The loss of a job can cause a very real grief response. This feeling of grief can be compounded by the stress of the holiday season. If you’ve suffered from this response or are currently going through it, please know that you are NOT alone. There are amazing “job clubs” and networking opportunities out there, and most recruiters can point you in the right direction.
My friend Lori Marshall recently shared her story with me . . .
A “workforce reduction” was the benign name assigned to the reason that my staff and I were laid off. I represented my company in the public arena for four years and 50 weeks, working tirelessly to build relationships. I was trusted, both internally and externally, and I felt valued. I knew who I was, I knew what I did, I had my place, and I loved it.
As the clock struck 9 a.m. on a Monday morning, my boss called to deliver a cold message. He read straight from the letter that I would receive the next day in the mail.
Wait, what? So I just log off and I am gone? Erased? But I don’t want to . . .
No going-away party or cards that I could read later containing the warm sentiments of my co-workers. Just nothing. Well, not nothing . . . I mean, the answer was “workforce reduction,” right?
As I struggled through accepting this huge loss in my life, I also had to figure out the answer to these questions:
- Who am I now?
- What do I want to do?
- Where do I start?
I vacillated between anger, disbelief, fear, and intense sadness. Now, I’m working on acceptance. I’m taking steps to ensure my self-care and turning to experts to help me navigate the job market.
You CAN survive a job loss and thrive in the face of it. Here are the steps I took to do it:
- Remind yourself of all the other roles you have in life aside from work. Remember that you are not just your job and this is a temporary setback.
- This is the time to call on your “go-to” friends, the ones who will commiserate with you, set you straight, buy you lunch, remind you that it will be okay, and actively support you in your job search.
- If you’re able, take the time to really consider all of the job options and do what makes you happy!
- Exercise, volunteer, meditate, and practice gratitude.
- Spend time with friends and family.
- Practice positive self-talk.
- Notice signs of depression.
According to a 2013 Gallup Poll, unemployed Americans are more than twice as likely as those with full-time jobs to say they currently have or are being treated for depression—12.4% vs. 5.6%, respectively. This is a real problem, but there are real solutions.
GET HELP if you are having thoughts of suicide. The National Suicide hotline number is (800) 273-8255.