How to Survive a Job Loss

Losing a job basically sucks. It’s a debilitating experience that takes an emotional and financial toll. Many experts rank the experience as similar to going through a divorce and just below the death of a spouse.

Your job isn’t just something you do. It’s inextricably tied to who you are. The work you do and the people you work with can provide a deep sense of belonging. Now more than ever, certain jobs – like those labeled as “essential” positions that recognize all the brave men and women who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to serve the greater community – provide a deep sense of service and contribution to society; and when you go “above and beyond” the expectations of your job in a way that directly benefits your employer, you experience a great sense of achievement and personal growth.

When you really break down all the ways a job contributes to your sense of self and productivity, it’s easy to see that a job can be much more than a paycheck. That’s why a sudden job loss hits so hard and leave you feeling uncertain, lost, depressed, and defeated; not to mention any financial implications.

Processing your emotional response to any loss is the key to moving past it. These steps can help get you moving forward so you’re ready to embrace your next job opportunity.

Talk It Out

Find someone you trust to talk about what you’re going through and how you feel. As I mentioned before, processing a job loss involves a grieving process; and this process typically include the following stages:

  • Shock (“How could this happen to me?”)
  • Anger (“I was completely loyal to that company and this is the thanks I get?”)
  • Resistance/Bargaining (“I’ll talk to someone about this to see if I can convince them to reconsider.”)
  • Acceptance (“I really need to get on top of finding a new job now.”)
  • Help (“I need to find someone to help me write my resume and/or find a job.”

Get Closure

A smooth transition to your next opportunity depends on your ability to achieve the closure necessary to move forward. A few questions to consider:

  • Is there a co-worker, client, vendor, etc. that you’d like to say goodbye to; or maintain a relationship with?
  • What is the best way to maintain this relationship(s) going forward?
  • Is there anyone you need to forgive or apologize to?
  • Are you prepared to embrace the changes to come and move forward?

Get Support

Don’t shut everyone out while licking your wounds. Surround yourself with people that really care about you to provide support as you move through the disappointment to listen to you, distract you, and remind you that another opportunity will come.

Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash