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Coping with job loss

Submited by- Team Sitagita on 22 Jul, 2011 CAREER  WORKING WOMEN  

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Coping with job loss

Losing a job can be one of the most devastating personal crises of a lifetime. Unemployment, divorce, and the death of a loved one, are considered to be the most stressful and potentially debilitating events that an individual ever experiences. Although financial decline is a serious issue, the blow to one`s ego is even more difficult to face. The losses include:

  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Loss of daily routine
  • Loss of purposeful activity
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of predictability and sense of security.

Like any other calamitous event however, the job loss crisis can present an opportunity for growth. Commitment and diligence are required to transform present pain into future positive outcomes. There are several emotional stages you must work through, to reach the more positive frame of mind that you need, to re-enter the workplace. These stages of coping are necessary to achieve resolution of job loss.


The first reactions to loss are pain, fear and lowered self esteem. A denial of these feelings serves to cushion the discomfort temporarily. Acknowledging these feelings can be a helpful first step toward making efforts to cope successfully. In recognizing the need to boost self confidence, a plan of action will mobilise your resources. You can ask friends and family for help and support. You cannot easily approach a job interview while feeling depressed, angry, bitter, discouraged or fearful. Dealing openly and honestly with appropriate persons, can free up positive emotional energy for job-seeking tasks. It might be helpful to talk about the circumstances and events leading up to the loss of your job with a friend, a loved one, a professional counsellor or a support group. Sometimes, keeping a journal can help to put such an experience into perspective.

Ask Yourself The Following:

  • What actually has made me lose my job?
  • How did I receive news of the lay-off.?
  • How did I react to the news?
  • How long was I in that particular job?
  • What was my relationship with my boss, my subordinates, my colleagues?

Seeking Support and Help

It is not unusual for a person to be depressed after losing a job. The depression is temporary if you get busy and take control of your future. Don`t hesitate to share what has happened to you with people you know and ask for good job leads.

Venting Anger and Resentment

Letting go of bitterness and anger is essential for resolving any personal crisis. Healthy ways of dealing with frustration include vigorous physical exercise, volunteering time for community activities, tackling postponed home tasks, etc. Running, swimming, raking, painting, and sweeping are good outlets and give you a sense of accomplishment in the bargain.


The initial shock of a job loss may bring about `tunnel vision.` All you can see are the negative aspects of your situation. Even though it was a very important source of self-esteem and income, your former job could not have offered all the things in life which are important to you. Try to make a conscious effort to think about other rewarding aspects of life which are truly of value. This is the time to reassess your strengths, weaknesses and interests if you are to gain the confidence and optimism necessary for starting over again. This may turn out to be an important turning point for positive changes.

Impact on the Family

For children, the a parent losing his job represents a significant change in their world. Children as well as adults need to go through a grief process. Children are perceptive. It is usually futile to try to keep such information from them. Without knowing the source of adult unhappiness, a child might feel responsible for the sadness or anger. It is important for all members of the family to talk together and help each other while a parent is between jobs. Children can be understanding and supportive when they know they are not to blame.

Strategies to Maintain Financial Stability

Investigate severance pay and other benefits to which you may be entitled; such as outplacement services, an office and phone to use while looking for a job, and the continuation of health insurance benefits. Request agreements about pay-out schedules in writing.

Other pointers are: Notify creditors of your current situation. A flexible payment schedule might be arranged. Apply for unemployment benefits which are available to you if you lost a job through no fault of your own. Check with your local jurisdiction for other requirements. Follow a daily schedule    work on resumes, make calls, do research, set up interviews for at least six hours a day. Be good to yourself    eat well, exercise, have fun, get adequate rest. Focus on possibilities and accomplishments, not on failures.

Courtesy: COPE, Inc.

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