Suddenly losing your job is like being in a car accident: you are tooling along at 65 mph when you unexpectedly hit a wall. It results in emotional damage if not physical and changes everything: insurance, social engagements, standard of living and a sense of security. The impact is substantial.

More than anything else, losing your job takes a toll on trust. The job loss itself is exacerbated by a feeling of betrayal that comes from those who ignore the pain you are feeling: the people that you worked with daily that you never hear from again or others that you thought were more than colleagues who did not acknowledge your departure or share any regret about your loss.

If you know someone that loses their job – no matter what the reason – treat it like they were in an accident. Reach out to them with a note or email to acknowledge their pain and wish them well. Make an effort to provide closure in a way that honors the fact that you did have a connection and that something has been lost. The messages, however brief, become airbags that protect self-esteem and allow the person in the accident to drive again.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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