Thoughts on coping when you lose your job
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Jan Brand MNCS (Acc) Counsellor, Supervisor, Life, Business & Executive Coach
5th June, 2009
We are reading everyday about more and more people who are losing their jobs. The recession is really taking it’s toll and it looks as if the effects will continue for some time to come.
The loss of a job can create both financial and emotional stress. It is really important to realise and to understand the effect it can have on us both mentally and emotionally. Frequently, our first reaction is one of shock and denial. We just can’t believe this has happened to us. In fact, it feels like a bereavement.
These strong emotions are often followed by stronger anger. We are angry with those who took away our job and we also frequently turn our anger onto those who are closest to us. We feel tense and can take out these angry feelings on our family and friends. Snapping at them and pushing them away when they try to help. We also frequently experience depression as we start to question our own worth and abilities – why did the employer let us go – weren’t we good enough?
These are all normal reactions and the sooner we can accept them as part of a process the sooner we will be able to create a new working life.
Whilst going through this time try to avoid any extra stress and share your feelings with your family and friends, this will enable them to understand any changes in you and your behaviour towards them. It will also open the way to their helping you find the way forward.
Try to stop looking back. Take your time to assess the position and the possible ways ahead, as it is all too easy to rush into something new and to make a mistake. Set yourself some future goals and consider whether you would benefit from further education or looking into a change of career.
Look to your network of family, friends and acquaintances and see if they can help you with your search. They may know somebody who could assist you, they may have heard of a vacancy or they may have a suggestion that you haven’t thought of as yet.
As I have said earlier, it is vital not to dwell on the past but to focus on the future. However, the trauma of losing a job can be very difficult to deal with and if you are feeling overwhelmed do consider seeking professional help with stress management and career guidance. Remember counsellors and coaches are trained to help people deal with loss and to move on with their lives.
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