• Michelle Mackay

Change is Inevitable. Our Reaction is a Choice

It seems the national headlines are never short of gloomy news about job losses or threats to businesses. Here are a handful of headlines we have seen so far in 2019:-

  • Ford to cut 7,000 jobs including more than 500 in UK

  • Aviva to axe 1,800 jobs as insurer cuts costs

  • Santander to close 140 branches, putting more than 1,200 jobs at risk

  • Ted Baker warns on profits amid ‘extremely difficult’ conditions

  • Npower to cut 900 jobs as it predicts marked financial losses for 2019

  • Jaguar Land Rover may cut up to 5,000 jobs

  • Thousands of Tesco jobs at risk as bosses look to axe fresh food counters

  • Thomas Cook to close all branches

More locally, in May, Honda confirmed it will close its Swindon factory in 2021, ending any hopes that the jobs of 3,500 employees can be saved.

The sense of loss, the anger at the decision and the fear and uncertainty of what happens next are huge emotions to deal with and won’t just be confined to those who work at Honda.

There are other businesses that make up Honda’s supply chain or provide services to the staff and visitors that Honda brings to Swindon that will also be impacted.

As big companies battle to stay one step ahead of competitors with new products and services, they are changing the way they operate in an attempt to deliver more, even faster and cheaper than they have before. As consumer trends evolve and working practices adapt to keep up with this continual drumbeat of change, exciting opportunities arise, processes and roles change, structures are redefined and it can be confusing to be part of, especially if the company vision hasn’t worked its way down through the hierarchy.

Redundancy can be extremely unsettling and cause stress and anxiety for employees and their families, even the ones who ultimately keep their jobs. However, the redundancy process can also be a chance to take time to assess career goals and make sure you are on the right track. Redundancy, or the threat of it, can often give people the kick up the bum they have needed to try something new.

How can coaching help?

I’d like to think that people experiencing a big change at work would get the support and guidance they need within their organisation, but sadly this isn’t always the case, which is when engaging a Professional Development Coach can help.

A coach will appreciate that you’re dealing with this situation in your own unique way — it can knock some people for six, others see it as exciting. There is a documented set of steps that describes what the majority of people go through during this kind of change, it’s called the Kuhbler-Ross Change Curve.

The Kuhbler-Ross Change Curve

Kuhbler-Ross Change Curve Image

It’s not necessarily a linear process – some people move through the curve as it is drawn, others jump about the curve and may visit a section more than once as doubt creeps in. A coach will work with you to understand where you are and where you’d like to get to. I have found that having been introduced to this picture, many people feel better just knowing their reactions are to be expected. Sometimes just having your emotions acknowledged is all it takes to start the process of moving on.

Coaching can help you if you’re struggling to come to terms with an uncertain future by helping you understand what you are finding difficult, allowing you to take ownership of your situation rather than being left to drift and then establishing a way forward that feels within your control.

Getting an external perspective is incredibly useful, it can help you reflect on the positive and negative aspects of your previous roles and how suitable they were for your skills and strengths. There may be a career that is more suited to your skillset and interests, or one you have always wanted to try but never had the impetus or chance to pursue. This can be the chance to refocus your career goals and could be the start of a fulfilling new career.

Once you’re feeling more in control, there are practical tasks to work on. If the prospect of an interview is terrifying, then a coach can help with the whole process, including CV, practice interview and confidence building techniques (see my Case Study for more details).

I’m sure there will be many more headlines like those above, after all change is inevitable, but how we react to it is our choice. We don’t have to be victims, in fact it often brings with it new opportunities.

Redundancy isn’t the end of the world, it just might feel like it initially and as the curve hopefully shows, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

If you’d like to know more about how I could help you please get in touch, I’d love to help.



Michelle is Professional Development Coach based in Swindon. She helps people achieve their career goals and overcome the obstacles that are stopping them reach their full potential.