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Productively Grieving Job Loss

Losing a job is brutal whether it is expected or a complete surprise. It’s hard to say which situation is worse, the surprise layoff or the long dreaded firing.

During times like these a lot of emotions rush over you one right after the other.  They may include fear, anger, outrage, bewilderment, relief, sadness, frustration, confusion and powerlessness.  As you walk to the car a giant worry floats into your mind as you wonder what your spouse will say.  How will your extended family and friends react?  How will you live?  How much will unemployment pay?  Are you going to lose everything?

You go home and deal with telling your spouse.  Now your spouse is feeling all of the emotions you felt earlier.  Most likely your spouse wants reassurance that everything is going to be all right, just at the time when you want someone to reassure you.  It is not uncommon for fear and anger to speak during this initial conversation causing psychological damage to yourself or damage to the relationship.

You rapidly spiral into depression. You might feel that no one believes in you and why should they? You just lost your job.  Or you might not feel anything at all except a sense of unreality.  These things must be happening to someone else.

What needs to happen next is for you to go through the grief process.  Everyone has their own pace, but if you would like to get through this dark night of the soul more quickly here are five tips:

  1. Pay attention to your feelings. Get a spiral notebook and write down whatever it is you are feeling.  Anger, fear, worry and then go through the five W’s who, what , when, where,  and why, plus how. Answering these questions will allow you to examine the feeling without being overwhelmed by it. Your feelings may change rapidly throughout the day, so you may need to do this more than once.
  2. Tell the total truth about your job. When your feelings are manageable journal about your job. What did you like about it?  What did you hate?  What about your co-workers?  How did your boss support you or not support you?
  3. Do something physical.  Go for a walk every day.  Work out at the gym if you have a membership.  Moving your body will help unlock your mind especially if it has been stuck on one thought or one emotion.
  4. Network with new people. Check Meetup.com or your local paper for professional groups with your interest.  Go out and meet new people and find out what companies are hiring right now.
  5. Talk to your friends and find out who knows someone who knows someone who is hiring.  Ask for referrals and recommendations.

Taking action will keep you moving.  If you find that you are feeling numb and not able to process your emotions you might want to try a LifeLine session.  A LifeLine session will help you identify the emotion that has you locked up and it will help you to handle it in a safe constructive way.  Do you have questions.  Click the link and book a complementary session.

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