The Personal Side of Job Loss

Not to sound pessimistic, but sooner or later, almost everyone has to deal with the implications of being downsized. How people deal with it is as different as night and day. I’ve seen a wide and varied range of emotions and responses from those who experience job loss. How you deal with it can determine how quickly you turn-around and your ability to capture opportunities in front of you.

But before you jump into a full-blown job search campaign, you’ll need to deal with the personal impacts of job loss. For many, the sense of loss extends far beyond a means to earn income, and may include:

Loss of Attachments – This includes your family-like relationships with co-workers and the organization. You spend between eight to ten hours a day at work.  Often co-workers become mentors, supporters, best-friends. While the relationships are not severed, they are bound to change with the loss of the job that was the common ground and put you in proximity every day.

Loss of Your “Turf” – For many, the loss of an environment where your expertise was  valued and your reputation established is even more upsetting than the loss of personalized work space or office.

Loss of Structure and Routine – Without the daily tasks and deadlines that were defined by your job, many feel a loss of purpose.

Loss of Future Plans – Without a regular paycheck, your future plans may need to be adjusted – vacations, large purchases, moving. These plans may need to be put on hold until you feel you are on more solid ground.

Loss of Sense of Control – The realization that you are not always the master your own destiny and do not have complete control over your life can exacerbate self doubt and stress. 

My advice - realize grief is good. Grief is a healthy response to losing something or someone of value in your life.  Recognizing and taking your grief seriously is an important way to treat yourself with kindness and respect.

Once you’ve dealt with the fear and frustration of losing a job, it’s time to prepare for the next step in your life. If the next step is getting another job, it may not be easy but you can do it. Be aware that looking for a new job can be challenging, especially if you haven’t been in the job market for a long time. However, I often say to my clients – “if you have been highly successful in your career – you don’t know much about job searching. Successful professionals never do – but they learn.”