The study identified three types of mindset common to those who had suffered job loss:
- Temporary derailment: These people were unwilling to concede their careers had ended and feverishly looked for employment.
- End of the line: These people felt hopeless and bitter. They believed their careers were finished and didn’t look for employment or only looked erratically.
- Moratorium: These people accepted their job loss as beyond their control. They separated their identities from their jobs and pursued positive options such as temporary positions, education and volunteering.
The study focused on managers and other professionals, but just about everyone would most likely respond in one of these ways after losing a job.
Once you get past the initial shock of unemployment, it's important to keep a positive frame of mind, even during such a stressful time. It's also important to acknowledge and grieve job loss as a major life trauma, especially if you've invested years in a company. But it's crucial to look at things rationally and begin to make a new career plan.
One woman wrote an article about her husband's layoff, describing how they'd seen "the writing on the wall" ahead of time. The husband had worked more than 20 years for the same company. Although it was painful, the couple started strategizing before the pink slip arrived.