For most people a job plays a key role in their lives beyond providing a paycheck. A job provides a sense of belonging, security, and most importantly, a sense of identity. People define themselves by what they do for a living and by what groups they belong to (e.g. family, company, church, civic). A person has a strong sense of attachment to his or her job - an attachment that is accompanied by personal feelings of control, expectation and loyalty. Any threat to job security threatens a lot more than loss of income. Job loss brings with it loss of income, position, power, and in many cases, identity. The process a person goes through with the loss of a job is much like the stages of grief when someone close to us dies.
It is normal to grieve when you have experienced the loss of your job.
- a set of reactions to loss or the threat of loss, and
- the process of experiencing the psychological, social and physical reactions to your perception of loss.
Grief is the healing process we go through after suffering a loss. Grief includes feelings, attitudes and behaviors that exist over a period of time. Everyone in the person's environment is affected…coworkers, spouse, children, and other family members. A person may move back and forth between the different stages of grief, experiencing waves of sadness, anger and fear. Following are the three stages of grief and normal grief reactions for each:
1. Initial Shock and Denial
shock/disbelief · denial · withdrawal · stunned · "if only" scenarios · forgetfulness/loss of memory · poor concentration · feelings of anxiety, sadness, depression · hopelessness · lack ability to cope · blaming others · confusion · pre-existing life problems may be intensified
2. Anger/Sadness (acute feelings)
powerlessness · helplessness · sense of injustice/betrayal · anger · bitterness · resentment · displaced anger directed at spouse/kids · blaming oneself · pain · fear · guilt · shame · depression
come to terms with negative feelings · end point after working through above phases/feelings · start focusing on taking constructive steps toward changing one's circumstances · searching for employment · exploring career options · taking better care of oneself through dieting, exercising, relaxing and being with friends
Each of us grieves differently. There is absolutely no one "right way" to grieve a loss. How much time it takes to move through these stages depends on the nature of the loss, the individual who is grieving and the overall circumstances of the individual's life. To deal with the loss of your job requires time and effort and acceptance of the necessary grief process. The more positive your attitude, the more constructive your efforts, the better chance you will have of surviving and coming out ahead. A well-organized plan and a disciplined job search effort, which utilizes your internal resources as well as other external resources, will be the best way to survive and win.
More Local Resources (PDF)
The Kearney Chamber of Commerce has created a website that provides helpful information.
Community Action Programs of Mid-Nebraska - We are a non-profit, community action agency based in Kearney, Nebraska covering 27 counties. Our mission is to help others help themselves.
The Best Care Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides free, short-term counseling if you or your family need help coping with feelings about the loss of your job or in exploring alternatives at this critical point in your life. You and your immediate family members may use the EAP for one year after your separation date by calling: (800) 666-8606 or (402) 354-8000.
Contact Human Resources for more information by calling 865-8426 or click here for a complete HR staff listing.