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Retrenchment or redundancy can often be a devastating blow for the person who loses his or her job. and it is devastating for so many different reasons. What immediately comes to mind for most people, is the loss of income which accompanies retrenchment. Despite the payout of retrenchment packages, there is often fear about the financial future. Often what is more frightening is the loss of 'self' which accompanies retrenchment. Who we are is largely socially determined by what we do and the loss of this part of our identity can often trigger all sorts of anxieties and people who are retrenched might experience various emotions long thought forgotten, as these are re-triggered. All the vulnerable feelings of one's early job experiences can come flooding back, with the attendant other aspects of this regression.

And apart from self, there often is 'other' to consider as well - the spouse or partner, who, themselves may become anxious about the future. Compounding this is the fact that where there was once a clearly defined set of roles and space within which a relationship worked, suddenly, for example, the husband who formerly used to get out of the house and go to work, is now housebound with nothing to do.

This leads to all sorts of interesting entanglements around the home as roles might change within the home, but very often, the situation lapses into a bored, frustrated, melancholic husband moping around the house with nothing to do, and the spouse desperate to have him out of the house so that she can get on with her life. This type of scenario has a direct effect on the interpersonal dynamics of the couple and indeed on the whole family - everyone is involved and everyone is changed by the changing events within the family.

Coping with retrenchment most often involves three basic areas.

  1. Planning for the changed financial circumstances.
  2. Cognitive restructuring of thoughts and ideas around retrenchment.
  3. Taking definite action in various areas, including the setting of goals and other structured work all aimed at taking charge of the situation and moving towards resolution.

My work with clients in this area basically follows the above, but my strength lies in my own self-knowledge - I have faced this type of scenario, of having to reinvent myself and re-establish myself.

I know it can be done!

I know the rewards it brings!

I know the privilege and wonderment of another chance at life!

I know what having squarely faced an uncertain future has done for my family and me.

But, to quote part of another page which describes the work I do, I have learned to see challenges and opportunities in place of problems and difficulties, and consequently I have learned to grab life and make things work. This is the single most valuable perspective I bring to my therapy and coaching sessions with clients.

There are many wonderful books available but here are three particularly valuable books which seem to be most helpful to people.

"What Color is Your Parachute" - Richard Nelson Bolles
"Jobshift - How to Prosper in a Workplace Without Jobs" - William Bridges
"Creating You & Co - Be The Boss of Your Own Career" - William Bridges

There are, of course, huge numbers of Internet sites to browse through.

Good luck!

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