Seven Bumps Ahead
On the way to the grocery store, I used a detour and noticed as I approached a winding cross road, a sign that said "Warning 7 bumps ahead." I don't recall seeing that sign, or any thing similar before. In fact it intrigued me so much that on the way home, I went back the same way just to verify I had read it correctly. Now, I did not actually drive along the road, I just crossed the intersection, so I was not able to independently verify that there were indeed 7 speed bumps ahead.
But the sign did make me think: wouldn't it be great if life (including a professional career) was like that; being warned of the bumps and vicissitudes ahead. It also made me think of one of my favorite subjects; resilience- the ability to rebound healthily from challenges and just keep going.
There are 4 quick and practical coping mechanisms that increase resilience in these challenging times of sudden unexpected and potentially traumatic changes.
Prepare for the worst. All health care organizations have disaster drills in which they walk through and role play the process of responding to a disaster. If you have ever had to face a hurricane, tornado, flood, bomb threat or rampaging gunman loose in a hospital (as I have) then you realize it's hard to prepare for everything, but having a plan in place certainly helps.
If in your life, you "walk through" being downsized, terminated or whatever, then when it does happen you are not paralyzed with fear and might even be able to execute a successful plan B.
Face reality. When "stuff" happens, the most counterproductive response is to simply deny it, or to waste energy wishing for another outcome. Wishing or whining won't make it go away. Pining for an old boss or the good old days will just cause you to drown under the impending wave. Admit that a new reality is here and do something to cope with it.
Improvise. This might also involve rehearsing a response ahead of time, but commit to making do with what you have now. The situation might not be ideal. You might not have the resources or the personnel, but try to do the very best you can. Make things work! Action moves you forward giving you a sense of power and purpose. Standing still makes you more impotent and prone to being a casualty.
Choose to find some good. This might seem Pollyannaish, but it makes for psychological health. In any given situation, you can only be pre-occupied with one thought at a time. So why choose the one that makes you feel sad, depressed and lost? Why not say "OK, so I might have to change the way I do business, but I can also use this time to go back to school, complete projects I have neglected, or get a chance to interact with brand new people?"
Being deliberately resilient will make it easier to navigate those bumps when they suddenly pop up front of you unexpectedly.