Depression After Losing a Job: Here’s How to Handle It!

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Let’s face it, experiences of depression after a job loss are surprisingly common.

At work, you are a slave – there’s really no point sugar coating it either.
You work for someone else’s dream, you spend a large amount of your time for a certain level of freedom that would not have been available otherwise.

Not only that but you also willingly resign your faith to a person who can destroy it with three simple words: You are fired.

Worst of all, you do so willingly, because the alternative is that much worse.
And that’s exactly the point of discussion.

Losing your job implies many things, most of which are seen as negative or damaging.
Despite the sheer inconvenience of work, people would much rather have a job than not.
Why?

Economics

The basic reason is that we all need money.

Sure, whenever you come to a job interview people ask you about stuff like motivation and determination, yet those don’t really matter.

The prime reason that we work for cash.
No amount of motivation would drag us over 50 years of spending most of our free time at work.
Determination can only do so much if you don’t truly love the work that you do.

Money is the moving force behind every single day of work.
Not getting paid is the worst thing that could happen to someone who’s need cash badly.

Money is a tool for us to secure freedom, if you don’t have money then you aren’t free.
You will be bound by debt and inability to satisfy your wants and needs, and no one would want that.

So even at the price of working hard, securing your own freedom (to a degree) is that much more important.

Studies further emphasize this point, showing a direct relationship between the amount of time in which you were unemployed and your likelihood to experience depression.

Identity & Status

When you finish a particularly difficult course and get your degree it’s likely that you will be prideful.

That would be pretty sensible of you, right?
You worked your butt off for years, and now you are a “Doctor” or an “Engineer”.
Good for you!

Then you work your way all the way up to a decent job, climbing the ladder and eventually reaching a high status: Team leader, Director, vice president and the like.

Then you get fired, because you are too old, too costly or maybe the boss just didn’t like you.

Then you got nothing.
What team leader? What doctor? You are just a nobody now! Sure, you still have your degree, but since your job is your identity you are nothing.

Not only that but your lack of status takes away much of your pride and confidence.
Your self-worth is tied down to your job, it’s your identity, its gives your purpose.

And now it’s gone.

Sucks, doesn’t it?

a man getting fired

Habit

Waking up in the morning, getting ready for work, working and coming back home.

I sense a pattern here, one that is easy to fall into.

Good habits are a great thing to have, but adopting necessities into habits make you very inflexible at the very least.

You see, we humans don’t like making decisions by nature. If we did, the infamous herd mentality wouldn’t exist in the first place.

Whenever possible we would choose the easiest way out, and often times the easiest way out would be to simply not choose.

The same social network, which grew on you, the same bosses, which you learned to handle, the same work, that you went through time and time again.

They are familiar, you know of them.
Yet when life comes knocking down, and making the choice for you, you are left without one of your most dominant habits.

Depression After a Job Loss is already a good sign!

by now you must be wondering, what am I on about? How could the loss of your job, the sole moving force in your life (family won’t feed itself, right?), be a “good sign”?

Let me tell you then.

The Kübler-Ross model, or the five stages of grief  & loss model, is a 5 stage model (no fooling!) that was meant for people who experience harsh losses or those who are terminally ill.

Losing your job isn’t quite so extreme, but the same process applies:

  • Shock, disbelief, and denial are the beginning (“No way!”, “There’s gotta be a way to fix this!”)
  • Anger (“Why does this have to happen?!”, “Does the world hate me?!”)
  • Bargaining (really similar to denial, “If only I were better”, “I should have done this differently!”)
  • Depression (Your stage)
  • Acceptance (and moving on)

As you can see, you are at stage number 4 at the moment, implying that there are 4 stages behind you and only one more to go.

The alternative to being depressed, in your case, would be to deny your current condition, blame someone else and get stuck in the same spot, forever leaving that wound open.

By simply accepting the fact that you were fired, you are already well on your way to get out of your grief and move on.

So how should you move on in the first place?

Make sure you know your finances

Now, you could get another job and start earning money again, but that wouldn’t change a darn thing and wouldn’t serve as a learning experience for you.

The fact that being fired short-term like this got you all stressed out isn’t a good sign.
It means that you are lacking in financial knowledge, and are greatly struggling to maintain your personal finances.

Pure sums of cash aren’t really the problem in most cases, it’s how you handle all of your money.
If you earn 100,000$/month and spend 100,001$/month, what good does it do you?

I would advise you to learn how to handle your money the right way, so that next time that you are fired (hopefully, never), you will have more room to breath instead of stressing out.

Personally, I would recommend The Simple Path to Wealth by J L Collins
It goes through the basics well, really showing you how to handle cash right

Don’t tie your self-worth to work

Let me ask you this – does it make sense to only have a single set of silverware, a plate and a mug for every person in the house?

No, right? If something were to happen, say, one of the plates would fall over, then you wouldn’t have a plate to use, right?

Yet you feel like it’s okay to draw so much of your self-worth and identity from a single part of your life? What’s up with that?

Are you a professional before you are a friend, parent or lover? Aren’t you your own person? Is your job the only thing you have truly accomplished in your life?

Take pride in your family, your friends, your hobbies, those are much more important than status.
As such, they are definitely important enough to be a part of your identity.

Sure, being known as a good friend rather than “a doctor” is far less glamorous, yet it’s just as important, if not more so.

Newly hired

Fill the gap with meaningful things

After dropping a habit we normally experience no discomfort.
After a habit is dropped it’s no longer a part of us, so we don’t tend to feel a sense of loss because of that.

Being fired, on the other hand, forces you our of one of your habits.
You leave your routine, your social circle and relative comfort of having little to no choice, only to be tossed outside and forgotten.

I can’t blame you for feeling empty, you were forced into a situation right out of your comfort zone.
Now you need to make your own choices, you need to be making decisions actively yet again.

So why not use this as an opportunity?

Think about it, you got so much free time now to make decisions.
Don’t just sit down and watch your TV until you find a job, do something! Get a hobby, travel a bit, try something new!

Do all of these while looking for a job, that is – can’t go hungry after all!

The thing is that you have an empty hole in your chest, a great discomfort for the sudden change.
Instead of suffering from it, adapt and get control over your life again.

You’ll be thanking me later.

Bad things happen

Bad stuff happens from time to time.

Sure, looking at the bright side is always nice, yet there isn’t really one right now.

You were forced out of your job and lost your income as well – there’s nothing good about that.

Yet many great people (J.K Rowling, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and the like) also hit rock bottom before rising again.
Why can’t you? Endure, the experience will only make you stronger!

Before you go, though, here’s a quick question for you – how did you handle getting fired throughout your life?

Make sure to write your answer in the comment section below – I read every single one of them!

If you got any personal questions you would like to ask me then make sure to send an email.
I reply to these as soon as possible!

Email: vladosipkov@projectconquest.org

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4 Replies to “Depression After Losing a Job: Here’s How to Handle It!”

  1. Hi Vlad,

    thanks for posting this content about post job loss depression. I was recently in that predicament and I did indeed go through all of these stages. But what helped me the most was realizing that it was time to move on anyway. I had a sinking feeling over the 3 months leading up to my termination that things were going downhill and I wanted a change. The actual termination happened in a rather unfair way, and if I wanted to, I could have pursued a law suit. I didn’t go down that path though, because I just accepted it as a part of the path I was on. Now, things are getting back to normal. I have a secure job with a new company that I find rewarding.
    Thanks again for your input here.

    1. Heya Matthew, thanks for the thoughtful comment!

      It’s great that you realized that you need to move on! Many people just sink into their depression until life kicks them from behind, some don’t quite pull through even after that.
      Still, I am glad that you aren’t one of those people.

      Cheers, Vlad!

  2. Hey I really enjoyed reading this. I recently lost my job, it was only seasonal, but I still felt the depression a bit. I went from making money to making none real quick. That was quite depressing. I really like how you don’t sugar coat anything, you said how workers are working for someone else’s dream and that really sucks, I want to work for my own dream to make myself free and have lots of money to spend. What do you recommend for me? I want to be my own boss..

    1. Hello Kenny, thanks for stopping by!

      You are right of course to feel that way, money is a huge motivating force in our lives.
      It’s also what pushes us to achieve any worthwhile results, as well!

      If you don’t want to work for someone else’s dream then there are really two major options for you:

      1) Get a job that will leave you with some free time and cash on hand, some specific freelancing jobs for example are very good for this.
      I myself work in a job that doesn’t pay me hourly, but over the amount of work that I do.
      In my case, I can work for 5 hours or I can work for 10.

      2) Start your own business.
      Offline, Online or otherwise – it’s never been easier!

      Cheers, Vlad!

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