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    Wednesday
    Aug142013

    Time heals all wounds, just not fast enough if you've lost a job

    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?' John McLaughlin, Untitled, 1963

    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.

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    Reader Comments (4)

    As they say time is relative and when you are the one facing crisis you will comprehend the depth of that statement.

    It is almost the same pain you experience when you get dumped in a relation, because you are in a relation with your company and perhaps spend most of your waking life with it and one day - the company finds you 'disposable', that is a lot to digest.

    The blow to self confidence is incomprehensible. The only thing that can heal it SOON is finding another job - thats the only thing that can quantify 'how long' it will take to heal.

    August 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAadi

    What's interesting about this phenomenon is that the recovery often continues even into the candidate's new job. They bring anxiety and depression along with them and terrible feelings get stirred up at every reminder of their old job. I think you're right - it really can take two years to get over a tough job loss.

    August 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSara

    I don't think finding a new job quickly will heal the loss you've felt.. I agree with Sara - it CAN take two years to get over it. For me it took one and a half year, so I'm a little underneath the "two year zone". But I think it depends on the mentality of the person - if you liked your job or not and what happends in your life and surroundings in the time after the job-loss.

    The first six months I was just broken. My firing came as a huge shock for me, so it took time to come out on top again. A friend of mine, told me to use the time off I suddenly had to do something for myself. And it helpt. I started in a sportsclub, and made a lot of friends, and later on I also started on a so-called further education here in Denmark to prove my possibility for getting a new job.

    Today I have a great job as the HR manager in a company here in Denmark and I'm happy again. The surroundings in my life at that time helpt me, but getting over a job-loss or similar is different from person to person. I can only recommend everyone who gets in such a sad situation, to use the time off and improve your skills!

    August 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

    I posted a comment 22 August, but I accidently made a mistake in the URL. I wanted to link to my new job, so any of you guys, if you're interested, could see what it is :-)

    I've been working here almost a year now, and I'm still very happy about it! Furthermore I can recommend EVEYONE to try mindfulness! A course, an education or a third thing. It doesn't really matter - mindfulness is just amazing! Definetly one of the ebst things I've done to myself :)

    August 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

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