Losing a job or experiencing significant organizational change, often results in an extended period of professional uncertainty. For the laid off, income is interrupted and future livelihood is threatened. For those undergoing changes at in the workplace, business relationships are disrupted and roles and objectives become unclear. People impacted by layoffs and organizational change usually become stressed and unhappy. But there is a much better way to respond to these types of situations, and the secret lies in a practice called re-framing.
Glass More than the Half-Full
The familiar concept of the half-empty/half-full glass demonstrates that any situation can be viewed from multiple points of view. Unfortunately, we tend to forget this truth when faced with a perceived threat. Fight-or-flight response kicks in, and we focus our energy on survival.
Re-framing helps us break through our conditioned responses to identify opportunities and options that we might have otherwise missed. Just as a frame around a photograph or a painting can change the way that object looks, the ability to re-evaluate situations and eliminate negative thinking can change your experience instantly. It’s not enough to have an intellectual awareness of hypothetical possibilities—you must cultivate the habit of transforming the negative into positive through deliberate, consistent effort to challenge your assumptions and look at the larger picture in a way that changes how you feel right now. Lifehack.org has a wonderful article to introduce you to the basics of re-framing.
Re-framing in Action
Here are two real-life examples of re-framing. In the first example, a Silicon Valley employee was getting excited toward the end of the workday because his favorite team was playing on TV that night. He felt frustrated when his manager came to him with an urgent project that would require staying late and missing the game. However, he was quickly able to re-frame the situation as a chance to earn overtime and thus offset the financial burden of recent car repairs. Having re-framed the situation as an opportunity to achieve a personal goal, he was able to conduct his work in good mood, without resentment.
In the second example, an employee was reluctant to participate in a part-time work-from-home program. She was concerned that being off-site would impact her productivity; however her manager insisted that she try it out. With a flash of insight, she realized that she could work remotely from her mother’s house, and thereby spend more time with someone she did not get to see very often. Having re-framed the situation, she found an opportunity to be in greater alignment with one of her life goals (a closer relationship with her mother), and thus was able to embrace the situation.
Layoffs, Organizational Change, and Re-framing
Like any new behavior, re-framing may feel unfamiliar at first as you learn to let go of habitual ways of thinking. But the practice is well worth the effort! Scholars and experts have identified and documented both health benefits and business applications of re-framing.
Applying re-framing to layoffs and major workplace changes requires recognizing that these circumstances represent opportunities as well as threats. Be aware of the threats, but focus on the opportunities and find a way to become excited and energized about the present and future possibilities.
Menlo Partners staffing can assist you in re-framing your job search to maximize professional and financial growth.