Losing a job is a major time for pain and grief. Even if opportunities open up because you lost the job, there are many things about a job loss that are a real challenge.
To grieve any loss, it is important to identify the multiple layers of loss that occur when something significant, like a job, disappears. If we name the multiple losses in any loss, we can understand not only why the pain lingers but what we need learn to live without or find some other way to satisfy the need that the loss creates. Just naming those losses can be helpful.
Here are a few things that you might discover that disappears when you lose a job:
1. Contact with job friends.
2. Purpose that comes from getting up each day and having something to do that others expect you to do.
3. Focus that comes from particular tasks that the job offers.
4. Confidence in yourself as being able to do a job.
5. Trust in the system to provide you with meaningful work.
6. Income to support you and your family.
7. Confidence in the future.
8. Hope that is grounded in a predictable present.
9. Confidence in your ability to get a new job.
10. Confidence in your ability to come up with the new skills for a new job.
These are just a few things that you might lose when you lose a job. To grieve the loss of a job (that is to learn to live again in the absence of this significant activity by which much of your life has been defined) requires a journey of discovering yourself and your new future. But, it begins with the naming of the multiple layers of loss. Keep a list. Add to it.
And when you do, you can then begin to find ways to address the different losses. While you are re-focusing and moving toward a new job or career, begin to address some of the losses that you can focus on at the same time.