In my role as a mentor I have often been asked about the almost unmentionable crisis that bestows many professionals - retrenchments. So many people face this crisis and the impact it can have on the confidence of the individual can be catastrophic. The retrenched often see it as a failing on their part - the end maybe of their careers. I suppose its akin to a marital breakup when after several years of employment security and a bevy of work friends and habits, when suddenly it all goes. In a day you can go from being on top of a wave to drowning in depression. I know this because I too have faced this crisis and came out the other side a better person and more employable.
My career started well and i quickly achieved senior executive positions after I came to Australia in my early thirties. I felt practically bullet proof. Almost everything i turned to went 'gold', even things I didn't regard as being my 'strong areas'. I became the youngest senior executive in a software company of over 100 people. I had been in the company for 3 years when it went through a merger and naively I thought my life wouldn't change. When I was given my letter of termination and a cheque. My world just fell down a hole. I was devastated. Every essence of me and what I had become went down that same hole. I felt empty, ashamed, destitute and scared by the experience. At 37 my working life appeared to be on the scrap heap. All those doubts I had on my ability became the reality of my life. That hole had stripped me bare - I felt vulnerable and desperate. In fact so desperate that I rushed ahead to try and get a job - any job. What followed was a big mistake by re-entering the work force without going through what should have been a review period; a period perhaps of mourning and reflection. That mistake could have ended my career, but it so happened that an opportunity came my way a few months later that changed my life for ever. This opportunity was so different and outside of my comfort zone but in my assessment it created new opportunities and a means to rebuild. After countless hours of deliberation with my wife I grasped this opportunity with both hands which led to a new and successful career.