I got laid off and now I feel hopeless

Losing your job may cause a lot of stress and worry. How can you cope?

When times are uncertain, organizations begin cutting costs by laying off staff. If you’ve lost your job recently, or a few months ago, you may be feeling sad, helpless or overwhelmed about it.

Many of us define ourselves by the work we do, and work helps us have a sense of purpose and achievement. This means that the loss of a job could impact us more than we think. If you have recently been laid off, you may be feeling:

  • Unprepared and shocked if the incident was sudden
  • Helpless, not knowing what to do
  • Anxious about your future, and concerned about your responsibilities
  • Overwhelmed as you think about sharing the news with family, and managing until you find your next job

Here’s how you can cope with the stress and anxiety:

  • Remember that the layoff may have had little to do with your performance, and more to do with the larger picture. Try not to look at it as a personal failure, or a reflection of your performance. It is a combination of circumstances in your environments that you cannot control – business reasons, management reasons, your inability to perform due to other stressors in your life at this time, etc.
  • Acknowledge your strengths and skills.
  • Remember that this incident may be a minor setback, and does not have to be the end of the road. This event is not representative of you as a failure in totality. At best it is representative of your not being successful at something you were doing. There are several other things that you can be successful at. 
  • Remind yourself about the other aspects of your life that contribute to your self-identity and self-worth. This could be your family, friendships, hobbies, or activities that give you some meaning and purpose.
  • Reach out to trusted friends. Your family may not be able to offer you adequate support as they may feel some emotional or financial pressure arising from the lay off. Talk to someone you can trust, and who will offer you a non-judgmental ear.
  • If you feel overwhelmed, reach out to a counselor or call a helpline.

 

This article has been written with inputs from Maullika Sharma, a Bangalore-based counselor.