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  • Recovery from Grief Around Job Loss: Finding a Way Forward

    People often speak of recovery from grief in the context of losing a loved one. However, recovery from grief can also be essential when we confront job loss.

    Photo by Nathan Cowley 

    When someone experiences job loss—especially when the job is meaningful and engaging and the person planned to stay in the role long into the future—it can have a huge psychological effect. Job loss can cause an extreme sense of disorientation. Often, it’s accompanied  by very strong emotions, including sorrow, regret and anger. It may well also lead to a great deal of anxiety or depression. These emotions and strong reactions can cause you to question your self-worth.

    Loss of Stability, Direction and Meaning 

    Jobs provide routine and structure to our lives, and without one, a person can be left feeling directionless. You might also feel a substantial loss of connection now that you no longer have regular interactions with your former colleagues. Depending on how invested you are in your career or profession, you may also confront a sense of loss of meaning. And this is all on top of the financial concerns that come with losing a job.

    Suck It Up? Not the Best Route to Recovery from Grief Around Job Loss

    One possible response to the grief around job loss is to simply “suck it up” as the expression goes, and to soldier on, often trying to return life to the pattern that it had before the job loss.This may sound doable and straightforward, but the reality is that, in very many cases, the job loss puts us right in the middle of a major life transition.  

    When an individual confronts a major life transition, it often brings an individual into connection with big questions about their, life, their goals and their future possible directions. Job loss may very well ask us serious questions about what we really want in our lives. 

    As Jungian analyst Thomas Moore reminds us,

    Most of us put a great deal of time into work, not only because we have to work so many hours to make a living, but because work is central to the soul’s opus.

    Recovery from grief around job loss may ask us deep questions about what is meaningful in our lives. This may require a deeper level of self exploration than simply trying to plough through the situation in the same old way.

    Recovery from Grief, and Moving Towards Value and Meaning

    When it comes to job loss, there are steps that you can take to move towards recovery from grief, and finding ways to meaningfully re-engage with life.

    It’s important to think about doing the following:

    • Share your feelings – Speak to friends and family members about the emotions you’re experiencing, or schedule an appointment with a therapist.
    • Keep some structure in your day –  Set an alarm, get dressed, and find time to venture outside each day.
    • Start looking at what opportunities are right for you now – Looking at job postings may be good, but there probably needs to be more. For instance, joining online career groups and attending networking events may open up new opportunities but it may also lead to new friendships.
    • Explore what really has value and meaning for you now – This may well be an important area to explore with someone who can offer meaningful support, such as a Jungian depth psychotherapist.

    The Support You Need for Recovery from Job Loss

    If you’re seeking your recovery from grief around job loss, it’s essential to take your own unique individuality seriously. It’s vital to explore your own individual grief, and what this loss actually means to you. It is likely that job loss is also a call to explore your own individuality, and to answer the question for yourself as to what your want to devote your energy as your move forward in the wonderfully unique journey that is your life.

    I wish you every good thing on your personal journey,

    Brian Collinson 

    Registered Psychotherapist and 

    Certified Jungian Analyst (IAAP) 

    Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional

    © Brian Collinson, 2023