November 25, 2013

Coping with a Job Loss

Written by Rachel Eddins

Coping with job loss middle age white woman stressed at work

Losing one’s job is a life-changing event affecting many areas of one’s life.

In addition to the pressure of finding a new job, financial, familial and emotional stresses ensue. Losing one’s job ranks among the top 10 of 43 stressful life events. Job loss causes severe stress.

For workers who have worked a long time in congruent occupations and have been positively reinforced, career change is especially difficult. While moving forward with one’s career seems like the obvious next step, it’s important to grieve the job loss and find emotional closure as in order to move into a satisfying career transition.

Job loss has been linked to depression, financial strain, decreased mental health, self-esteem, and subjective well-being. Career counseling can help you move through your career transition effectively as well as plan a strategy for your next career move.

Read on to learn more about coping with a job loss.

Emotions Commonly Associated With Job Loss Include:

  • Numbness
  • Embarrassment
  • Self-Blame
  • Loss of Confidence
  • Hurt
  • Loss of Control
  • Paranoia
  • Feelings of Failure
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Hostility
  • Jealousy of Survivors
  • Depression
  • Distrust of Employers
  • Self-Consciousness
  • Bad Moods

Other symptoms experienced include: restlessness, irritability, depression and preoccupation.

In working with a career counselor on your career transition, it’s important to approach the process holistically. Addressing both complex emotional issues, needs and concerns as well as clarifying your goals and search strategies for your next career.

It is recommended to move through the stages of job loss: shock, disbelief, anger, and depression before fully focusing your energy on re-employment. Otherwise, you can get stuck and the emotions you are experiencing may show up in your networking and interviews, leaving a negative impression.

How to Cope with Job Loss:

1. Focus on what you have control over.

Focus on what you have control over. You do have control! The need to change your mental framework to one where you firmly believe you have control of the situation is imperative. If you believe you have no control over your career situation, poor career decisions may be made.

2. Express your feelings.

There is nothing to be ashamed about. Over 60% of people experiencing a job loss experience severe psychological distress.


I am feeling this way about my loss: _____________________________________________________________________

3. What (non-escaping/addictive) coping strategies have worked for you in the past?

I can make myself feel better by ___________________________and_____________________

4. How have you coped in the past?

You have most likely experienced difficulties in the past. How have you gotten through them?

In the past I have learned to accept the following difficult circumstances.


5. Look to family and friends for support.

Know that you are entitled to your feelings.

I know I can count on the following friends and supportive resources: ______________________________

6. Increase your flexibility.

You may have to find a different type of job, one that pays less, or even compromise your pride to make ends meet in the short-term.

7. Maintain your contacts and cultivate your relationships.

While you may feel down and want to isolate, now is more important than ever to maintain your relationships with others as well as your professional contacts.

8. Combat age discrimination.

List only the last 10-15 years worth of jobs on your resume. List all professional development courses, workshops, etc.

9. Life roles.

Focus on other role identities aside from work to increase meaning in your life.

10. Trust the Process.

You will get through this! Trusting the process often involves relaxing and letting go. Learning to swim or ride a bicycle are common early experiences in trusting a process.

Other ways that I have grown by relaxing and letting go are:

Want more help with your career?  

Read more: Job Search Resources 

Take a career assessment test online and get your results immediately.

Book an appointment with a career counselor in Houston who is available to meet with you via phone, video or in person to discuss any career related question you might have.

To get started now give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.


Recommended Reading:

Job Loss Recovery Program

Author Lynn Joseph, a Fortune 100 corporate consultant, and career transition coach and psychologist, shows readers how to use a powerfully quick and effective visualization program to bounce back after being laid off.

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