Financial Loss

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Losing your job and financial loss

Losing your job or experiencing significant financial loss may feel overwhelmingly confusing.

You may experience many different conflicting emotions and none of them may seem to make sense right now. You may feel that you did not see it coming or you may have thought that things were going well. 

You may be left with many questions, which continue not to make much sense and the sense of who you are, your identity and your self-esteem and what you have achieved may feel bruised for a while.

You may also experience a sense of betrayal from people you thought you trusted and a sense of failure, even though there is another part of you that felt that you had worked hard and worked well. 

If you have been with the company for some time, you may find the actual process of leaving difficult. You may have found that the physical space, in which you worked was comfortable and you associated it with positive memories. Now that you find yourself having to leave a place, to which you have become attached, including with people which you felt you had developed positive working relationships or friendships, this can feel confronting and numbing amongst other emotions and/or thoughts. 

Prior to this happening, you may have thought of yourself as a particular type of person and losing your job and/or financial worries can make you question all these things, which you had taken for granted.  You may now feel uncertain about yourself and who you are, your strengths and your capacities, with time this worry and preoccupation will pass. When anyone experiences a shock like this, it is very easy to second guess and criticise yourself and rack your brain as to what you could have done differently. These questions just seem to keep coming and often feel as if they go around and around in your head. For a time there may appear to be no answers and just confusion, with none of this making any sense and many contradictory emotions experienced. With time, these thoughts and feelings will pass.

What to do:

The first step is to acknowledge what has happened, even though it may not make sense, allow yourself to sit with it, don’t push down and deny your feelings and thoughts. The emotional impact of losing your job, becoming retrenched or experiencing financial hardship is hard and it is a real loss and may people grieve as a result of losing their job and/or experiencing financial losses. Allow yourself to experience that grief and loss.

What is next:

For the first time, perhaps for a long time there is a completely different shift in your daily rhythm. Getting up and going to work is now replaced without a need to get up with alarm and there is an adjustment to be made but there is also an opportunity. You may still want to set the alarm but this time you can focus on activities which you enjoy or not have any time to do because of work or other demands. In the beginning, it may feel hard to do things that you enjoy and there may be a part of you that resists enjoying yourself. Connecting with activities you enjoy connects you with who you are and the recognition that working is only a part of who you are and it is not the whole you.  Even if you have not the opportunity to develop interests, this is a perfect time to explore this part of you.

The journey:

There may be days where you are able to embrace this part of you and there may be other days, where you feel uninspired and flat and do not want to do anything.  It is also important to know that this is a very normal reaction and it will pass. It is also important to remember that most jobs are very structured and it is not often that we determine the structure of our whole day. In recognising this, it allows you to not be so hard on yourself and give yourself more time to experience the freedom in you deciding what you want to do next.

Permission:

Give yourself permission to engage with the exploration of this new you. Many people find that keeping a journal helps – write down your thoughts, give yourself time to think things through, don’t immediately jump to the negatives, for example: what isn’t working, or what you could have done differently. Stick with the part of you that is embracing being connected to the things you enjoy or want to explore. Become aware of old patterns of “beating yourself up” and when you experience these negative thoughts, just remind yourself that this is an old pattern and it is going to pass. You may notice that some people you consider to be a friend are negative during this time or they focus on the things that happened for you in a negative manner. You don’t need this and it is important for you to engage with people that focus on the positive aspects of your new approach and the positives that have come from this.

Sleep:

Make sure that you get up at the same time every day and that you plan to do something in the morning, once you have eaten and organised yourself for the day. Don’t be tempted to sleep all day or stay in bed all day as this just reinforces the belief that you have not achieved anything for that day and it can connect you with some old patterns of feeling flat and disappointed.

Tips to cope

Whatever you are experiencing in relation to losing a job and/or experiencing financial loss, you don’t have to go through this alone. Everyone’s experience of job loss and/or financial loss is individual and everyone experiences it differently: there is no right or wrong way nor is there a rigid formula in making sense of this.  You can ring GriefLine and speak with one of our volunteer counsellors, who can provide you with counselling and support to work through this and with time you will adapt to these changes.

There are many normal signs that you may experience after the loss of a job and/or financial loss, you may not experience any or you may experience some of the below:

  •  Frustration and short temper
  •  Loss of appetite and sleep disturbances
  •  Ongoing tiredness and apathy
  •  Sore muscles and tenseness in the body
  •  Anxiety, feeling overwhelmed or sadness
  •  Mood swings and a sense of being easily overwhelmed
  •  Social withdrawal
  •  Shock
  •  Lowered libido
  •  Grief, guilt and shame
  •  Memory loss and confusion, lack of clear thinking
  •  Feelings of helplessness and powerlessness
  •  Ruminating and regretting actions you took or think you should have taken to prevent the situation

A GriefLine counsellor can work with you and explore your existing strengths and capacities and collaboratively work with tools and strategies and support you in working through this.

In addition to this, you may want to consider the following:

  •  Check your entitlements from your workplace (Fair Entitlement Guarantee which may be applicable – www.employment.gov.au/feg
  •  If you know you are going to be retrenched, start making a plan and think how to use the redundancy payment if you are to receive one
  •  Take charge of thinking about the things you believe you could cut back on i.e. any household items or costs?
  •  Make a list of expenses and income to get an idea of your real situation. A budget will help you plan and provide others with an understanding of what you need
  •  Contact your local council as many have financial counsellors, who can actively work with you in putting together a budget
  •  Talk to your bank and seek help in managing any repayments
  •  Contact charity organisations and the Department of Human Services Financial Information Services (FIS) in Australia or the equivalent internationally, for support and advice
  •  Talk to your superannuation fund about options or how to reorganise your funds
  •  Make an appointment at Centrelink or similar agency to discuss unemployment benefits
  •  For further strategies please follow the link here

GriefLine provides anonymous and confidential telephone support. Please call the the GriefLine Helpline in your local state.