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Loss of Job, Loss of Identity

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Jobs are a significant part of our lives and identity so when we are made redundant, it can often trigger a personal crisis. 


People who identify themselves by their job may start to question who they are when they suddenly become unemployed.  As one of my client’s said to me recently “I always tell people I’m an IT programmer, but I’m not anymore so what do I tell them now”?  


When your identity is so deeply embedded in what you do, it’s not surprising that redundancy can be stressful and devastating.  Redundancy isn’t an easy thing to bounce back from but bounce back you must if you want to move on.  If you don’t, there is a risk it will lead to emptiness, anxiety, depression and a lack of direction.  


So what should you do to get your head back in the game?

 

1. Grieve


Take some time to go through the grieving process before plunging into a new job search. Rushing to find a new role can hurt your chances of finding a satisfying new career if you are coming across as angry and desperate. So give yourself the time you need to mourn the loss of your job, your routine, the interactions with your colleagues and the sense of purpose your job gave you.

2. Reflect


If your identity is so immersed in your career, it’s important to find a sense of self-worth outside of work.  Look at other aspects of your life eg finances, health, family, other close relationships, fun and hobbies and rate their importance and how satisfied you are with each.  Going through this process can be an eye opener and often people realise they have been so focused on their careers they have neglected other parts of their life or that they have compensated for dissatisfaction with their lives by becoming too attached to work.

3. Reframe the situation


Turn your job loss into an opportunity. Easier said than done I know but I’ve worked with many people who are now glad they got made redundant because it made them realise how unhealthily close they were to their work.  They’re now happy in new jobs and careers that they would never have moved into on their own.


Getting made redundant is a disruptive life event, no doubt about it, but it can also open doors and lead to new and sometimes unexpected opportunities. It can also make you realise that while work will always be a part of your life, there is so much more to you than just your job.

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