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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