Coping with bombshells like ‘Don’t come Monday’

By psychologist Angie Willcocks

“Call after Christmas” and “Don’t come Monday”.

After years in a resources boom, it’s hard to believe miners are hearing phrases like this. But even in Australia, we’re not immune to workplace doubt, uncertainty and downsizing. As one Mining Family Matters reader wrote this month: “It’s become a common trend over the last few months, among our friends and fellow ‘casual’ working miners, to get what has become affectionately known as CAC (call after Christmas) or DCM (don’t come Monday), both of which put a massive spanner in the works. In seven years of mining this has never come up before…”

Although we don’t like to think about it, much of our life is pretty uncertain at any given moment. Most of us organise our lives to ensure as much predictability and control as possible. As humans we thrive on a sense of security – and our families, friends, home and work usually provide this. Things can get pretty tough emotionally when we’re unsure about any one of these areas. And because work affects so many other areas of our life (like financial security of our families) workers with insecure or uncertain work arrangements are likely to feel stressed and anxious. Symptoms like muscle tension, irritability, shortness of breath, headaches, sleep difficulties, appetite disturbance and excessive worry are common. Close relationships are likely to be negatively affected, and research shows that workers who feel insecure about their employment and often unhappy at work and less productive (not surprisingly!) Obviously it’s not good for this to be a long-term arrangement, and it’s ideal for both worker and employer if the situation becomes more secure sooner rather than later.

Plan of attack

In the meantime, here are some tips to cope emotionally with job insecurity or uncertainty:

Forced to look for a new job? Here’s our careers specialist Therese Lardner’s advice on how to do it right.

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