By Beverly Baskin, MA, NCC
Execuive Director, Baskin Business and Career Services
Executive Offices in Woodbridge, Princeton and Marlboro New Jersey
Toll Free: 800-300-4079

Being out of work is not a fun experience for most of us and can be emotionally harmful and even dangerous for some people. According to the Social Adjustment Scale by Holmes, job loss is one of the top three stressors in a person’s life.

If we understand the psychology of job loss, we usually have an easier time adjusting to it and moving on with our lives. People often have feelings similar to those of grieving or mourning the loss of a loved one, or the loss of any meaningful relationship in their lives. As author Michael Farr points out in his book, The Quick Job Search, when we loose a job, grief doesn’t usually overwhelm us all at once; it usually is experienced in stages. The stages of loss or grief may include:

Shock – you may not be fully aware of what has just happened.

Denial – usually comes next; you cannot believe that the loss is true.

Anger/shame– often follows; you blame (often without cause) those you think might be responsible, including yourself.

Depression – may set in some time later when you realize the reality of the loss.

Acceptance – is the final stage of the process. You come to terms with the loss and get the energy and desire to move beyond it.

Michael Farr feels that the acceptance stage is the best place to be when starting a job search, but we might not have the luxury of waiting until this point to begin your search. Knowing that a normal person will experience some predictable “grieving” reactions can help us deal with our loss in a constructive way.

It is important to realize that every person has his or her own timetable as to when they reach the stage of acceptance. People go through a roller coaster ride of emotions in no particular order, and at different times of the job search process. The important thing to remember is that all of these feelings are normal and part of the grieving process associated with any type of loss. If you are wondering what is “normal” in terms of your emotions, or you are having emotions that are taking a toll on you or your family, you may want to discuss your feelings with a professional counselor.

Choices Regarding Reemployment

Think about your ideal job and remember that abilities + enjoyment = Strengths. You really have four choices regarding you new job. They are:

  • Same Job, Same Industry
  • Same Job, Different Industry
  • Different Job, Different Industry
  • Owning Your Own Business

Explore how your present interests and abilities intersect with the current marketplace. With the concept of lifelong learning taking place in the workplace and the introduction of long distance learning on the Internet, people in all age groups have a chance to retrain. Many of the new skills do not require years and years of extensive schooling. There are several three to 18 month courses that constitute excellent retraining opportunities in data processing, computer repair, network engineering, allied health professions and other fields.