We live in difficult times, the global COVID-19 pandemic is impacting us all and for some this means being made redundant, or laid off. The numbers are scary; over 750,000 jobs already lost in the UK alone, with a third of companies saying they still intend to cut jobs; almost a million jobs lost in Australia, and estimates of up to 45 million job losses in the US. The United Nation’s International Labour Organization estimated in June that working hours fell 14 per cent during the second quarter of 2020 – equivalent to the loss of 400 million full-time jobs.
Sometimes, when we look at such big numbers, we lose site of the individual human impact. The stress of trying to provide for one’s family, the feelings of rejection, the sense of loss and the damage to normally strong relationships, to name just a few.
A few months ago, a small group of us were talking about how many of our connections on LinkedIn were ‘looking for new opportunities’. We recognised that there is a lot of advice (some free, much needing to be paid for) on the technical aspects of finding a new job. Things such as help with CVs/resumes, how to improve your on-line presence or interview skills. What we did not see was people offering psychological and emotional support.
We decided to do something about it.
The aim of Head Jam is to create a peer to peer support community for people who are facing redundancy, are unemployed or are transitioning into a new role.
It is a voluntary site and we were clear from the beginning that it would not be a marketplace. All resources and articles are free and we encourage people to share their experiences, good and bad, so that others can see that they are not alone.
The first thing we want people to acknowledge is that it is OK to feel anxious, concerned, sad, bewildered, angry, upset, lost, and frustrated. These are perfectly normal responses.
The second thing we want people to realise is that they are not alone. We want them to know that people care. Since we launched, we have seen many examples of people reaching out, providing moral & practical support, sharing networks and providing advice.
Thirdly and possible most important we want to show people that they do not need to be stuck in this situation. It is possible to take back control, ‘reframe’ their thinking and move forward. Even when people are at their lowest point, with the right support, it is possible to work towards a brighter future.
The articles we provide on Head Jam are designed to bolster understanding of the emotional and psychological impact of being made redundant, or laid off (such ominous words), being unemployed or moving into a new role.
We help people to recognise that whilst change is something that happens ‘to’ us, transition is what happens emotionally and mentally as we go through a change. Transition is an internal process and by understand why we are feeling the way we do, and that what we are going through is entirely normal, we can navigate our way through more effectively.
Typical content includes articles such as:
Developing a compassionate mind during times of stress”, which explains how people can be more open about their emotions.
And useful tools such as:
“Personal SWOT analysis”, which helps people recognise their Strengths Weakness, Opportunities and Threats and helps people become more focused in how they look to the future.
Our message is positive, but we do not shy away from difficult emotions. We recognise that when we have taken a big emotional hit taking back control can be difficult. We don’t tell people “be confident”, our ethos is to try and help people develop, or rebuild their self-confidence.
We want people to reach out and join our community – a community that consists of like-minded people who share a passion for helping people develop the psychological and emotional skills and competencies needed to thrive not just survive challenging events.
Its okay to fail …it is not okay to quit trying (we can show you how to develop the mindset of someone who doesn’t quit).
Our content is always backed by good science or the latest research.
What the Future Holds
We created HeadJam.co.uk to be the community that people who use it need it to be. We are not experts in social media, marketing, or websites. We just want to help any way we can, but we need people to join us and help shape Head Jam into something that is genuinely great.
Rule One of HeadJam.co,uk is that we are NOT a Marketplace, we welcome volunteers and contributors and we will always acknowledge contributions. We want to harness the true potential of Linkedin to create a supportive community that helps get people through these difficult times.
What you can do to join or support us:
- Come find us at https://www.linkedin.com/company/headjam-co-uk
- Engage and comment on our content
- Share you own stories
- Share the site with your networks so we can reach as many people as possible
If you want to contribute or volunteer to get more involved contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
Glen Ridgway was in constant employment for 25 years. In 2019 he suddenly found himself being laid off. After the initial shock he decided that this was the right time to do something new and very scary. He set himself up as an independent workplace mental health consultant. It has been a difficult road, with many highs and lows (made bumpier by COVID-19). Glen has a lived history of mental illness, but despite this he has maintained his focus and positivity with the support of friends and family.