Stress – Relief

You know the feeling when there seems to be a knot in the pit of your stomach? That stressful feeling. For me, this time, that feeling was caused by the end of the redundancy negotiations.

As a registered nurse during the time when there was a global shortage of nursing staff, I would never have believed that any company would be sacking 35 nurses. When this news was dropped on us in the early days of January this year, it was completely surreal.

That day marked the beginning of six weeks of uncertainty, of motivational ups and downs, and also perhaps the biggest amount of stress I have had since time immemorial.

That six weeks came to an end yesterday, when the cuts were announced. In the end, the company had to sack six nurses as so many of us had packed and left during this negotiation period. Some left because they got better jobs, some quit because the work environment was, and still is, poorly managed and non-appreciative. Some left because they couldn’t handle the amount of stress that this situation put them through.

The sad and annoying thing is that I already strongly suspect that nothing will change after this. The archaic style of management with the lack of willingness to improve the work and the procedures in place… that is a recipe for getting badly stuck in time.

I have been stressed before, and I have suffered a burnout before. Last time, when I was on a longer sick leave because of these symptoms, was I asked if I was feeling well enough to be thrown back into the deep end immediately or should there be a period of easing back to the hectic work. What do you think?

Now, having seen this redundancy stress period and the outcome of it, I have to say I don’t expect miracles or miraculous recovery for anyone – not me, not my colleagues who continue work, not my colleagues who got a sack… Apparently, based on the information from our employer, for us it is “back to normal, now.”

But is it really just back to normal?

These redundancy negotiations have a bad way to rip the work community apart and cause a lack of trust in the employer – employee relationship. And therein lies the challenge of getting back to normal.

Starting from today, there needs to be a period of bridge building, of people acknowledging that they feel bad about their colleagues who got the sack and relieved because they themselves didn’t. People need to start reconnecting with each other whilst understanding that in the coffee table, there are the empty seats of those who left and of those who got kicked out.

At the same time, those who have been ripped off from the community will face their harrowing feelings of sadness, loss, unworthiness, and fury. They, too, need to work their feelings past this shock and stress, to be able to reconnect with their friends from work. Because work friendships can also turn to friendships.

For some of us, leaving is still a very tempting option. Now is also the time for the employer to show us how far they are willing to go to keep us. In an ideal world, we would see emotional support, a pay rise to appreciate our experience, and free breakfast at the office. But as we all know that we don’t live in an ideal world, we can only expect the appreciation.

From now onwards, the whole situation will change for the work community. The company, of course, did this to bring up the shareholders’ profits but also to stay afloat. At the same time, we who continue our work will be facing increased workload, which has been too high for the past several years anyway. So nothing changes. What I am afraid of is not that, but instead the attitude of “you should be silent and thankful that you got to keep your job.

Of course, we should be happy to have a job, but… and there was the magic work: happy. If this is leading down the path of just being thankful and stressed, that will not be good, and it will lead to more resignations.

Just yesterday, I noticed a news saying that Finland needs 16.000 registered nurses and 8.800 practical nurses. And if the employer side continues to think that the employees need to be thankful for a job, that will lead to disaster.

On that note, I am willing to discuss job offers with good salary and proper management in HR and consultant field. 😉

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