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Facing the fear of redundancies in the financial sector

With a turbulent uk economy and fears of a global financial meltdown, the financial sector is seeing an unprecedented amount of redundancies. For some, layoffs are harming the mental health of workers, leaving employees feeling vulnerable with an increase in low self-esteem, anxiety, and addiction issues.

Here John Felgate, Head of Case Management at Addcounsel & Orchestrate Health looks at living with layoff anxiety and how to face the truth of the situation to protect your mental health.

John Felgate is a Recovery Manager, Interventionist and Psychotherapist as well as Head of Case Management at Addcounsel & Orchestrate Health. He had a high-flying City career spanning over 30 years, working for the most prestigious international financial institutions. However, he was a functioning addict and alcoholic in his early days and his personal experience of the unique pressures a high-net-worth lifestyle brings means John relates to CEOs, business owners and entrepreneurs as few others can.

Top 3 prevalent mental health disorders in the financial industry:

  • stress
  • anxiety
  • all forms of addiction – such as gambling, over obsessing over phones, over-exercising – obsessive nature comes out and you can see where alcohol and drug addiction comes in.

Layoffs have already had a considerable impact on bankers, causing stress and anxiety over job security. Job cuts can have an immediate effect on wellness with the fear of being made redundant putting pressure on both mental health and productivity. Even when someone survives the cuts, the impacts lay at the back of their mind.

Living with layoff anxiety

Brokers (salesman) or Traders, will be living with the fact that they’re only as good as their last month, quarter or year and when their performance drops in consecutive months, anxiety can kick in. This affects people in two ways, either it concentrates the mind, helping to provide focus or it can create exacerbated stress and anxiety. Someone who has a ‘healthy’ mindset may get through tough times with the distraction from their hobbies, family support or by leaning on anything that takes the focus away. For others with underlying mental health concerns, they may seek to find relief through alcohol, drugs, and other activities. If you don’t feel good about yourself and have low self-esteem this is where problems will arise.

Losing a job is a huge adjustment, our career often defines us and when this is taken away it can make us question our own identity and purpose in life. For many in this industry they have grown used to long workdays and nights entertaining clients and have been highly praised for their contribution and success. When this is removed unexpectedly, it’s normal to experience a lack of connection and a crippling fear of how to uphold the lifestyle they have become accustomed to.

Managing life after redundancy

John Felgate comments: “Redundancy can cause many to question, who am I? When life becomes unstructured it creates an imbalance and our self-esteem can take a knock as self-esteem is linked with our identity which is intrinsically linked with our job. Face the truth and know what you’re happy with. Embrace the lack of structure, don’t feel negative about it, it’s okay, walk with it, don’t fight for it, and hanker after something you may not be anymore. It won’t help to bury your head, if you do this and live in denial you are far more likely to distract yourself using negative means. This is when your stress and addiction can kick in. Face the truth of the situation and you are far less likely to have negative outcomes from trying to soothe yourself and not feeling what you are going through. Distraction and avoidance will only be negative for your mental health.”

Dealing with stressful workplace situations

First and foremost, in any stressful situation, the hardest part is facing it and knowing the truth of the whole matter. Repeating the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome doesn’t help. Face the truth and have a plan, ask yourself:

  • how can I work differently?
  • what changes can I make to improve my performance?
  • what am I’m doing?
  • where am I going to go and what am I going to do should I be made redundant?

Prepare and plan and talk to someone about how you’re feeling and what’s happening in your life.

Read the original article at The Director


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