I found this very interesting, and so dead on with my thoughts and feelings.
Phase 1 -- We know something “isn’t right.” A woman’s intuition is better than any radar system. We feel it. We know things aren’t going right at work.
Phase 2 – A Catastrophe happens! Maybe a lay off, some key executives leave, wages are cut, yet when these things happen, we women do nothing. We don’t question. We stay. Women are by nature nurturers. When we do look at things from both sides, we more often than not, make a conscious decision that we “owe it to everyone but ourselves” to endure… and we keep on going, keeping our commitments, keeping everyone else happy. Like the energizer bunny.
After turning a “blind eye” to the situation developing around us, thoughts begin to creep into our head. “It can’t be us, we’re not the next to go…how could it be? We care, we love, we produce results, and everyone loves us.” After all, we are the ones who have been called “indispensable,” the ones that “make it happen.”
And then we begin to think about how our lives would change should we “have to leave this place”. We’re afraid of what changes will come. We think maybe no one else will want us at another company. What if we have to take a pay cut? Will our family and friends think less of us? What if we have to take a job where the hours will be different and we won’t be able to take Ann to violin lessons or see Bobby’s little league game? And the biggie - we feel we’re letting our families down if we lose our income.
Phase 3 - The Unthinkable Happens. Our job is cut, the company closes, there is a merger or acquisition and we are “structured out” or, on a personal note, an elder parent needs us full time, or we have a sick spouse or child. Either way, the unthinkable happens. We are out of work. Now we have no choice.
Phase 4 - The False sense of security. Our husband, partner or significant other is supportive about our “taking time off.” We tell ourselves, “I’ve worked hard for years,” “I deserve a break,” “my family needs me,” “I need to regroup and decide what I want to do with my life.” Yes, that is important. We women are brutally honest with ourselves, and when asked, we admit we don’t want to look for a new job. We ARE tired, we DO deserve a break. However there is this small voice inside, playing the same tape, reciting all our fears, over and over again. It becomes paralyzing as we sit at home enjoying our well deserved break. We take the time to think. But too much thinking leads to the next phase.
Phase 5 - Pure, heart griping Fear. It can hit the very core of a woman in this situation. “What if I lose my home?” “What if my children have to do with less?”, “Will I lose everything?” “What if we can’t afford to send the kids to college?” Then the feeling takes hold…“I am letting my family down.” And then the proverbial, “What’s the matter with me?”
Phase 6 - Wallowing stage. Women “wallow” different ways. You know your own “wallow ways.” How long does this phase last? It depends on how much pressure there is financially or with family and personal relationships. What we are actually doing during this phase is establishing our own “pain threshold.” How much pain can we bear?
Phase 7 - Liberation. We decide we have had enough. It can happen in an instant. We could be standing in front of the frig or just opening our eyes from sleep and that flash of brilliance hits us. We wake up, stop feeling sorry for ourselves, and figure our way out. We take back our power. When a woman reaches this phase…watch out!
The bottom line is this - if women KNEW what to do when our job was in jeopardy, if we KNEW help was out there for us, would we take action sooner? I’m betting we would.
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