An estimated 22 million Americans that have filed for unemployment this year. Finding a healthy way of coping with this loss is vital for the long term mental health of these workers. It’s so serious that in their article “Why losing a job deserves its own grieving process”, Art Markman and Michelle Jack liken the trauma of losing your job to the loss of a loved one.
I want that to sink in for a minute because that means that you have just as much emotional stress when you lose your job as you would if your spouse or child died.
Last year I was able to see the incredible toll that unemployment can take on a person. I was working for a real estate startup that ran into the same problem that many startups face: they tried to grow too fast.
As a result, the company had to lay off three-quarters of the staff. We had all seen the signs of the impending lay-offs, but it still felt incredibly shocking and surreal to hear the founder say the words out loud. All of a sudden, I had close friends that were contemplating selling their homes, moving to new cities, and filing for unemployment.
This is a story that sounds eerily familiar to millions of people right now. So, how can we help ourselves if we are in this predicament? According to Markman and Jack there are three practical things that you can do to help you navigate the loss of your job: take up a hobby (when else are you going to have the time?!), ask for help (it takes a village - seriously), and stick to a schedule (create some structure in your life to help you continue to feel normal).
Of course, taking up a hobby or keeping a schedule is not going to magically get you another job. But it might just keep you sane enough to put in the work on your resumé and the hiring process.