The unemployment rate hit 9.4% in May, the highest since 1983. About 14.5 million people are now without work, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. About half of that—7 million—occurred since the start of the recession in December 2007.
Job loss is a common experience nowadays. But its psychic toll is severe. “We must remember that losing one’s job often has an enormous traumatic impact on the individual and the family,” says psychologist and executive coach Rob Pasick. “Many researchers have compared the damage done by job loss to the impact of a traumatic brain injury.” Others liken it to the experience of the death of a loved one, along with a similar grieving process.
“People who have lost their jobs find themselves disoriented, distracted, unable to focus, and losing sleep,” says Rob. “They obsess over what they did wrong that caused them to lose the job and a feeling of helplessness about ever finding another job.”
“The impact is often much worse on men than women,” he says. “This is because men tend to define themselves and their self worth through their work.”
How have you fared in this recession? Have you lost your job? Tell us how you handled it.
What advice would you give to others who are grieving the loss of a job?
(If you care to read more, Rob has his own Web site, “Balanced Leadership.”)
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