If you aren’t one of the people who has lost your job during the coronavirus, you most likely know someone who has. Almost a million Australians have become unemployed since social-distancing measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 ramped up, according to the ABS.
While being out of work never leaves you feeling fabulous, coupling it with the coronavirus pandemic has meant these changes are often unexpected and come with little to no warning. I know what it’s like to have the once-solid floor of your job dissipate from underneath you because it happened to me just weeks ago.
And honestly, nothing and no one can prepare you for the emotional rollercoaster you’re about to hop on that you had no time to strap in for because you were so affronted when it happened. No matter how many times the smiley HR person tells you what you’re feeling and going through is normal.
Side Note: Here are the horoscopes in isolation. Post continues below.
Especially when you don’t know what it’s like to go through life without a job.
I’ve been in some form of employment since I was allowed to be (hello fourteen-and-nine-months). So when this is no longer the case you will feel grief and loss, to sadness, anger, disappointment, panic and fear, according to clinical counsellor and psychotherapist Julie Sweet.
“Several clients who have recently lost their jobs have disclosed in sessions that they feel a sense of failure and more so a loss of identity. All of which are valid and healthy responses naturally,” Sweet told Mamamia.
But one of the most difficult points of job loss is trying to find a way to tell people. When you work in the media like I do, this sore point is more or less taken away from you because it’s up on websites faster than you can say ‘publish’. You typically don’t find yourself in a situation where almost everyone knows before you’ve told them yourself.
And while those reaching out to you have good intentions, there are just some things you shouldn’t do or say to someone who has just lost their job.
“Generally it’s often the discomfort of the person receiving the information about their friend or partner or relatives job loss that can cause them to become nervous, creating an urge to jump in and say anything that springs to mind to fill the silence and ease any tension, as opposed to reacting in a validating and measured way,” Sweet said.
In an effort to avoid this, here are some of the things you should avoid saying and doing:
1. Asking ‘what’s the plan?’ or ‘do you have something lined up?’
When you’ve just lost your job, there is no plan. You don’t know top from bottom and if you’re going through a redundancy, you’re doing all you can to absorb the information presented to you and make a logical decision at a time when your brain is telling you to do anything but be rational. If there’s something lined up, they will tell you.
2. Suggesting ‘other businesses are booming’ or ‘you’ll get another job’.
While some businesses are experiencing an uptick, now isn’t the time to tell someone you just need to look really hard for the opportunities because they are there.