Losing a job can be one of the most devastating personal experiences in life. Unemployment, divorce, and the death of a loved one are considered to be the most stressful events that an individual ever experiences. Although loss of income is serious, the blow to one’s self-esteem is even more difficult to face.
The losses include:
Like any other dramatic event, job loss presents an opportunity for growth and discovery. Commitment and diligence are required to transform present pain into future positive outcomes. There are several emotional stages you must work through to have the positive frame of mind you need to re-enter the workplace and recognize opportunities as they appear.
The first reactions to loss are pain, fear and lowered self-esteem. Next, denial of these feelings serves to cushion the discomfort temporarily. You cannot however, approach a new opportunity while feeling depressed, angry, bitter, discouraged, fearful or unaware.
Let go. Healthy ways of letting go of anger and resentment include vigorous physical exercise, volunteering in your community, and tackling postponed home tasks. These activities give you a sense of accomplishment while diminishing harmful levels of stress on your body.
Acknowledge feelings - that is the first step toward coping successfully. Begin to put the experience into perspective and your energy will return. You’ll want to take control of your future. Ask trusted, patient friends and family to listen and talk things through. Find support groups in your community and a professional counselor. Keep a journal - for some, writing your thoughts down helps to put such an experience into perspective.
The goal is to free up positive energy so that you can find a new, satisfying job.
The initial shock of a job loss may bring about “tunnel vision” - all you see are the negative aspects of your situation. Your former job could not have offered all the things in life which are important to you? Think about other rewarding aspects of life which are meaningful. Reassess your strengths, weaknesses and interests to gain the confidence and direction you need to start down a new path. Choose to make positive changes.
A parent’s job loss represents a significant change in a child’s world, but it is usually futile to keep such information from them. Children are highly perceptive. Without knowing the source of adult unhappiness, a child may feel responsible for the parent’s sadness or anger.
It is important for all members of the family to talk and help each other while a parent is between jobs. Children can be understanding, supportive and surprisingly resilient when they know they are not to blame.
Investigate severance pay and other benefits to which you may be entitled with your manager and Human Resources Department. Ask about outplacement services that provide an office and phone that you can use while looking for a job and continuation of health benefits. Look for a temporary job, realizing it is just that…temporary, until you can get back on your feet.