Unfortunately ‘organisational restructuring’ and ‘downsizing’ are common events in today’s workplace. For those individuals who suddenly lose their job, financial pressures can be overwhelming. Most support individuals receive focus on supporting the individual financially. However even under the best conditions where someone has ample savings and decent job prospects, suddenly losing a job is an emotional ride.

The emotional stress which individuals and their families experience is the least thought about effect of unemployment. For many people work is a central component to their identity. When their employment status changes, so too can their self identity. This together with the financial strain can be a very stressful and negative time.

If you have recently lost your job, you might need to focus on two issues. Firstly you need to look at yourfinancial situation. You may need to rewrite your budget, apply for assistance, and talk to your bank manager or a financial advisor. Once you have initiated this, you then need to focus some time and energy on the emotional stress you are experiencing. You do this for two reasons:

  1. You are currently experiencing change. Change can be difficult to deal with when it is planned, however in situations such as sudden unemployment, your stress levels and emotions can skyrocket.
  2. You are starting a transition period. Transitions can either be negative or positive experiences. If you are proactive in your transition, you are more likely to have a positive experience with a more successful outcome.

Let’s start by looking at the three stages of your transition:

Transitions involve an ‘End’ of one situation (your previous job); a ‘Neutral Zone’ where you adjust and prepare for the ‘New Beginning’ (your new job). (Bridges, 1998).

Ending: The Ending is the first step. The focus is on letting go of the emotions of losing your job.

Neutral Zone: In the Neutral Zone you are in limbo and use this time to focus on you as a person and you as a worker.

New Beginning: Your new beginning starts when you find your new job.

This new ‘life coping skills’ series of posts was developed to assist those in the first two stages of transition.

Follow-Up Posts:

  1. Sudden Unemployment: Reactions and Emotions
  2. Sudden Unemployment: Personality Need Type Profile
  3. Rebuilding Self-Esteem After a Job Loss
  4. Sudden Unemployment: Finding a New Career