Losing a job unexpectedly is never easy, and many dread the idea of it happening to them one day. However, it is a surprisingly common experience that is perhaps becoming all too common recently. In these times, the support of friends and family can make a world of difference and help provide an anchor in the midst of upheaval and change.
What it feels like
Losing a job suddenly and unexpectedly can set off an emotional rollercoaster – feeling a loss of confidence, instability and lack of control are all common reactions. And it makes sense, when you think about how much of our identity can be wrapped up in what we do for a living - it provides financial stability, but also structure, purpose and meaning to our lives.
What you can do to support in the first 24-48 hours:
Check their situation regarding: Access to money / emergency funds | Access to shelter | Access to food and water
Provide emotional support / be there / listen / offer practical help if needed
Make a time to follow up
Losing a job can set off a spectrum of emotions, including shock, distress, anger, worthlessness, sadness and embarrassment. In addition to this there are many practical matters that need to be attended to so issues don’t continue.
Let them know you care
Let them talk through and process the loss, and their emotions
Talk through their worries, concerns and plans for the future
Let them know the ways you are able to support them (emotional, practical, financial)
Support them to replace any possessions that may be linked to their employment – vehicle, phone, laptop.
Transport to and from appointments
Help with their CV
1 Week on what now?
After the initial shock of losing a job, the impacts on confidence, mood and feelings of lack of control, may linger for a while. People may start to look to the future and start applying for jobs again, which can be an emotionally draining and time-consuming process. It can be taxing to look for jobs and find little available, pulling together applications under time pressured deadlines, and to receive rejections. It can all take its toll on a person’s self-esteem and overall mental health.
Providing support in the long term
Provide ongoing emotional support
Maintain your social connection and plan some activities to get them involved in
Support your friend and encourage them with making applications
Be there when they experience rejections to listen and support
Encourage them when they are attempting to move forwards (applying for financial help, applying for jobs)
Be there to listen, support and boost their mood when they experience rejections and celebrate the wins no matter how small or big
Make plans to keep in touch and check in regularly
Encourage them to take up new hobbies, projects and interests so they have positive distractions and meaningful ways to fill their time whilst looking for work
Offer to look over their CV, assist them to find and apply for jobs, send them any leads you may have, help them prepare for interviews
Support them to review their finances, draw up a budget or find their local financial counselling services who they can speak to for free if things get to crisis point
Provide company or transport to appointments for professional help – counselling, financial advice
Offer to help out with day to day tasks such as cooking, shopping, cleaning or childcare to give them time to put together and submit applications
Offer to be a support person for HR proceedings, work related legal matters. You don’t need to talk but listen and take notes to talk through and be a sounding board after