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Coping with Depression after Losing a Job

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There is no more natural response to losing your job, after the initial shock, and then the anger at your former employers, to settle into a depression. It counts as a sort of failure, after all, when your desire is frustrated, and most people don’t immediately see being laid off as an opportunity. Since wowing the hiring manager at your next interview requires verve and aplomb, you would do well to manage the depression first, to take some time to let yourself feel a little sorry for yourself, and get it out of your system.

Of course we dread spending time with that friend who has nothing but complaints for life. The way he goes on about the sorry hand fate has laid for him, the more we want to grab him by the shoulders, shake him, and say “Yes, but that’s life! Just get happy!”

Nevertheless, depression and anxiety are a part of all our lives, even the healthiest, and we shouldn’t worry so much if our self-pity will disgust our friends: we should find a way to express ourselves and confront our self-doubts.

What this means is knowing which friends to turn to, or seeking a counselor who can lend a professional ear, and help you return to something closer to eagerness for your next job. Maturity means knowing how to handle life’s trials — and by the time we’ve “grown up” we probably know what coping mechanisms work for us. This is the time to turn to them, to “journal” or write in our diary, to call up mom or dad and admit we feel a bit like a failure.

For more severe cases, the loss of a job might even trigger a “major depressive episode,” which is a medical condition that can be treated with medication. If that’s the case, there is no shame in it, it is simply a biological fact that should be handled with a biological solution.

Having handled our depression, with that range of coping mechanisms that works best for us, we will have “processed” our loss, the loss of our job. The same sort of grieving process is required with any loss, such as when a romantic relationship comes to an end, or a loved one dies unexpectedly. In fact, these three forms of losses are the three most traumatic events we endure in our life: breakups, death, and the loss of a job. All of them are severe shocks, affront our sense of control over our lives, and warrant due time apart to sort our thoughts out.

Having handled the depression, we can rise again from the ashes and cheerfully seek out our next job. Cheerfulness is invincible, so take the time to remember how to smile before your next interview.

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Coping with Depression after Losing a Job by
Authored by: Harrison Barnes