Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable.
Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.
Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out.
Depression stage: Final realization of the inevitable.
Testing stage: Seeking realistic solutions.
Acceptance stage: Finally finding the way forward.
Most people resist changes, it is part of our primitive brain which triggers the release of all the stress hormones to prepare the body for the unknown and the fight or fly mode.
For example, repatriation can be very brutal and stressful, much more difficult than expected. In my experience, very few repatriation cases are success stories. Usually, returning “home” equal loss of status and independence, lower salary and benefits. Beside the materialistic losses, it is really hard for the repatriate to “fit in” again in an organization that does not care about your experience abroad despite all the positive changes you made for your company and yourself. It is not rare that the repatriate quits his job or get fired within the first year of repatriation.
The emotional roller-coaster described in the Grief Cycle can be very similar if you loose a loved one or your job. It is important to recognize and acknowledge where you are in the process and seek specific help.
Planning ahead is not always possible however if you are aware of the risks before embarking in your expatriation journey, I suggest you start the first days of expatriation identifying and cultivating your existing connections, build new networks, seek for friendship and professional support, look at added-value trainings and keep good relationships with colleagues left “home”. When expatriation is over, maybe take this as an opportunity for a career change or consolidate your value proposition among recruiters and people in your networks. With unemployment rates skyrocketing, lay-off can happen to anybody, expatriate or not and knowing the Grief Cycle may help you getting the right support.