At the Cheltenham Literature Festival in October last year, I met Sue Christy, a trauma consultant and critical incident responder, to learn about her work in the aftermath of a traumatic event in the workplace. Sue specialises in working with employers, large and small, helping them to respond when the worst thing happens. Shock, panic and fear can all make a bad situation even worse and fast – hence the need for Sue’s role – someone to dampen the flames before they take hold.
Over coffee, Sue told me that, ‘a death by suicide has the longest tail of all’, with potentially far-reaching consequences for employees, the employers and the wider community. The time immediately after a suicide at work are ‘the golden hours’ – a time to pause before following a postvention plan – and it’s well understood that a clear plan followed, will help everyone – and prevent unnecessary trauma and retraumatisation in the workforce. Sue’s article, ‘The silence of a suicide at work’, shines a light on both good and bad practice. I hope it encourages more workplaces to get their postvention plans in place.
I’m happy to admit that one of the joys of my job is having conversations with people about their work. This issue, in ‘My workplace’, I talk to Juliette Moxham, a former headteacher, who shares her experience of life after counselling training. Since we last heard from Juliette, she has established herself as a newly qualified counsellor, is working as an affiliate with the public sector workforce, and bringing her considerable organisational experience to the client work. It’s important to me that BACP Workplace represents the voices of therapists at different points in our professional journeys – and reflecting on her training, Juliette reminds us on page 14 of just how hard we have to work to get here.
What is stopping employers from reimagining what a career life cycle looks like? That’s the question that Jane Moffett asks in her latest article as she explores the cycles of life experienced by women when it comes to their career and life choices. Quite a lot it seems.
It’s the topic of a new book written by author and leadership coach, Dr Lucy Ryan, called Revolting Women: why midlife women are walking out and what to do about it. I heard Lucy speak at the Cheltenham Literature Festival to a packed room, as she explained why there is a mass exodus of women over the age of 50 who are leaving corporate life in their droves to do many other important things. It’s a corrosive story of ageism and sexism told with wit, outrage and hope.
I hope you enjoy this issue.
Editor, BACP Workplace