Job loss and grief? Definitely yes!


Situations often arise in life when you lose a loved one or someone important in your life, a home or a position. The reason can be not only death or separation, moving, but also leaving the job. Loss is sometimes perceived very narrowly and tied only to grief counselling. Nevertheless, it is also among the topics that we often encounter in career counselling.

    What is loss and why are we mostly afraid of it?A loss is generally a negative benefit from something. The emergence of such a situation, and especially if it is unexpected, has the effect of washing out a huge emotional wave. In psychology, we call this phenomenon "flooding". We can compare this metaphorical naming with the situation when an island is flooded by a tsunami. Imagine that you are a happy inhabitant of a beautiful, warm and peaceful island in the middle of a beautiful sea. Every morning you wake up and enjoy the paradise that the island offers you. Soft and warm sand, beautiful sea, hammock ... and suddenly a tsunami comes. This huge wave will flood the island and at that moment you will not be able to see the island or even feel the certainty of solid ground under your feet. The water pulled you into the sea and is throwing your body from side to side. You cannot protect yourself, defend yourself or even control the situation. And exactly the same thing happens with emotional flooding,

    And why are we mostly afraid of this situation? It brings uncertainty and loss of control. And especially you lose something or someone significant. It is ingrained in our genes that we do not like to lose. Whether it's house keys or a job.

    How can we actually perceive job loss? This is not just a situation where you get fired. Similar feelings are experienced by a woman going on maternity leave or a person being transferred to a new workplace. Experiencing such a situation is in any case connected with the fear of uncertainty and the questions: Will I find a new job? Will my colleagues like me? Will we get along? Will I be able to lose social contacts and friends from my original job? Shall we remain friends? Will we meet? Can I still call them as friends? Will they fire me during my probationary period? And in addition to uncertainty comes sadness. Grief of loss.

    How does grieving work? There are many breakdowns of the grieving process. We mostly encounter the following:

  1. The denial phase comes first. I ask myself, why did I get fired? It can't be true. I always did a good job.
  2. The next stage is anger . It usually happens that I blame everyone around me for the situation. At that moment I feel helpless and we try to react with resistance to the fact that the situation is really true. At this stage, I look for the culprit and sometimes I try to punish him for the injustice that happened to me.
  3. After anger comes negotiation . I'm trying to turn the situation around and I'm negotiating terms to stay in the original place. And this arguing does not have to be only with the surrounding people, but also with God, the universe or any entity. I'm asking for more time and I promise I'll be good. Just like I used to do when I was a kid, when I begged my parents not to take away my toy or allow the ban.
  4. But considering that negotiation usually doesn't help and the employer rarely takes back the resignation, I get depressed . And that's when I realize there's no turning back. That neither anger nor negotiation will solve the situation. And at this stage comes the real sadness. This natural grieving phase is crucial in career counseling. Clients often get stuck in it and cannot get to the next stage, which is acceptance of the situation.
  5. Accepting failure as a part of life can motivate. Motivate to change. Motivate to adapt to the new situation. And we are equally motivated to experience new experiences and new challenges.

And how can a psychologist or career counselor help me? The role of a psychologist in career counseling in case of loss is mainly to accompany the client and to be helpful in creating a new perspective on the situation. None of these phases can be accelerated and each client experiences them individually. It is not only about the intensity of the experience, but also about the time it takes to move on to the next life. During counseling, we offer clients opportunities to improve their experience, which are often movement and body-focused therapy. Feeling emotional pain through the body is a very simple, intense and effective way to work with it. Many times, for example, sports, walks, drawing or singing help. They are all activities that allow us to physically express our emotions. And just as the body moves, so do the emotions.

PhDr. Ivana Čergeťová, PhD., LL.M., MBA, PCIC

I am a psychologist, NLP coach, attachment-based therapist, career counselor, and academic staff. I have been dedicated to the attachment theory in personal and work settings for over 20 years. I work on this topic not only as a counselor but also as a researcher. Meeting with me can help you if you are seeking an expert in mental health specializing in relationships, communication, and personal development. For more information, follow my social networks @radipsychologicka #attachment #relationships #love #attachment #JoinMeForAdvice #relationshiptherapist #development