Outplacement coaching is aimed at executives and managers seeking employment. This socioclinical study shows to what extent the employability of outplaced people, which depends on the economic, social, and organizational context, is reduced to a psychologization of social relationships. We study how the beneficiaries of this commercial service internalize the responsibility of finding a job, and more precisely of adhering to the social norm of an employable, desirable, and competitive self. Their required involvement is constrained by the prescriptive and reflexive practices of the consultant-coaches: changing one’s attitude, mourning the past, and effectively managing one’s time and self-presentation. However, when the contradictions experienced in job loss are not elaborated in any way other than through a modeled discourse and practices, the coaching becomes paradoxical.
- paradoxical apparatus