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Our Losing Your Job Experts

Richard Nelson Bolles

Richard Nelson Bolles

Renowned author of the What Color Is Your Parachute? Series

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Bradley Richardson

Bradley Richardson

Business author, professional speaker and career development...

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Tanya Flynn

Tanya Flynn

Communications manager at Careerbuilder.com

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The Pink Slip Slump

It has many euphemisms: “laid off,” “downsized,” “let go.” But there’s no turn of phrase that can soften the blow when you feel more like you’ve been “fired,” “canned,” “terminated” or “axed.”

Unfortunately, job loss is a common challenge in these economically strained times: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, approximately 4.5% of the labor force—or approximately seven million people—is out of work at any given time. Since the year 2000, mega corporations and mom-and-pop businesses alike have been laying off workers, some of whom had served their employers for years. Maybe you were shocked when your boss claimed your performance was lacking or maybe you were the victim of office politics or possibly you’d heard rumblings about layoffs around the water cooler. No matter the reason for your dismissal, being fired stings.

Though you might be feeling dejected and fearful that you’ll never find another job, the first 30 days of losing your job can actually be a time of renewal and reflection. If you view this time as another life experience from which to learn and grow, this first month will set you on the path to finding your perfect job.

“Recognize that everyone who is successful has setbacks and failures,” says Lynn Joseph, Ph.D., career transition coach, consultant and author of The Job-Loss Recovery Guide: A Proven Program for Getting Back to Work—Fast. “The one trait that all successful people have is resiliency.”

Job Loss Doldrums

According to the Holmes-Rahe Scale of stressful life events, a job loss is considered the eighth most traumatic life experience one can have, preceded by divorce, serious illness or death in the family. “People go through the same stages of grieving with a job loss as if they had lost a loved one,” says Joseph, adding that the typical emotional stages stemming from job loss include shock and denial, fear and anxiety, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, which often includes forgiveness as a necessary component.

Of course, each person has a unique reaction. “Not everyone goes through every stage,” notes Joseph, “and they can come and go. If you’re 23 and don’t own a home or have children and those kinds of responsibilities, you probably won’t go through this kind of emotional trauma. The strongest predictors to stress from job loss are financial stress and attachment to your old job.”

When Lynnette Khalfani-Cox was laid off from her job as The Wall Street Journal reporter for CNBC television network, she was shocked. During her contract renegotiation, everything seemed to be a “go” and she had an impeccable track record behind her. “The first 30 days after I left were truly an emotional roller coaster, and I had enormous feelings of betrayal and letdown,” she says.

Posted: 12/21/07

Thanks for this article....being 50 and unemployed for the first time in my life, I am so scared of not ever being considered for a posting, but here's hoping that the comment from the lady who was laid off at 60 about experience when you are in your early 50's will still make me an attractive option for my future employer.


good advice i lost my job of 31 years im 51 i feel obsolete ilfeel my world is falling apart icant find a job i fear im going to lose all i have ifeel nothing im doing is doing any good i pray every day GOD give me a job nothing happens its hard to keep trying sometimes i dont feel im doing any thing right when it comes to finding a job this is affecting my whole life l cant see the light at the end of the tunnel


Even when you know it's no fault of your own (company bankruptcy) and you have excellent references it can still devastate your self-esteem. Especially when others are finding jobs and you are still unemployed and running out of money. That has been my biggest struggle, trying not to let my self-esteem plummet and become depressed when nothing is materializing.


A little helpful, but what about the "average" joe, that is a janitor? He certaintly doesn't have the finances to start a publishing business or to even think of doing such. What about the little guy?

  • on 4/20/08 7:38 AM EST

Very good advice! Lynn Joseph and Patti Wilson are pros. Here's a great employability tool for hs on up. It's online and self-paced: Link.