5 stages of grief after losing a job

When people lose their job, they are often stricken with grief. Recognizing the 5 stages of grief can help you move through them.

There are many difficulties that follow being laid off from work. One of the biggest hurdles is grief. Grief is the response to a loss and can also affect you emotionally and physically.

Here’s a closer look at the five stages of grief after losing a job:

1. Denial

It’s only natural to experience denial after losing your job. You may continue to indulge in the same lifestyle as when you were employedbut you will soon realize you’re on the verge of going broke. While you once had enough money to go out and enjoy the weekends and eat at your favorite places, you will realize that that is no longer possible.

A healthy approach is to accept that you’re not working (for now). Unfortunately, most people find it difficult to snap out of this denial phase.

2. Anger

In the anger phase, you might remind yourself how integral you were for the organization. You might even take a moment to list all the amazing things you did for them or how they don’t deserve someone as talented as you.

Some of us find ourselves pondering what our coworkers might be doing at work or why they weren’t the one being let go. With any luck, this is just a phase that you need to get out of your system, but for some, this mental block can turn into angry sentiments because they can’t seem to let things go.

3. Compromise

All too often, people fall into the trap of clinging to a hopeless situation. They imagine putting themselves in all kinds of “compromising” scenarios, such as emailing the HR personnel, asking to be rehired, willing to accept a lower pay or working extra hours. While the company might just take you back, things will certainly not be the same; making a compromise like this, instead of moving on, isn’t good for your career.

4. Depression

“I’m never getting a job after this.” It is okay to feel depressed and demotivated after being laid off or during the job-seeking phase. I’d be surprised if many others aren’t already in the same boat. Even the best candidates find it difficult to get a job, and it’s quite a challenge to not feel overwhelmed by the odds.

It’s also depressing to deal with the fact that “I look different now because I’m unemployed,” and many of us fear what people might think, which can be a difficult thing to accept. And you’re probably spending most of your day at home with nothing productive to do. This can get you down if you don’t make a conscious effort to make good use of your time.

5. Acceptance

The final stage is accepting what has happened. This is when it all starts to sink in; you realize that it’s a thing of the past, and your immediate goal is to start short listing relevant jobs. Some see this as a chance to go out and fix things, while others do not share this positive outlook and stay entrenched in their demotivated and grief-stricken state.

People vary in how long they will go through each stage of grief. If you’ve had any similar experiences, please feel free to discuss in the comments below. Maybe your story can give someone else much needed strength and motivation to carry on and make the right moves after losing their job.

Asma Rehman

Asma Rehman is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Grief Recovery Specialist. If you're struggling in life, the Grief Recovery Center in Houston, is dedicated to helping you.