I received numerous emails asking for additional information from my Aug. 21 column on coping with job loss. The most common question dealt with how long the grieving process lasts. The answer varies from person to person and circumstance to circumstance.
One person may have anticipated the job loss, while another didn't see it coming. One may have been living paycheck to paycheck while another person may have an emergency fund, or could even retire and be OK. Other considerations include how much support there is from family and friends, if they feel the job loss was fair and how long they worked for the company that let them go.
Whatever the case, your job loss is significant to you and there will be grieving. As mentioned before, some people may need counseling. Most grieving includes depression, but it is typically situational depression rather than clinical depression. If the situation changes -- and you get a job -- the depression will subside more quickly.
The key to the grieving process is to allow it to take its own course at its own pace. If you find yourself going months without feeling better, you likely need counseling.
In the worst case scenario -- you worked a long time for the company, didn't see the job loss coming and were living paycheck to paycheck -- you might have to take a few days, or even weeks, to just feel angry and depressed. If you do, you will likely get tired of it and wake up one morning motivated to get going on your job search. That's OK as long as you find yourself waking up one morning feeling motivated. If you don't, then counseling is probably needed.
Being in groups can be helpful. LDS Employment Resource Services has networking groups that offer connections and opportunities and support. These group meetings are offered at each LDS Employment Resource Center and are available to everyone, not just members of the LDS Church.
A common response to job loss is the sense of not being in control, feeling like a victim or feeling life isn't fair. The question comes back to how are we going to deal with it? How can we take control of something that isn't fair and so out of control?
Try small steps
You can, for example, take workshops from The Department of Workforce Services on such topics as assertive communication, resumes and interviewing. LDS Employment Services offers a Career Workshop which typically goes for two days and helps the job seeker take better control of the search.
Allowing yourself to feel, get professional help if needed, going to networking groups and atworkshops on job search can all lead to a more successful future.
Ron Campbell has worked in the job preparation and job search industry. He is vice president of strategic planning for EnableUtah. He can be reached at 801-386-1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.