I caught a really interesting piece in the Wall St. Journal online recently titled After Divorce or Job Loss Comes the Good Identity Crisis, a look at some interesting research that examined just how long it takes the average person to get past, get over, and move forward from a dramatic life event such as a divorce or a job loss.
We've all heard and perhaps even advised friends and colleagues that 'time heals all wounds', the key question for the wounded is often 'How much time?'
Turns out it may be as long as two years for folks to get it back to 'normal' following a major life change.
From the WSJ piece:
Whether you've lost a job or a girlfriend, it won't take long before someone tells you, Dust yourself off. Time heals all wounds. Yes, but how much time?
Experts say most people should give themselves a good two years to recover from an emotional trauma such as a breakup or the loss of a job. And if you were blindsided by the event—your spouse left abruptly, you were fired unexpectedly—it could take longer.
That is more time than most people expect, says Prudence Gourguechon, a psychiatrist in Chicago and former president of the American Psychoanalytic Association. It's important to know roughly how long the emotional disruption will last.
Once you get over the shock that it is going to be a long process, you can relax, Dr. Gourguechon says. "You don't have to feel pressure to be OK, because you're not OK."
Oh, so don't feel pressure to be OK because you're not OK. Thanks Doc - that helps bunches if the traumatic life change involves the ending of a romantic relationship, where no one is going to force you to jump back into the dating scene before you are good and ready. Heck, maybe you never get back in the game. Sure, that kind of stinks, but again there are worse things that can happen. Like...
Like having the traumatic event be the loss of a job, especially if it was a good job and if you didn't see the axe coming - whether it was a layoff or even a term for cause that you should have seen coming but were blind to what was about to happen.
If the WSJ piece is right, and getting over the loss of a job might take up to two years to bounce back from, then that might be one of the reasons for the increased difficulty that many out of work job seekers have experiences in getting back to work in the last few years.
In this recovery period after losing a job, people are likely to feel depressed, anxious, and distracted - just the kind of feelings and 'tells' that will pretty much destroy a job seeker in the interview process. No one wants to be the hiring manager that signs off on taking on board the guy who was an emotional wreck in the interview.
Two years to get over a big loss, including a job.
Important to try and remember when the guy across the interview table, who suddenly found himself on the job market unexpectedly, has only had two or three months to process everything that has been happening to him.
He's tense, he might be getting depressed, and the pressure that is mounting on him at home is only getting more intense by the day.
Hard to 'get over' the trauma of a job loss under any circumstances for sure. And probably almost impossible when with every day that passes without a new job that the 'two year' time frame doesn't seem to get closer to ending, but rather just keeps moving into the distance.