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The Conflicting Feelings of Losing a Job


Losing a job can bring with it conflicting feelings like fear, sadness, relief, or excitement. Not only is the job gone, but all of the habits and rituals that go along with it change too. Things like where you stop for coffee before work, seeing the same delivery person each day, and even the rush hour commute. There might even be things you miss about the job even if you’re relieved to not work there anymore. You see, grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior. A change in daily habits and rituals of work certainly fits the bill.

And what about the loss of security when you’re no longer getting a steady paycheck? That can cause fear and grief too.

Although losing a job can be devastating, many people won’t talk about their feelings. Most of us have learned to stuff our emotions, or feel that our grief isn’t important because we compare it to another type of loss.

Not only do we minimize our own feelings, but well-meaning friends might unintentionally do so too. This happens when people offer intellectual statements about why you shouldn’t feel bad, rather than listening without judgment, criticism, or analysis.

Have you heard any of these statements after you lost or left a job?

“You should be grateful you can find another job.”


“You can always get unemployment.”


“Now you can take time to find out what you really want to do.”


“At least you weren't fired.”


“You didn’t like working there anyway.”

Our business like many others have been impacted by COVID-19. I was heartbroken that my new business venture was so slow to start. I had financial hopes, dreams, and expectations and COVID was now impacting the growth of my business . I most certainly was grieving. I felt uncomfortable talking about it because I didn’t have it as bad as other people. I mean, I still had work and money coming in. I thought, “Who am I to be afraid when I’m not completely out of work like so many other people”?


I asked a trusted Grief Recovery peer to talk and I am grateful that he helped remind me that comparing my losses minimized my feelings.


If you would like to explore your loss history, check out our "Confidential Loss Discovery Workshop" This program’s design gives leaders a private online space to work through their personal and professional loss history. Thereby discovering the things that keep them from being their most complete self, and enhancing their skills for communicating with others during loss and change. This can result in a more empathetic approach to employment best practices within organizations and helping current employees move forward after organizational layoffs. Additionally, this workshop can provide more tools to offer when accessing what displaced staff need - to deal with the emotional side of losing a job. We offer a 30-Minute free consultation to discuss how this program may help you and your organization.


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