Relationship Advice for Worried Professionals

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It goes without saying that being laid off is one of the most stress-filled moments in a person's life. Far and beyond the mental and financial toll on the laid off banking professional, the impact on personal relationships can be significant. Maintaining those ties-with a spouse, partner, or even one's cadre of friends-can certainly be hard when you're in the midst of a meltdown. But preserving those connections can be key to surviving a threat of layoff and the actual layoff itself.

Sitting on the Precipice-If the warning of mass layoffs to come looms over your head, it's hard not to let that anger and frustration trickle over to work and home. In an interview with eFinancialCareers, Michael Klaybor, a licensed psychotherapist, coach and employee assistance program consultant, says, "The rumbling of bad news creates psychologically uncertainty."

Those who are left behind after a layoff are often working harder, he adds, and they remain worried about their own future. There's still a level of anxiety and, often, survivor guilt, for those who are left standing, says Klaybor. He's counseled managers who are finding it hard to deal with the pain of telling trusted underlings they are being let go.

Take Action

When available, in-house employee assistance programs (EAPs) can be a lifeline for worried professionals. Generally, EAPs provide employees with such things as free confidential counseling, stress management, human resource policy help, and grief support, and most of the larger banks and financial services firms have employee assistance programs in place. And, says Klaybor, despite their availability, many financial professionals are often hesitant to seek out the services available to them.

For those thinking layoffs are just around the corner, it can be helpful to use EAP services and get a jump on the situation. Depending on the employer, the EAP office may be available to employees for a limited time post-layoff. Klaybor advises that people seek out EAP for help navigating and negotiating a personal and professional plan for "change management".

What to Say & When to Say it

Part of dealing with change means the possibility of breaking the bad news to your loved ones. It's best to be honest and warn your significant others that a layoff is possible, if you know about it beforehand.

If you happen to be one of the unlucky ones, Klaybor cautions that those laid off can't "disenfranchise" their spouse or partner from talking about the dreadful news. "This is the time to talk to family." It's hard to suffer in silence, and that's when the anxiety and stress can leak out in more ominous ways, he warns.

"Communication can't be harsh. You can't continually explode." Alternately, laid off workers can't operate in a cave or silo. He says, "You have to work as a team. As difficult as it may be, you still have to find time to focus on being a couple".

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