losing your job

How to Cope with Losing Your Job

Sitting in my car in the parking lot of my office building I couldn’t believe what had just happened. With a one-year-old at home and a baby on the way, my boss called me into the conference room and fired me. I tell my wife everything and she is the first person I want to talk to when I’m feeling down. However, as I sat in my car I couldn’t call her. I had never been so low, feeling as though I had blown it and let my family down. Then I was hit with all of the stressful thoughts: What are we going to do now? How are we going to live without any income? Where was I going to work? Would we lose our house? 

My phone rang as I was driving out of the parking lot. It was an older co-worker who’d heard I’d been fired who had some advice. He said, “I know this is hard, but try and think of it as an opportunity. Use this as an opportunity to pursue what you are passionate about.” Losing a job is heartbreaking and can be demoralizing. However, it does present an opportunity to change and grow. Here are 6 ways to cope with losing your job.

1. Focus on priorities.

This is “circle the wagons” time. In order to efficiently deal with the situation, it is important to shrink your world to its most important priorities. Get a grasp on what is vital to focus on moving forward for your family and arrange your resources in that manner. Proper organization is key to all aspects of life and it certainly applies here.

2. Find and accept support.

This is not something to be dealt with alone. Lots of help in the transition to what comes next will be needed. One of the hardest things for a person to do is admit they need help, but in this case it’s important to do so. There exists a network of family, friends, church, and community programs that are there for just these moments.

3. Process the emotions.

It is extremely important to first accept what has happened. Denial leads down paths that make already bad situations far worse. Talk with your spouse, trusted friends, or a counselor. Find someone to help you make sense of what happened. Position your mindset directly into the reality you face. Then you will be able to start finding solutions.

4. Don’t over-analyze the situation.

You can literally drive yourself crazy by over-analyzing why it happened. Over-analyzing causes greater stress and can lead to depression. If there are legitimate unanswered questions that are pertinent to your ability to move forward, such as job performance or abilities, seek those answers directly. Otherwise, focus on the facts and try to decipher what can be learned from the experience that will help you in the future.

5. Be patient and faithful.

Whatever your situation, the sun will eventually break on the horizon.

The uncertainty of where you are headed is going to tug hard at your patience and faith. Avoid lashing out in angry or harmful ways. Understand there is a bigger plan in play for you. Remain patient through this trial, and strengthen your faith that this storm will soon pass. Whatever your situation, the sun will eventually break on the horizon.

6. Be open-minded.

Hope and opportunity will soon come knocking at your door. Keep your mind open to the possibilities that await in the future. It might be your entire world gets turned upside down into something that you never dreamed. Most likely, that is exactly where your purpose was waiting all along.

Sound off: How have you handled losing a job?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How do you feel when you lose something?”