Psychologists advise on how to cope with depression after dismissal

Psychologists advise on how to cope with depression after dismissal

Today you don’t need to communicate with other people to meet your needs. You can work remotely, order food in an application, and clothes – in the online store. All of these things provide a person’s income, not his connections. If he loses part or all of his income, the usual course of things is disrupted.

If a person has no support from those around him, his mindset will go into survival mode once he is laid off. “Our neurophysiological systems will begin to activate. This will translate into questions: ‘Will I be able to survive? Will I be able to eat? Will I have shelter?”,” Nelsen explained.

She added that many people rarely maintain social contact outside of work. When they lose it, they lose much of their environment as well.

Research confirms the loneliness of modern man. In 2018, Cigna surveyed 20,000 Americans and found that nearly 50 percent of them constantly or sometimes feel lonely or abandoned.

In 2014, a Gallup study found that unemployed people are more likely to suffer from depression, with worse symptoms in those who have been doing nothing for six months or more. In 2017, the University of Leipzig came to similar conclusions, finding that older people who have been unemployed for a long time are more likely to experience depression than the rest of the population. Another 2015 study found that unemployed people aged 18 to 25 were about three times more likely to develop depression than their peers.

We think work defines our personality

Nelsen believes that in today’s society, especially in the United States, the attitude is strong: You are what you do. Indeed, the first thing many people ask each other when they get to know each other is about work.

“In fact, in many other cultures it’s considered a very rude question because it’s about what you do, not who you are. Right? There’s so much interesting about you,” she added.

How to deal with depression after losing your job

Seek help from a professional

Situational depression can look like classic depression, and a person prone to its clinical version runs the risk of experiencing a depressive episode. Symptoms of clinical depression include insomnia, impaired appetite, difficulty getting pleasure, lack of energy, and suicidal thoughts. If these are present, you need to seek help from a professional immediately.

Psychotherapists are usually expensive, but you can find affordable options at local hospitals, crisis centers, or educational institutions where students provide supervised psychological support. You can also ask if there are therapists with special pricing for downsized employees. Another option is to find a telephone hotline for people who are in dire straits.

Keep in touch with friends

People who have lost their jobs sometimes want to stop all communication because quitting seems shameful to them. Nelsen says you shouldn’t do that – it’s at times like this that it’s important not to lose contact with other people.

“We are social creatures, we need connection to evolve and survive,” she emphasized. Find a group of like-minded people, do something that is not work related, sign up for a class or just call an old friend.

Change the way you look at things

Identifying with work isn’t always a bad thing, according to Nelsen. But identifying only with work is definitely bad. Think back to who you are outside of the office and change the way you look at things.

Sometimes people think of themselves as, “I’m a loser. No one wants to hire me.” Instead, it’s better to get used to thinking, “I have an education. I have substantial work experience. I have valuable skills.”

Break down the big task into small steps

Nelsen advises breaking down all big tasks like finding a job into small steps. Pick a couple of things to do on a daily basis. “Say to yourself, ‘I’m going to update my LinkedIn profile and resume. I’m going to go for a walk,” she elaborates.

“Break tasks down into manageable steps and don’t focus all your attention on your job search,” Nelsen adds. – Try to find other activities to calm your nervous system and reconnect with yourself and others.”

How to cope with job loss. Psychologist and career counselor tips for tough times

Dismissal is especially painful at hard times, when everything is shaky and unclear, and the work of many people is an “island of stability. It is frightening to be deprived of this support.

We talked to psychologist Anastasia Kalashnikova and career consultant Venera Meshcherova about how to survive a layoff, not to lose heart and find your dream job.

Being laid off leaves an imprint on all areas of a person’s life. The usual way of life changes – it causes stress. And if the loss of work was unexpected, the stress can be so strong that it leads to psychological trauma.

To increase your resilience, it is important to rely not only on the job. Try to establish new emotional connections and strengthen past ones that were important. Colleagues from previous jobs and members of the professional community can be such connections.

If you had to quit your job, I suggest making a detailed step-by-step plan for finding a new job – it can be a support in itself. Feel free to seek new footing through collaborative work with psychologists and career counselors – some of them provide free assistance.

Feedback from a former employer can reveal areas for growth, but you have to separate feedback from unconstructive criticism. Some companies still choose to take a position of strength in a layoff. Their feedback is manipulative and can be hurtful – it is designed to make the person being fired feel guilty.

In addition, it is important to feel for yourself: if your psychological state does not allow you to accept any feedback, then there is no need to ask for it.

After being fired, you shouldn’t immediately rush out to look for a job. If your financial cushion allows you to take a break, it is better to take advantage of this opportunity. Take a pause to reset, to pay attention to yourself and your resources, to emotionally end the relationship with your former employer. And then from a position of balance and tranquility proceed with the job search.

It can be scary to enter the labor market after a long break – that’s normal. The main thing is to understand the source of that fear. Ask yourself the question, “What exactly am I afraid of? If you fear change, you need to look for resources and work with the acceptance of change. Fear of evaluation by other people can be tried to overcome by supporting yourself and working with the rooting of your own self. Fear of rejection is treated by working on one’s own worth.

What will help get rid of fear:

  1. A psychologist.
  2. Books – for example, “The whole truth about me” by Amber Ray, “A novel with myself” by Tatiana Muzhitskaya.
  3. Dialogue with close people who can provide support.
  4. Creation of the most pleasant atmosphere for yourself.
  5. Assessing the realism of the threat. While under stress, a person may think that he or she will never get a job again and will spend the rest of his or her life in poverty. This is exactly the fear: in reality, if he has found one job, he will find another.

Sometimes it takes longer to find a job than planned. For example, a person expected to enter the job market and be bombarded with offers, but this does not happen. In such a situation, it is helpful to:

  • Evaluate the feasibility of the search timeline you set for yourself;
  • Add activities to your schedule that are aimed at reducing stress and anxiety – small walks, sports;
  • Keep an analysis of your search in order to see the real numbers and deadlines.

It’s hard to give advice without knowing the size of a person’s financial commitment and cash cushion. If possible, I would advise taking a pause to breathe, orient yourself, analyze your experience, and form your approaches to finding a new job.

The length of this pause is an individual matter. It all depends on how the person took the news of the dismissal, whether it was a blow to him. For example, there are people who are always “a little bit” in search of a new job: they know the market, maintain contacts with recruiters, so they do not perceive a layoff as something critical. Such people can do without a pause or limit themselves to a standard two-week vacation, and then start a new job with fresh energy.

And there are people who are severely affected by the loss of work. After the dismissal they can be in a depressed state or, conversely, to show uncharacteristic hyperactivity. Either condition is not suitable for entering the job market: the job search will take energy, but an over-excited candidate risks making mistakes – for example, accepting offers that are not suitable for him or her.

Entering the job market is worthwhile when the emotions of being fired have cooled down and you have the energy to look for a new job.

Some people shut down and shut out others when something bad like a layoff happens. A person who has been laid off may think, “This is my problem, why should others know about it, I can handle it myself.”

But the problem is easier to solve together, so I call not to keep silent, but to ask for support from friends and relatives, do not be afraid to consult a psychologist. It is important that in a difficult period those around you know that you need support.

Don’t be shy: go out “in public” and tell everyone that you are open to job offers.

Try to periodically go back to yourself and ask the question, “How am I feeling now?” Psychologists advise keeping a diary of emotions – you can use this practice.

Try to understand what actions (yours, management’s, and co-workers’) influenced the firing situation. Then determine what you would change if you could go back. Finally, make a development plan for the missing skills and behavioral algorithms.

Take time to become aware of yourself and your desires, and analyze your professional path. Think about:

  • what you liked and disliked about your last job;
  • what you want from the new job;
  • What kind of work would suit you;
  • what criteria your new employer, supervisor, colleagues, and product should meet;
  • what your financial expectations are;
  • what kind of position do you want;
  • how do you see the prospects for development;
  • What working conditions suit you (format, location, benefits, perks).

Identify at least three criteria that you are not willing to sacrifice when choosing a job. Imagine that you have a lot of job offers – how will you choose among them?

Maybe you want a great leader, interesting tasks, and a clear career development plan. At the same time you are willing to get a little less than in your previous job, because you want to move into a new field with better prospects.

A financial cushion will not allow you to rush with employment, and take your time to study the market, collect offers and choose the most interesting offer.

Describe a detailed algorithm of actions that will lead you to a new job. Identify job sources, think through your resumes, decide how you will write your cover letters.

Some candidates set a KPI for themselves – how many responses they need to make in a week. This focuses, removes fears and helps “not to get stuck” to a particular job. You will respond to everything that seems relevant, and then carefully analyze the offers you receive in response – whether they meet the critical factors in choosing an employer.

I advise you to gather information about the company and the interviewer beforehand: it comes in handy for smol-talk. I attended one interview where the hiring manager and the candidate first had a long chat about bicycles. This helped melt the ice between the interviewers – the subsequent conversation about the job went easily and openly.

It’s also worth looking for cases from your experience that will validate relevant skills for the new position.

Getting through a job interview is a skill that can be developed through practice and reflection. So that you don’t feel so keenly at first about rejections, you can define for yourself that the purpose of the interview is not to offer, but, for example, to gather information about the job market and the requirements of employers.

To gain confidence, think about your strengths and weaknesses – what you did best and worst in your previous job. For example, you loved looking for candidates, but didn’t like working with HR.

Try to prepare metrics and facts that support your successes. If you were an effective recruiter, what jobs did you work with, how many positions did you close in a month, what resume sources did you use, what was the average time to close a position?

It’s always a good idea to check in with your professional field’s human resources and mentors. Find an expert who can do a test interview with you, test your skills and give honest feedback about weaknesses and strengths.

  1. Evaluate the realism of the employment timeline you have set for yourself. This is an extremely challenging and unpredictable job market, so don’t push yourself to hard limits.
  2. Analyze the funnel to see at what stage of the recruitment process a failure occurs. For example, if you leave feedback and you don’t get a response, there may be a problem with your resume, experience description, or positioning.
  3. Take feedback from recruiters and hiring managers: find out why there was a rejection, what was wrong, what skills are worth tightening.
  4. Ask for help from mentors in the marketplace. Find out what criteria they use to select candidates, what they pay attention to, what you lack in order to receive offers.

Unemployment can be burdensome – you want to get rid of it. There is a great temptation to agree to the first offer that comes along, even if it does not meet the criteria of the employer’s choice. Anything to solve the employment problem immediately.

But the rush doesn’t solve the problem, it makes it worse. A person gets a job he doesn’t like and after a while he finds himself back in the job market.

Before you start looking for a job, you should analyze what you would like to see in the new job and what problems you had in the old one. Some people don’t do this, and as a result they go in a vicious circle, changing one unloved job for another.

Sometimes it is uncomfortable to ask the employer at the interview about all the details and conditions of employment – you don’t want to seem like an intrusive bore. A person thinks, “The main thing now is to get an offer, and I’ll deal with the rest when I get the job. This is a mistake that can lead to disappointment from work because of unfulfilled expectations.

  1. Being fired can be a big shock to a person. If possible, it’s best to take a break rather than rushing out to find a new job right away.
  2. It can be useful to get feedback from the employer on the way out. That said, it’s important to distinguish constructive feedback from manipulative criticism. If you feel you are not ready to take feedback, don’t ask for it.
  3. It is important not to withdraw into yourself, but rather to go “out into the world”: to ask for support from loved ones, to renew old social connections.
  4. Networking is a powerful tool for employment. The more people know that you are looking for a job, the higher the chance of finding one.
  5. Before you enter the job market, it’s a good idea to analyze your experience and understand what kind of job you’re looking for.
  6. Determine the criteria for choosing an employer – the conditions without which you definitely won’t consider a job offer.
  7. Looking for a job is also a job. Pump up your interviewing skills, repackage your experience, figure out what works best for you.
  8. It’s always a good idea to check in with the marketplace: find the human resources and mentors who can assess your skills and give feedback.
  9. What to do if you can’t find a job:
  • Don’t panic;
  • Evaluate the feasibility of the deadline you set for yourself;
  • analyze the funnel – at what stages of the hiring process the rejection occurs most often;
  • Take feedback from recruiters and hiring managers;
  • Add walks and sports to your schedule so you don’t get hung up on the job search;
  • reach out to mentors and career counselors.

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