Author and Psychologist Offers Suggestions to Help Cope with Losing a Job

Psychologist and author of “High Octane Women: How Superachievers Can Avoid Burnout,” Sherrie Bourg offers some suggestions in an article in Psychology Today for those that have been laid off, or fired from their jobs.

The first thing, she says, is to understand the things that typically happen to people who have involuntarily left their jobs. It’s important to realize that a job is more than just a place where you work, it’s a place that holds some of your identity; and it’s a place that provides some degree of power and control. Bringing home a paycheck, especially to a family is very empowering; losing it, takes that power away and can also lead to feelings of guilt about not being able to provide for your family. All of these things, she says, contribute to depression, which can make finding a new job truly difficult.

According to Bourg, it’s critical that people don’t fall prey to circumstances that can cause them to fall into an even bigger hole. Losing a job is bad, but not finding a new one is worse. Thus, it’s best to start adhering to some rules for yourself right away.

The first thing, she says, is to avoid panic. Don’t go off the deep end and do things you’ll regret. Just sit down and get calm.

After that, it’s all about avoiding natural human responses to bad things. Don’t isolate yourself, don’t let negative thoughts or emotions overcome your ability to see a brighter future. Don’t fall into a rigid mindset where you think the only thing you can do is what you’ve done before. And skip the what-ifs. Rehashing the past won’t bring your old job back or help you get a new one. Also, avoid falling into lethargy, or sitting around doing nothing because finding a job seems hopeless. It’s never hopeless until you give up. And finally, she suggests seeking out counsel, even if it’s just from a friend when things feel like they’re too much. Sometimes just having someone listen can make things seem a little less dire.

And that really is the bottom line. No matter how awful things might look right now, the odds are good that you’ll figure a way out. Most people generally do. But, realizing that it might be a struggle and forcing the negativity away while waiting for the good to appear on the horizon, is really the best way to go. Anything less, will only make things worse.

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