Job loss is a devastating experience. It’s normal to feel a sense of failure, embarrassment and shame. What will my friends think? What will my family think? Fortunately, job loss no longer carries a negative stigma as it may have in the past.
It may help to know that you are not alone. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 13.9 million people were unemployed as of July representing 9.1% of the workforce. In Illinois, July’s unemployment rate was 9.5% representing 627,762 people.
As these statistics show, most people have been touched by job loss – losing their own job or knowing someone who has. If you feel embarrassed or ashamed, remind yourself of these facts. You and nearly 14 million Americans are in the same situation and you are not failures.
It’s normal to experience bouts of depression. However, keep in mind that a positive attitude is going to get you back to work faster than a negative one. For suggestions on staying positive during a job search click on this link: Staying positive during a job search.
Job loss is a complicated situation. It’s accompanied by financial fears, fear of not finding a job, fear of finding a worse job, fear of being new and starting over. However, it can also be a time of discovery – spending time with family, working out and getting yourself in good physical shape, finding a new career that you love. View this as an opportunity and take actions to address the things that are within your control.
The fact is that once you lose your job, things are different. You must focus on the future and the possibilities that await. Develop an action plan and gather a support network. Approach your job search with the same energy, focus and enthusiasm you would any other project that’s important in your life.
If you’re like most people, you will experience a lot of rejection along the way. Every time that happens, remind yourself that each rejection brings you one step closer to your goal.
If you find that you’re have a tough time coping, don’t be afraid to seek help from an independent professional. You may be eligible to participate in your former company’s EAP program with little or no cost to you or your health plan may cover the cost of seeing a counselor. Career coaches are also a good resource and many will not charge for an initial consultation.
The key is to take care of yourself and take charge of this phase of your life. Maintain good physical and emotional health to get through the challenges ahead.
A previous article outlines the stages of grief associated with job loss. If you are interested in reading it, click on this link: Coping with job loss.
The next article in the job loss series discusses benefits.
A local resource for job seekers is Career Transitions Center in Chicago. For more resources, go to Local organizations that help job seekers.