Sustaining Job Loss Injury & Healing From It
Mental health experts say there is a grieving period from job loss that one must reconcile before being able to receive assistance seeking new work and become open to opportunities for a new job. Some folks can do both concurrently. For others, it seems they need “time out” to comprehend what happened to them and try to make sense of it, if they can. Although it may or may not have anything to do with their job performance, the ramifications and consequences are the same: Displacement, alienation, esteem erosion, anxiety and increased economic hardship.
Grief takes the form of a roller coaster of emotions. Employment specialists can throw tools at them and feed them information after information, all well-meaning and ultimately useful, but unless those grieving are ready, it is futile. There is so much information available, sometimes it feels like, water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink, which can increase anxiety.
“I don’t know where I fit in.” This refrain is echoed by the unemployed whether they are new college graduates or matured professionals because the business world has truly morphed into unrecognizable forms and shapes.
Understanding it and finding one’s place in it is a process, an unfolding. The main thing is to be ready to greet the journey…
This observation is not a criticism, but is mentioned lovingly: Some people can’t seem to get out of their own way and remain perpetually angry and isolated, refusing to come out into the light of day. They are lost, and understandably, feel they’ve been wronged, yet cannot do what they must, to adjust and recoup. Some bemoan social media and rebel against using it, fearing exposure and lack of privacy. They literally hate the Internet and cannot or refuse to grasp the concept of working social media to make contact. Others regret the lack of face-to-face communication, the handshake and being able to pick up the telephone and call an employer to express their interest in a job. The drastic changes to the landscape of job search and its culture are daunting to those who’ve never held a career type job and for those who have lost their careers. There is also the culture of job loss and feeling stuck in place, which, when allowed to go on too long, is destructive. When anger, sadness and feeling worthless permeate everything, you know you need the camaraderie of others who understand, those who are also seeking work and those who help those seeking work, on this lonely journey with no known destination or return. People who have sustained job loss and feel injured, do need time to grieve and it’s important to let them know there is support out there—and hope.
The good news is that there are many community agencies today that are reaching out to support the jobless with emotional, social and tangible assistance. Catholic parish outreach/social ministry departments such as the following:
Job Search Ministry of The Church of St. Francis of Assisi on West 33rd St. in Manhattan, offering no-cost job search meetings: 212-736-8500 (http://www.stfrancisnyc.org/2012/04/unemployed-job-seekers-meetings/) and many other churches in various communities are offering job search support groups and private one on one counseling for free.
Many public libraries in various towns have free job support clubs with professional facilitators. Some, like the Sachem Public Library in Holbrook, Suffolk County Long Island, offer free one on one career counseling and job search assistance: 631-588-5024. Farmingdale Public Library midway on Long Island in Nassau County close to the Suffolk County border offers a wide variety of services at their in-house career center 516-249-9090.
Some university psychology departments such as the one at C.W. Post Long Island University, Brookville Campus on the North Shore of Nassau County in Long Island, New York are also reaching out to provide both free private therapy and group comfort free of charge to bereaved dislocated workers experiencing stress and anxiety (516 299-3211).
Connect to Care, a joint project on a grant from United Jewish Federation and Federation of Educational Guidance Services, offers programs throughout the five boroughs and in Westchester County New York as well. Call 1-877-UJA-NYJ11 (1-877-852-6951).
Call your local mental health chapter wherever you live, public library and Dept. of Labor and Workforce affiliate One Stop Career Center at www.servicelocator.org and tap in your zip code and scroll down for all the addresses in your city or town, local church for free support groups, private therapy (either free or sliding scale minimal payment). Government-sponsored, no-cost job search career centers are worldwide. Avail yourself of assistance and do not isolate!
Taking that first step is the hardest. You MUST. Please!
Once you do, you will find out that what you are feeling is normal, that almost everyone in your situation feels or has felt the same. At first you may think, “What can they do for me? These people are all unemployed like me.” After a while of mutual venting, something happens. You begin to hold up the blanket of grief, of feeling victimized, shut away from society and oppressed, high above your heads. The weight of that blanket is light because you are each holding one another up. Man cannot live alone. Human beings need each other. Then something else happens. You begin to coach each other and critique and suggest and start to share who’s hiring and where with each other. The mutual exchange of information is so healthy because deep down people want to feel needed and they want to help one another. Those who are disturbed by their job loss find kindred spirits and those who have emerged. They feel stronger yet lighter on their feet, not so burdened and floundering. That payoff is tremendous.
And keep reading The 405 Club inspirational articles about people who have triumphed over loss, great obstacles and hardships—only to have found their way back to a professional identity and feeling self worth and productivity, affixing their signature to their work, making a difference, perhaps, and a paycheck…aka a JOB.
Believe that one day it will be YOU.
-By The Job Enthusiast Who Won’t Rest ‘Till Everyone Is Put To Work!
Read about more helpful resources from The Job Enthusiast here.
Art by Katie Diamond