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Dawn Rosenberg McKay

Job Loss Grief

By January 30, 2009

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When we think about job loss, our thoughts usually go to practical issues like paying the bills. Job loss also has an emotional impact as I learned when I was coordinator of a job information center in a public library. I began working there in 1990, just as the U.S. was going through a recession. Many of our clients had lost their jobs. I remember one man in particular. He began coming in to look at our collection of job listings on the day I started work. He told us he had lost his job only a few days earlier. He continued to come in every day we were opened for about a year. He had all the characteristics of someone who was depressed. I didn't know at the time whether or not to attribute it to his unemployed status. One day he told us he had an interview. Then he stopped coming in. After a few weeks he reappeared with a huge smile on his face. He reported to us that he had gotten the job. He came back to visit us periodically, always smiling. Finding a job had totally transformed him from a morose to a jovial human being. It became clear to me that job loss, without a doubt, causes as much emotional distress as it does financial distress.

Jim Davis, in his Job Loss Survival Guide, addresses the emotional impact of job loss, equating it with the grief one experiences with other losses. He not only talks about the grief one feels after being terminated, but also discusses what he calls "pre-termination" grief. This comes about when one receives notice of an impending job loss. Mr. Davis provides helpful tips on dealing with both "pre-termination" and "termination" job loss grief and offers advice on ways to help others suffering from it. If you have lost your job or are worried that you might, or if someone else you know is going through this, I highly recommend The Job Loss Survival Guide. Mr. Davis also publishes a blog, The Job Loss Guide, dedicated to issues related to job loss.

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Comments
February 19, 2009 at 6:35 pm
(1) Sue Henry says:

I just want to thank you for this timely article. Losing a job is, for some, a death of all that they hold dear. For many, a job is the lifeline to their lifestyle and personality.. so thanks for sharing just how closely linked job loss is to death and grief.
I talk about this subject in all my career adjustment seminars.
Sue

September 30, 2009 at 6:43 pm
(2) Danny Fitzpatrick says:

Thank you so much for acknowledging the grief process with regards to the current economic stress – your validation is certain to help others. As a whole health coach, I am seeing this more and more frequently. As you know, it’s vital that grievers not only recognize their pain but also work through the process toward recovery

If you’d like an additional resource to offer people going through this grieving process, please feel free to pass along this complimentary eBook – http://www.lemonadenetwork.com.

Danny Fitzpatrick, Whole Health Coach
Co-Author of “Emotional Stimulus Package: Your Guide to Re-creating the American Dream”

November 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm
(3) Mel Otero says:

You have written an article that should offer some hope for those dealing with unemployment. I was unemployed during the 1983 recession and survived! It truly sends your life into chaos and there is a grieving process that takes place. I think it helps for people to understand that they are not alone and their feelings of grief are natural. Keep up the good work. RESOURCES AND TIPS FOR COPING WITH JOB LOSS

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