The Trauma of Job Loss

She lost her job four months ago; he lost his yesterday. It could happen to you; it happened to me. Who is safe?

I had a chance to speak to a number of people who lost their jobs recently, asking them to rate how devastating this loss is.

I must say I’m surprised at the results of my “survey”. Loss of job holds third place in the rankings of unfortunate events, just after death of a family member and life-threatening illness.

Now you know why this article is entitled “The Trauma of Job Loss”. Losing a job is traumatic both to the person who has lost it and to his/her family members.

The sociological and financial burden is much heavier if the person is not so young, the only breadwinner in the family or someone with no emotional support.

The army of the jobless ranges in age, education, job skills and social status.  But the majority has one thing in common: The emotional trauma of that loss includes such feelings as “I am not the same person I used to be,” and, “I am now out of my social environment.”

And for “macho men”, as society often sees its male constituents, we are our jobs, which is not the way it should be.

The false perception that everyone is working except us is very powerful and has the potential to bring our self-esteem to its lowest possible level.

Feeling blue as a result of job loss is normal, but not an acceptable long-term consequence of that loss. If we do not fight this feeling, the next stages are anxiety and depression.

Our blurred-by-trauma way of thinking needs to change.

Such distorted reflection is a huge obstacle on our way to recovery.

We see ourselves having trouble all over the place.

Not knowing what is right for us comes next to mind.

Whenever our gut knows what actions are appropriate, but our mind tells us the opposite, the problem is made manifest.

The dilemma is always: “Should I trust my instinct or my conscious thought?”

Well, the answer is both.

Actually, analytical (conscious) thinking is always good, but with too many choices we can get stuck.

Interestingly, to make a good choice, sometimes we need less the process of analytical thinking, and more the understanding of our gut (instinct).

To find a job, we need more than good self-esteem and self- confidence; we need a good decision-making process and understanding of our personal situation.

For all of us out of the job market, it’s about acting, as well.

When stress is high, feelings of self-pity are normal, but wallowing in them is not a good choice.

Do not forget: “We act as we feel, and we feel as we act.”

A healthy, positive approach to life requires a change in attitude about life itself. Satisfaction in life doesn’t come automatically; it’s always very hard work.

If we know how to set reachable goals, we can learn to be happy despite the troubles in life, including the trauma of job loss.

The first sign we are on our way to recovery is when we are able to be “normal” in a stress-producing situation such as our job loss.

Acting as a positive thinker despite the trauma of job loss makes for ultimate success, and even victory.