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Coping with a Sudden Job Loss
Sudden change invariably incurs some immediate negative consequences – emotional, financial, professional, etc. It also provides opportunity for introspection (once you’ve resolved the emotions of the separation) and planning for the next phase of your life.


Life is very much what you make of it. Be open to change. Be flexible in accepting new opportunities. If you consider a layoff as remarkably detrimental, it likely will be. My experience with these types of events is that they generally provide good opportunities for growth. Like most transformational events, these require pressure, heat and time. Typically unpleasant to experience, it never-the-less remains effective. Recently, someone signed off an email to me with “grace and gratitude”. We generally experience so little of this in our interactions with others. Having an abundance of each will serve you immeasurably well in whatever endeavor you next embrace.

He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him, has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation. He who chooses his plan for himself employs all his faculties. He must use observation to see, reasoning and judgment to foresee, activity to gather materials for decision, discrimination to decide, and when he has decided, firmness and self-control to hold to his deliberate decision (John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859)


Following is an overview on D.A.N.G.E.R. as an acronym for the cycle of coping with unexpected change. It may help others understand the process from a psychological perspective. Knowledge often creates a bridge to understanding and from there new opportunities emerge.

A search for the origination of this acronym proved fruitless, so I attribute it to the ubiquitous ‘Anonymous’ as it entered my consciousness many years ago, but without any recollection of who, when or where.

DENIAL: characterized by the failure to respect and accept the aspects of change.

ANGER:overviews the actions and conduct of an undisciplined mind during the trial.

NUMBNESS: details the evolution during a period of transition from anger to grief where recognition of the change (though not acceptance) occurs.

GRIEF: the span of emotional and mental recovery including detachment from a past that could not be recovered, the level-setting of expectations and acquiescence to transformation.

EQUILIBRUM: the stage of transition from past paradigms to new, unconsidered beginnings.

RECOVERY: final acceptance, growth and evolution exemplified by comprehension of reinvigorated realities and new horizons.

Freedom exists, as it always does, within ourselves. We must have equal measures of intelligence, wisdom and courage to embrace the paradigm that realities are self-created and limitations not coincidentally of our own choosing. The world is as we make it and transformational periods often require pressure, heat and time. Though often uncomfortable, something uniquely different and generally stronger results from it. Accepting transformation as an opportunity to become tomorrow what we are not today is an imperative for those who would walk in wisdom.


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