Someone You Care About Has Just Lost Their Job

by Kevin MacDonald
As a chapter leader, a club manager or as a human being you have an amazing opportunity to make a difference in a life when someone you care about has just lost their job. If you have lost a job, you know what I am talking about.

As the coach for CMAA, I get the opportunity to work with many people who are going through the experience of moving forward from a job loss. The fact that I know what it feels like to be in this position helps. Early in my career I was managing a restaurant for a large restaurant chain that was bought out by another large chain. Within two years all of the managers from the first chain were gone; I was the last to go. I remember the sting of losing my job and the way that I took it very personally even though I could understand why none of the acquired managers were still employed.  But the thing I remember the most was that nobody called. All of the people that I had built friendships with, my colleagues from other locations in the chain, and the people who worked for me all seemed to be avoiding me like I had the plague.

Years later I became the manager of a golf and country club. I joined CMAA, became very involved with my chapter, got involved as a chapter leader and served as the president of our chapter. When I was the president of the chapter we had five people lose their job in our chapter and I remember how important it was for me to make sure they felt supported. Those five people are all close friends to this day.

When I lost my job as a club manager it was very different from the experience I had earlier in my career at the restaurant chain. The first time I spoke to my chapter in the role of a former club manager who had become an executive coach I looked at the roster of attendees that had signed up for the meeting. Out of twenty seven attendees present, twenty six had done something for me when I lost my job. Some called me on the phone, some invited me out for lunch, some invited me to play golf, and some sent me a card. I had one person who said, “Kevin, this is how it is going to work; I am going to call you once a week to talk to you, support you or do whatever I can, until you tell me you don’t need me to.”  I had one friend who called and said, “I just want you to listen, I don’t want you to respond when I say what I am about to say.” He said “If you find yourself in a situation where you need money, just call me and tell me how much and I will send a check.”  (By the way, the one person on that day’s roster who hadn’t supported me when I lost my job had just moved into town the week before and we hadn’t met yet.)

I have had the opportunity to write many articles for CMAA but the one that I had the most feedback from was entitled “Congratulations you’ve lost your job!” It is an article that helps someone in transition to understand that they are accountable for managing the energy it takes to create or be ready for the next opportunity. I would encourage you to read it and pass it on to the person you are supporting if you think it will help. It is available in the reference section of my website.
It is also available on Clubnet in the Outlook archives.

One of the most powerful ways you can support in this situation is to just listen.

Genuine listening means suspending memory, judgment and desire and for a moment at least existing entirely for the other person.

Imagine what you might hear if you listen in this way, whether you are listening to someone who has just lost a job or to a member complaint. Trust me; in a time of transition a phone call from you and some genuine listening can speed up the process of preparing for the next thing for the person who has lost their job.

Maybe instead of being the person who listens to your colleague in a very deep way your role might be as one who shows they care and is interested and suggests that they use the coaching services that are part of their CMAA membership. A lot of members are not aware that they have the benefit of getting one to three coaching sessions at no charge. Now that I have been coaching at conferences for the past five years I have many members that I have helped through a transition period referring me to their friends that are going through the same process.

Here is a radical thought. If you truly want to help the person it may not mean helping them to get a job in the club business. Jim Singerling once said that when one of our colleagues loses their job we often help them get another job because we know them socially and want to help, but we may not really know what they are like as managers. His point was that sometimes we help bad managers or unethical managers get jobs and we may be hurting our own profession. It is possible that our friends might be brilliantly suited for some other kind of challenge. It is my job as the CMAA’s coach to help them figure that out.

Maybe the best thing you can do is care about them and show interest. If you can set up an environment where they can build up their energy, learn about resources and be heard you will have done something significant. Your job is not to solve their problem but to support them in finding their opportunities.

I can tell you from experience, if you are interested in doing that you may be making a difference in someone’s life that will never be forgotten.

Kevin MacDonald
Clarity Success Coaching
Contact Kevin by phone at 604-507-1288
Or send your question to him via email
[email protected]

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