029: Coping with a Job Loss with Brett Blair, PhD, Founder and President of Best Life Global

Brett Bliar Cropped for Profile Pic

It seems that every day, there’s a headline about a prominent company laying off hundreds to thousands of workers. Losing your job is a life-changing event that can negatively impact your mental and physical health. Job loss can shake your identity, security, and trust. So, what can you do to recover from losing your job?

Podcast guest, Dr. Brett Blair, explored this very topic and is here to discuss the five themes he found from his research of the job loss journey. Brett is the founder and president of Best Life Global, LLC, a high-performance coaching and organizational consulting company. 

In this episode, Brett shares how his research started and why he picked the topic of job loss. He then reveals the five key themes he discovered from the lived experience of mid-career executives losing their jobs. Brett draws parallels between these five themes and the journey he took grieving the loss of his wife. Finally, he offers some additional coaching advice for anyone on the job search.

Key Highlights:
  • Study participants were 12 Middle aged men (35-55 years old) who worked in management in a corporate environment. His study took place after the men got rehired.
  • The participants took being let go personally even though it wasn’t personal (i.e., not performance related).
  • Here were the five themes that emerged:
    • Each went through a dark journey, a period of time of sadness and doubt, fear, anxiety, shame and loss of identity (which you can’t skip over).
    • They looked back on losing their job as a blessing. Their job losses forced them to go through hard times, to unplug from a comfortable career, and learn new things. They grew as leaders, fathers, and husbands.
    • Eleven out of 12 found their next job through someone they already knew.
    • They found emotional support from their partners and children. Their families held them up. 
    • They made sure the job they ended up taking was a meaningful change (less about money and more about meaningful work). As they started making decisions about what job they were going to take, they started asking “how meaningful will this be for me?”.
  • Brett used these five themes as a roadmap through his difficult time when his wife, Kim was diagnosed with ALS.
  • Brett’s advice for those job searching:
    • Make a job out of getting a job. Keep at it until you get a job.
    • Make a list of everyone you know and reach out to them.
    • Stay healthy physically and emotionally. You create your own economy. Recognize that we live in an abundant universe.
    • Replace the word “worry” with “aware”. Take the word worry out of your vocabulary. It changes your approach and gives you power.
    • Replace the word “should” with “could”. 
    • Instead of saying “I’m busy”, say “I’m fantastic….working on some great projects.”
    Links Mentioned:

    Past episode with Brett  (Brett’s Dissertation can be found under “Publications” on his website.)

    Brett’s LinkedIn

    Full Bio:

    Dr. Brett Blair is the founder and president of Best Life Global, LLC. Headquartered in Durham, NC, Best Life Global is a high-performance coaching and organizational consulting company. Brett is also the founding partner of Sanford Rose Associates, an executive search firm based in Brighton, MI., and is a Principle with the Brentwood Advisory Group based in Chicago, IL. Brett and his team help executives improve performance at work while achieving well-being in their personal lives. 

    Prior to founding Best Life Global, Brett was employed with 3M Corporation and Alcoa in a variety of executive leadership positions, including General Manager of Alcoa’s $200M automotive electronics division headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.

    Brett holds a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, with an emphasis on applied positive psychology. Originally from Blue Springs, MO., Brett attended the University of Missouri where he earned his BS-Industrial Engineering degree. He also holds an MBA-Finance from Tennessee State University and studied at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. 

    Brett’s academic passions are in the fields of Positive Psychology and adult personal resilience. As a part of his PhD dissertation, Brett qualitatively examined the lived experience of job loss resulting from layoff for mid-career executives. The themes that emerged from this academic research proved to be beneficial on a deeply personal level as Brett soon transitioned to full-time caregiver of his wife, who was diagnosed with and then died from ALS. 

    Brett has published two books, From Autopilot to Authentic and Living at the Summit, and is currently writing his next book, Born-Live-Die.

    Brett lives in downtown Durham, NC, where he is active with his church and local community organizations. He is the past president of the Rotary Club of Research Triangle Park, a member of the RTP Capital Angel Investment Group, the American Psychological Association, and is ACC certified with the International Coaching Federation.  

    You can connect with him on: