, I hope you will attend my session on interviewing skills for senior executives. It is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at the Hyatt Regency. Our enrollment is approaching 100 so if you have not signed up, be sure to do so.
And don’t forget tomorrow’s blog post. We focus on the myth in many rural and community hospitals that employees subconsciously believe they do not have to worry as much about quality, service and patient satisfaction as their big city counterparts, because “everyone knows everyone.” The blog post is headlined Rural Healthcare’s False Equivalency. You can read the post at JohnGSelf.Com or on LinkedIn
And be sure to subscribe to our weekly video on career management on YouTube. It airs every Saturday morning.
If you have questions or suggestions, you can reach me at AsktheRecruiter@JohnGSelf.Com.
We are here to help you.
Thanks and I will talk to you next week from Chicago.
© 2018 John Gregory Self
Tuesday’s Quote of the Day
Someone is looking
for exactly what you have to offer.”
In today’s consolidating job market where mergers have eliminated hundreds of executive positions, searching for a job requires the determination of a (well prepared) zealot with the patience of Job. It is not easy, nor is it pain free.
Do not be intimidated by the competition. You do not have to be the smartest candidate in the applicant pool or have more experience than your counterpart, but you do have to be better prepared.
Executives who lose their jobs are like everyone else in town — they have friends, a spouse with a support group, kids in schools, and ties to churches and other community institutions. With these important attachments it is hard to pack up and move on, even if it is for a better paying job. For some it is out of the question so they limit their search geographically. Seven to 10 years ago, the chances of an executive finding the same or similar job in the same geographic area were fairly decent. Today, not so much. This market requires flexibility, especially if you do not feel you can relocate.
The vast majority of people in this category find that it takes twice as long to find their next job. The norm for most executives searching nationally is six to nine months, potentially longer if you are working without the support of a transition coach. So when you decide against a relocation, understand there are some hard and potentially costly tradeoffs, a lessor title with lower pay, a shift into a new market segment, or even a different industry.
Here are three tips to consider:
© 2018 John Gregory Self
I have a following. I hear nice things about my blog posts, podcasts and weekly videos. But let’s be honest, I am not a Seth Godin, who has one of the top 20 blogs in the world, or Jay Baer, who has become the master of content marketing from his home in Bloomington, IN. They are pros, the best of the best at what they do.
I blog for a number of reasons, I love ideas, as a former crime writer, investigative reporter and editor, I enjoy the creative process, and because I write about the work about which I am passionate. Writing is part of my journey to be the best I can be in this field.
What Will It Take?
Have you ever thought about what it would take to be the best of the best? Seriously, have you ever sat down and taken a deep dive reflection about your knowledge, skill sets and record of accomplishments and then measured your work against those who are considered industry leaders and thought gurus? It is a humbling exercise, let me assure you.
This brings me to an important question we all need to ask from time to time: What are we not doing, what keeps us from breaking out and attracting the kind of attention that would assure that the rent and light bill will be paid long into the future with no muss or fuss? What steps do we need to take that will help propel ourselves into the exclusive ranks of “sought after thought leader?”
There are bloggers who argue that there are simple formulas for success. I don’t know about you, but after clicking on the link to learn a life-changing truth in this or that article, I am always underwhelmed. It seems that the writer’s formula for success is to follow an internet formula that happens to be a hot strategy to “build traffic.” It is all about clicks, page views, and shares.
No Easy Answers
I doubt seriously that in clicks, page views and shares that you are going to find a real pathway or real insight to find the work about which you can be passionate or the secret that will propel you to the top of your field.
My advice to you is to discount all of that. You may find some inspiration but finding the secrets for your success will not be in a list of five or six statements.
Follow your passion. Think deeply, carefully and courageously about your career today. Is this really the work you love to do? Is there something you would be more happy doing? I know, that is easy advice to give and I appreciate that there are often very real, tough financial realities that must be accommodated. I get that. But you only have one life. If you come to the end and you cannot truly say, “ I have loved the work that I have done,” how will you feel?
I know executives who have been terminated or laid off several times. Instead of thinking seriously about whether they are truly satisfied with their work, they simply ask outplacement coaches and recruiters to find them the same job in another city. You know, in your heart of hearts they are just going through the motions to pay life’s bills. That is sad. I always challenge them to take that deep dive.
There is always another door to happiness. But if you do not sit down and take the time to challenge yourself and your career goals, and to allow yourself to dream of what could be, you are probably missing the last train to happiness.
I invite you to join me for our career video this Saturday. You can find my channel on YouTube.
ACHE CONGRESS PRESENTATION
Join Dianne Dismukes, and me at the ACHE Congress on Wednesday, March 28 for a 90-minute course on interviewing skills for senior executives. We will help you learn how to differentiate yourself from an increasingly crowded market.
© 2018 John Gregory Self