How to deal with shock of retrenchment and regain control of your life

A survey by labour specialist Adcorp shows that 36,290 jobs were lost in 2014 due to a weak economy. Most of them were in manufacturing and construction.

According to psychologist, Dr Helgo Schomer, retrenchments happen unexpectedly leaving those affected stressed and traumatised. He says there is an element of embarrassment and stigma that is attached to retrenchment.

People panic and sometimes lose the plot when they get retrenched

Dr Helgo Schomer, resident psychologist

Most of us likened retrenchment to divorce, it is unexpected, trust is broken, there is loss and grief, and closure is very difficult to attain

Dr Helgo Schomer, resident psychologist

An average employee in South Africa supports seven to twelve dependents says Dr Schomer, and when retrenched, the dependents are also affected.

Dr schomer says it is completely natural to feel resentment and anger towards the company that did this to you.

He says once you transcend from the "why me" into saying "its their loss", you would've made a huge step towards regaining your footing.

When you find yourself in this situation, Dr schomer says you need to be reminded of your worth. You need to surround yourself with people who are supportive and loving. Family is very important during this times, he says.

Once you get over the shock and grieving, begin to network and start to look again

Dr Helgo Schomer, resident psychologist

I got retrenched ten years ago and still haven't gotten over it, it makes you feel old, unwanted and a failure to your family. You get the feeling of rejection from your colleagues, people you worked with for 21 years, you feel like an outcast

Tom, Caller in Somerset West

Listen to the full conversation below:


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