Lotte van Rijswijk

Lotte van Rijswijk

How to recover from a job loss

Career development

How to recover from a job loss

Artwork by: Alexandra Shevchenko

  • Phase 1: Shock
  • Phase 2: Anger
  • Phase 3: Sadness

The words 'recession', 'unemployment', and 'lay-off' have been driven into the minds of anyone with a television set. Unfortunately, this is because these words apply to a significant portion of the population. If you're one of those people who has recently lost a job, you may find yourself going through quite an extraordinary array of emotions.

Some people assume that once a person is laid off, that they become immediately depressed. But this couldn't be farther from the truth. Just as one grieves the loss of a loved one in stages, so does he/she/they when a job is lost. No matter the special circumstances surrounding your situation, you'll probably find that your emotions can be divided into four specific categories.

Phase 1: Shock

Whether you've gotten advanced notice of a lay-off or an immediate dismissal, you will most definitely experience a shock in being separated from your job. Shock is a difficult emotion to describe for the person experiencing it. The immediate emotion is sometimes a strange sense of "calm"-especially if rumours of lay-offs existed previously; employees are merely relieved that they no longer have to wonder about their jobs. Others who have secretly harboured a desire to leave their positions may even feel oddly "thankful" for a way out. For the most part, the shock will be different for each person, and can last anywhere from a few days, to a few weeks. How to deal with it: The best thing to do is to let the shock settle in. Embrace whatever emotion sets in first. It's important to take the time to get through this phase. This is perhaps the wrong time to make any swift life-altering decisions.

Phase 2: Anger

Most people, despite complaining about their jobs, don't wish to leave them unless it is by choice. When companies decide to "restructure" their organizations, the decision will always upset those affected by the decision. Being dismissed from a job is a huge blow to the ego. Even if you're confident in your performance, the ultimate feeling left behind is that you were somehow not good enough to keep your job. It is at this point that anger sets in. You may find that you resent your managers, directors, and even fellow co-workers. How to deal with it: Vent, and vent often. You will need to completely purge yourself of these emotions in order to move forward. Anger is an emotion that makes former employees feel like lashing out at others, especially those "responsible" for the job loss. Call your career consultant, a therapist, or trusted person to talk about your feelings. Remember that in today's job market, there is a chance that you might see some of your former coworkers in another work setting; burned bridges may later prevent you from moving ahead.

Phase 3: Sadness

Lotte van Rijswijk

Lotte van Rijswijk

An ambitious Content Team Lead working with Career.io since 2022, Lotte collaborates with all members of the team from writers to illustrators to ensure high-quality content across platforms. Always interested in finding new trends and topics to help improve offerings, she also oversees other team members and works to support them wherever possible.