Next week I will be giving job search training to forty manufacturing employees in central NJ who are losing their jobs in early January. Most of these employees are over the age of forty and have spent their careers with this company. Not only are they starting the New Year by joining the unemployment line but on top of that they are going to be attending training in the days before the holidays. I am getting prepared for the inevitable anger and grief that are going to greet me on Monday morning but since I have been in their shoes, I am hoping to help them get through this very difficult time.
In her book, On Death and Dying, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross shares the five stages of grief and loss. While these stages were designed to explain the process that one goes through when facing death and dying, the same stages can be used for a number of other areas including divorce, financial problems and the loss of a job. The five stages are:
- Denial – The refusal to accept facts, information or the reality of the situation.
- Anger – Lashing out at ourselves, others, the illness, the person or the company that caused the loss.
- Bargaining- Trying to negotiate with God or others. “I’ll do this…if you fix this.”
- Depression- The feelings of sadness, regret, fear or uncertainty that come with the realization of the event.
- Acceptance – Objectivity and acknowledgement of the reality of the event.
I came across an article by Melinda Smith, M.A. and Robert Segal, M.A. while preparing for this portion of the training. It states that when people lose their jobs, they go through these common feelings of loss:
- Personal Identity
- Self Esteem/Self Confidence
- Daily Routine
- Purposeful Activity
- Loss of work based friends/network
- Loss of security
For more information on handling these stages and some suggestions for moving forward, please refer to the article. It may be helpful if you or someone you know is going through the loss of a job.