Lessons during a workplace restructure

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A workplace restructure is never pleasant and even if it was one that you were anticipating, it still inevitably leaves an undesirable taste in your mouth. People get hurt, lose not just their jobs but also a little confidence and morale plummets.

I learnt many lessons during my personal experience of a restructure. As I reflect on the last several months and what I, and others went through, here are my main takeaways.

Trusting the journey

Trusting the journey can mean different things to different people. And while I’m a little new age and believe that there are greater forces at work, I also believe in being active in the present. The adage that the future is unpredictable is especially useful during workplace restructures, or at least in my personal experience. Having exhausted myself from initially attempting to map out all possible scenarios – which did nothing for my emotional health – I quickly learnt that while I could not control the outcomes of the restructure, I could control what I chose to do with the time I had in the present. So instead of taking a passive role in my journey, I diverted my energy to doing things that would serve me well whatever the outcome. This included continuing to upskill myself through self-study, ensuring I was in a good and healthy place mentally and physically, and nourishing myself by being with supportive, loved ones.

Support, don’t speculate

In a space where the average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime, there’s no avoiding relationship building. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that great friendships are formed in workplaces. In this case, the eventuality of friends and/or colleagues discussing the situation at hand will simply just happen. On many levels, we are simply striving to understand and be understood, whatever our individual position or perspective may be. However, as sincere as the intention may be, this form of support can very quickly turn unhealthy and negative leading to speculation that ultimately serves no one. Worry, insecurity and fear can easily tip the scale, and in a situation where we are struggling to grasp and understand, someone (anyone) will ultimately become the villain. This brings me to my next lesson.

Always be kind

There is a famous quote by Plato, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” If I had to choose the biggest lesson out of the last three months, it would be to always be kind. It is so easy and convenient to succumb to our anxieties, fears and insecurities. Especially so, in a situation of potential unemployment. Admittedly, I shared many similar concerns as my colleagues; what if I didn’t find another job? Will my family be okay on a single income? What if I saved more in the last year? The more I thought about these questions, the more irritable and angry I would become. My patience wore thin and I found it really hard to be living values and principles that were important to me. However through love, support and reminders from family, friends and colleagues reminded me that a smile and kind words go a long way in helping one another through tough times.

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