Phases of Unemployment Mourning

Much like one goes through phases of mourning, there are phases of unemployment. And they’re quite similar. I’m experiencing them right now.

1. Shock

When you lose your job, even if you expected it coming to some extent, the first phase you go through will be shock. You will never be ready to hear the words that you weren’t quite cut out for the position, or that you’re being replaced, or a thousand other reasons why it’s time that you and the company are no longer one. You won’t know what to say or who to say it to. You’ll be in complete and utter shock.

2. Horror

Then reality will sink in and you’ll enter the horror phase. What are you going to do? What will you tell your friends and family? How will you survive on unemployment pay? How will you get another job now that you have this dirty little stamp on your record? Who will want you? Your entire world has been shaken up and you have to figure out what you’re going to do tomorrow, the next day, the day after that, and so on.

3. Excitement

For a short while then you may experience a brief period of excitement. You have so much time on your hands now to do all those things you’ve been putting off! Clean the house. Read a book. Redesign your blog. Go for a run in the middle of the day. See your friends who have young kids and are stay-at-home moms for the time being. You have all the time in the world. And maybe this will work out. Maybe this all happened for a reason.

4. Depression

This is the period you sink into once the excitement phase ends. It could happen very quickly or it could take a while to get here, but as long as you haven’t landed another position in a few weeks, you’ll probably get to this phase. This is the phase where you end up in bed all day, or sitting on the couch flipping through bad daytime television. You’ll watch one too many Price is Right episodes (thank god I don’t have cable.) You’ll apply for hundreds of jobs and go on a few interviews but nothing will pan out. You’ll feel utterly hopeless.

5. Renewal

Maybe suddenly you have a job offer or a few really good potentials. You feel like you’re finally on the right track. The renewal period is the time when you are getting prepared for the next phase of your life. You’re ready to say goodbye to days of applying to jobs and waiting for the world around you to end. You’ll feel inspired again and thrilled to return to the work world!

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8 thoughts on “Phases of Unemployment Mourning”

    1. Company and I were not a fit. I was overwhelmed with the role and wasn’t ready for it. I’m interviewing for new roles now. I’m trying to stay optimistic!

      1. OK, hang in there! Check out too. There are a lot of $60,000 – $200,000 jobs floating around in the Bay Area from the feedback I’ve received from others who are looking.

        I’m sure you will find one sooner. And of course, file for unemployment ASAP too.

        Best, Sam

        1. Yup, I’m on and have looked. I am not sure I want to do another small company though, I think at this point I’d be better off going to a big company that is run well to learn a thing or two about process and how things run when they aren’t constantly on fire. I’m applying all over the place to companies of all sizes. Had three interviews this am. And I’ve already filed for unemployment but after taxes it doesn’t even cover my rent.

          1. The interview getting isn’t a problem — because theoretically there are a lot of openings for marketers with tech experience out there — except none that I am suited for at all. I just rewrote my resume to be honest, killed my director title because I believe I really was a manager (and maybe the director title scares positions that are more junior) and while I don’t sound very impressive anymore, at least if I land any interviews it won’t be because my resume made me sound better than I am!

  1. Hang in there. I hope your company gave a fair severance. I once left a job out of frustration without having another job lined up, so I know how isolating it feels sometimes. Although I found a much better one fairly soon, I will never do that again. I’ve been reading the learlier commenter’s blog and feel his recommendation of engineer layoff is a great one.

  2. Since you’re getting lots of interviews, that means you have qualifications for the role. Have you thought of going back to a previous employer? As long as you left in good terms, that’s typically the easiest, albeit sometimes awkward, option. Good luck with your search!

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