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Critical incidents expressed by managers and professionals during their term of involuntary job loss Patterson, Heather S


This study focused on the experience of involuntary job loss for managers and professionals. Fifteen males and females provided details of their experience through in-depth interviews. The critical incident technique was used as the approach to identify the high points and low points during their term of unemployment. The most frequently reported positive incidents included interviews, positive feedback from others, support of friends, family and counselling, and lack of financial pressures. The negative incidents most frequently reported included leaving the previous employer, rejection, lost role, interviews and lost career opportunities. In addition, the research participants reported shock and relief as the two most frequent responses to the termination. When asked about whether a change in attitude to work had occurred 11 reported some change following termination. The most prominent result of this research points to the experience of unemployment as largely an individual experience, only four categories of critical incidents included incidents reported by more than 50% of the participants interviewed. Counsellors may benefit from this research which provides information particular to this group and which will assist them in determining appropriate counselling techniques and interventions.

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