Job-Loss Cycle

The diagram below outlines the stages and emotions that people typically experience during job loss and transition.

It is important to keep these stages in mind as you experience work transition and make decisions about what you will do next.  Knowing where you are at in the cycle will help you to understand your emotions and will help you in the transition process. It should be noted that this process can’t be rushed by ignoring your emotions – our experience tells us that negative experiences can often lead to feelings of anger, depression, and despair, and these emotions inevitably come across to potential employers.

Your success will rely on you taking the time to move through the negative emotions stemming from a job transition towards positive feelings to hope and opportunity.

Click on the picture below to see a larger version.


Notice that the diagram has two headings – job loss and job search. The cycle appears to be like a roller-coaster through both sections – and it is. Both will present emotional stresses. Seek out support – from family, friends, an employment counsellor or a counsellor. These connections will be important to your successful transition.

With the job loss comes both shock and anger – “I can’t believe this is happening! Don’t they appreciate me?” - followed by worry and anxiety – “How will I find a new job? Who will want to hire me? How will I pay my bills?” These are legitimate worries that can paralyze you. Work through each question independently and do so with your personal supports.

When the initial emotional jolt subsides it is time to start to anticipate the upcoming job search. The job search is rightly called a “yo-yo” period, with moments of hope and excitement countered with moments of fear and rejection.

The yo-yo period of the Job Loss Cycle can be an important time to ally with an employment counsellor - it helps to have someone outside of your regular network who can help you keep things in perspective and keep actively job searching. 

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