The Impact of Job Loss—and Ways to Cope with It

5 min read
a man in suit feeling depressed due to job loss

You are probably reading this because you have lost your job, or someone you know has. People—if not all—have experienced job loss. Factors such as business downsizing, poor work performance, and economic instability can result in losing a job. One major factor nowadays is the Coronavirus pandemic. Nobody would wish to experience this, right? Job loss has negative effects not only to the person involved, but also to their family members. Let’s delve into its impacts and, more importantly, how you can recover from it.

People Without Jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate decreased to 6.3% in January 2021. This means the number of people out of work fell to 10.1 million. Although the percentage declined big time compared to April 2020, it is still relatively high for the average rate from January 2019 to 2020.

Graph of unemployment and job loss rates
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Businesses and professionals are slowly getting their jobs back. However, millions and millions of people in the US alone are still unemployed. And they are experiencing the impact of job loss.

Impact of Job Loss to People

a woman in despair looking for other jobs after losing her job
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The population at risk of experiencing the toll of job loss is high. Primarily, getting fired can lead to stress. In fact, it is one of the highest contributors of stress, along with unfortunate events such as illness, divorce, and family member’s death. Aside from stress, effects can range from physical to emotional and even mental.

Loss of Earnings

Job loss primarily affects one’s source of income. Unprepared or not, you’ll totally feel the change from one season to another. While you might get a sense of security from your job one day because you earn, pay your bills, and buy whatever you want; your job might be gone the next, and along with it your sense of security. It then brings you to yet another big impact in your life: your confidence.

Low Self-Esteem and Social Withdrawal

Losing your job may result to loss of self-confidence. Did you lose your job because of the pandemic, or because you were not able to reach the quota? Whatever reason behind it, job loss will affect your self-esteem. What will my family think of me? Why am I the one who lost a job? Why am I feeling unworthy? These might be your questions now.

Low self-esteem may lead to social withdrawal. Because people deem it embarrassing to share what happened to them, they isolate themselves. Also, as your self-esteem declines, so does your desire to move around. Lack of exercise can lead to various physical illnesses, such as cardiovascular diseases. Aside from these, job loss can disrupt family relationships. Research even says job loss can lead to divorce among partners.

Risks in Mental Health

Losing your job may affect your mental state. This includes depression and anxiety. In fact, when COVID-19 happened, the number of people with depression, anxiety, and other mental conditions amplified since. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that one-third of Americans display signs of clinical depression and anxiety.

Do not belittle these issues. The best tip we could give you in handling this is to seek professional help.

What to Do When You Lost Your Job

a person holding a folder and is determined to succeed despite job loss
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Whatever the reason, losing your job means losing your job. Frankly, it’s a serious matter; thus, we can’t simply tell you to get over it. The negative weight a person carries may be different from you, and how they handle job loss could differ from your coping mechanism, too.

That said; allow us to give you practical yet helpful ways to handle and overcome job loss.

Grieve. Breathe. Take a Step Back.

One natural response to loss of all kinds is grief. So, grieve and feel the pain. Absorb it. Acknowledge your emotions. Why? Because you’re human, and you have feelings. But here’s the key: Give yourself a timeline, a point when to stop. This timeline varies from one person to another. So, be honest with yourself, don’t bottle up your feelings, and accept reality.

Being authentic to reality helps you maintain your sanity. For instance, think of job loss as just a temporary setback in your life. Millions of people who have lost their jobs later on recovered from it and emerged more successful. You can do the same.

Taking a step back is helpful in this kind of situation. For example, suppose you lost your job due to poor performance. The better way to approach this is to step backward, and face and work on your weaknesses. See the bigger picture. Sometimes when people are hurt, they tend to magnify the smallest things. So, ask yourself about the problem. Is it discipline? Self-control? Leadership? Accountability? Integrity? Whatever your reasons may be, you still can improve.

Connect—with Your Loved Ones and with the Things You Love.

After stepping back and seeing the bigger picture, what’s next? Connect with your loved ones. As mentioned above, withdrawal is one effect of losing a job. But in this season, you need to connect to them. Contact the people you trust the most and tell them everything.

There are times when you just need someone to listen. If these people don’t offer solutions, be thankful still. If they do, be grateful.

Also, reconnect with the things you love. It can be your family leisure plans, a hobby, or a long overdue passion project. Think of how you set aside these things because you were busy with work. Now, time is your ally.


Slowly, you are getting back on track. Since you are not earning money, here are some practical tips.

  • First, file to claim your unemployment benefits. Contact the Unemployment Insurance Division of the Department of Labor of your state and ask if you qualify for the benefits. Apply for this right after losing your job.
  • Second, you can start your own small business. Do you love cooking or baking? You can build an online store. Find a hobby or two wherein you think you can earn extra income while waiting for job openings.
  • Last, begin your job search. Once you have your target job and company, it’s time to submit your application. However, you need a resume, cover letter, and some requirements for that. During this season, job hunt is tough. You need to be creative in getting the recruiter’s attention. Thus, you need to submit the best resume.

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