Losing our job can be a crisis or an opportunity. Even as most of us try to put our best face on it, we tend to see it as a crisis. This is especially true if much of our identity is tied up in our career. We may grieve the loss of our job even if we felt bored or dead-ended. Our loss may take the form of anger — we blame our boss, our co-workers or turn our anger inward toward ourselves. Our friends and spouses tell us to “snap out of it” but the raw emotions remain with us.
What to do? The first thing is to admit we are indeed experiencing these feelings. They are part of our human journey and there is no shame in acknowledging their existence. Denying these legitimate emotions only extends our suffering. We can “be with” our negative reactive patterns without being overwhelmed by them. This may be a legitimate moment to take “time out” to spend more time with our families and friends, read that book we never got around to reading, or take in a highly rated movie.
The second thing is to develop a support group of friends, relatives and other people who care for us — just as we are. Make time to share coffee or a lunch and soak up their company and support. Make sure you meet with one of your support group members at least once a week.
The third thing is confer with our financial advisor, insurance agent, banker and other resource personnel. We need to seek out their counsel and perhaps rearrange our resources to tide us over during our job search.
The fourth thing is to recommit ourselves to putting our careers back together. Consider a career coach, join an employment support group, check in with staffing and recruiting firms. Above all, develop a plan of action to drive you forward. Vow to make your job search your fulltime job and set firm daily and weekly goals.
If you find you are still overwhelmed by grief or anger after a month has passed, you should consider making an appointment with a therapist who can help you process your feelings.