Career Resilience in Managing Job Loss, Unexpected Changes

Mary Lynn Pulley

Mary Lynn Pulley

Mary Lynn Pulley, a Center for Creative Leadership adjunct faculty member and author of Losing Your Job – Reclaiming Your Soul: Stories of Resilience, Renewal, and Hope, shares practical recommendations to respond to change or hardship:

Resilience enables people to recover from adversity and is characterized by some of the same attributes as Emotional Intelligence:

• Flexibility
• Durability
• Optimism
• Openness to learning.

The flipside of resilience is burnout, fatigue, malaise, depression, defensiveness and cynicism.

Pulley asserts that resilience can be developed by modifying thoughts to broaden personal outlook and adapt to change.
The second step is modifying actions based on modified attitudes, beliefs, and concepts.

She suggests developing resilience by:

Embracing continuous learning
• Learn and apply new skills to more adapt more quickly during changes
Finding purpose
• Develop a “personal why” to provide meaning and context to work
• Take responsibility to direct your personal and career development
• Separate who your self-definition and core identity from your work tasks and job title. “Who you are is not just what you do.”

Cultivating relationships
• Maintain personal and professional relationships for support and feedback, to develop perspective, achieve goals, deal with hardships

Questioning and modifying self-definition and career
• Reassess awareness of personal skills, talents and interests, and personal narrative
• Consider new work opportunities to align with current skills
• Practice new behavioral competencies to align with current situational requirements

Re-thinking money
• Live within your means to remain flexible during unexpected change

Keeping a journal
• The Center for Creative Leadership suggests that writing in “learning journals” or “reflection journals” enables reflection, self-awareness, learning, adaptability, and insight.

Three recommended journal sections include:
1. Event or experience
Describe the occurrence in factual, objective, quantifiable terms:
Who? What? When? Where? How? Why?

2. Reaction
Describe your reaction to the event in factual, objective, quantifiable terms. What did you want to do in response to the event?
What did you actually do?
What were your thoughts?
What were your feelings?

3. Lessons
What did you learn from the event and from your reaction to it?
What did the event suggest as a development area?
What common reaction patterns occur in similar situations?
What different reactions patterns have occurred in the past?
What do these different reactions suggest about progress in developing resilience?

The Center for Creative Leadership suggests that learning comes “reflecting on the doing,” and not just on the “doing” of specific actions.

-*Which of Pulley’s recommendations seem most applicable and feasible to rebound from unbidden changes, like job loss?

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Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

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3 thoughts on “Career Resilience in Managing Job Loss, Unexpected Changes

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