Losing Your Job Can Feel Like the Death of a Loved One

5 steps on how to move forward.

Why did I lose my job?

What did I do wrong?

I feel like a complete failure.

These words may be the exact words you have said to yourself after losing a job.

Sometimes we have a sense that we may get “let go.”

And other times it comes out of nowhere.

Losing a job can be a huge blow to our egos, mental health and our bank accounts.

It seems that as quickly as we can have success in our careers it can always take an unexpected turn.

Sometimes we spend months or years being job-less.

Or simply getting any job to make some cash but it isn’t nearly enough to the pay the bills.

Research has shown that losing a job can have a huge impact on our mental health.

Losing a job not only can increase depression and anxiety but we may go through stages of grief like any other major loss.

It can feel like a complete shock and leave us feeling very confused.

What is our next step?

What do we do tomorrow when we wake up?

How do we move forward with the residual taste of bitterness and anger?

In my own work as a personal development coach many of my clients have shared strategies that seemed to help them cope with job loss in a healthy way.

From my own personal experience of getting kicked out of the military and finding work again, I felt like a fish out of water.

We don’t have to let our mental health spiral if we practice some tools to maintain our well-being.

Here are some strategies that may benefit.

Take time to process how you feel.

Losing a job can trigger the same feelings of losing a loved one.

We may find ourselves going through the stages of grief from experiencing denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

It may be a constant rollercoaster of experiencing these emotions.

One minute we may feel 100% in full acceptance of the reality and then seconds later be angry.

Just recently a client said she wanted her former employer to feel the same pain she felt from losing her job and yet felt encouraged about a potential job opportunity ahead.

This is completely okay. And normal.

The main point here is to take time but also focus on the bigger picture.

Get support.

Don’t go about the job searching or unemployment process alone.

Get support from friends and family.

Reach out to old contacts.

Find an online forum for job loss support.

Talk to a career counselor for direction.

Start networking. Get yourself back out there.

Have someone hold you accountable.

It can be easy to fall into a depression when you are alone and in your head for too long.

Create a Routine.

When I got kicked out of the military and started searching for a job again I felt completely lost.

I didn’t have to wake up at a certain time anymore.

I didn’t have meetings to attend. I didn’t sit at lunch with my favorite group of coworkers.

And I didn’t have my schedule anymore.

It was hard.

I found creating a routine helped give me structure and purpose.

Creating a schedule of what you will do with your time off will provide a foundation to work on.

Maybe you wake up every morning at the same time and instead of going to work you start your job search or attend a networking event every day.

Whatever you do try to follow a routine that feels balanced and healthy in your transition.

Go back to the drawing board.

Sometimes after job loss we know immediately we want a similar job. And sometimes we aren’t really sure what we want anymore.

This is a perfect time to go back to your drawing board.

Brainstorm and polish up your resume.

Allow yourself to be BORED.

Re-connect to other abilities and skills you have.

Re-evaluate your life, location, needs and wants.

You may be surprised that your lifestyle is changing or you desire something completely different.

Take care of yourself.

Yeah, I know. Easier said than done.

But again this is about managing your mental health as you recover and recoup.

Re-employment obviously will make you feel more secure but in this time off recommit to your own self-care practice.

What does that look like for you?

Is it exercise? Meditation? Healthy foods?

Establishing a sleep routine?

Building a healthy relationship with yourself?

Shame and embarrassment can sometimes accompany us after job loss.

Let them have a place in your mind but allow yourself to also remember the positive traits about your work ethic.

Discover who you are again outside of work.

This is your time.

Self-help & mental health writer. Can't do small talk. Mama. Yogi. Coffee lover. Nature explorer. Get my free meditation mini-course here: www.emilystroia.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store