What happens to our emotions when we navigate a transition? 

This is what we’ll allow ourselves to identify, the personal change curve. 

John Fisher, a specialist in business psychology, presented a model that allows us to understand the emotional stages that people go through to adapt to their new reality.

What do we feel when losing a job

When they tell us that we are going to lose a job or that a restructuring is going to be done, we may arrive at a state of anxiety, which is accompanied, in most cases, with an emotion of fleeting happiness.

The human being is so incredible that it brings us to a positive emotion at the beginning of the transition to protect us from what is coming and thus buy time for emotional preparation.

The body and mind are giving us time to adjust, and that is where we should take advantage of making the largest amount of deposits in our emotional account.

This is the best time to bring positive people and thoughts into our life and recognize our achievements and strengths. Fill up the tank with emotional and mental fuel to handle our emotions. 

How to handle emotions

As time passes by – probably a few days or weeks – fear, threat, and feelings of guilt begin to arrive.

It is when we begin to create the “if I had…” thoughts, that the negative emotions which generate anguish and levels of anxiety arise.

the curve of personal change during a job transition
the curve of personal change

Finally, when we fall to the bottom and begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel on the curve of personal change, we see the future and focus on how things can work.

It is important to talk with people who lived through these experiences, as they themselves can understand and empathize more with what we are experiencing.

When we are in the job transition, three circumstances are bound to happen. We can avoid 2 out of those 3, but at least one of them is impossible.


The first scenario is denial. That deceptive feeling or thought that paralyzes us towards the action of getting a new job.

It may also be the case that they continue to “lower the emotions”, that they are so negative that they generate passive resistance, hostility, or in other cases, reach disappointment.

These three: denial, disappointment, and hostility are situations that can occur along the curve of personal change. 

What can I do then?

Bringing positive thoughts, recognizing and accepting my emotions, strengthening your support system with the help of close people and very importantly, accepting that navigating this curve is inevitable.

Thus, understanding each stage and which of the three paths I take my emotions is key, in order to work on each efficiently and with care.