Reflection paths and advices related to job loss

Jump! addressed the issue of job loss associated with covid-19.

As a result of this upheaval, many individuals have unfortunately lost their jobs as a result of cuts, bankruptcies, layoffs or are on indefinite work stoppages.

Thus, the question has been raised as to how this forced work stoppage affects workers and how this may differ from one person to another.

There are several elements of variability between individuals, depending on the role one gives oneself socially and the group one belongs to in society. This diversity stems from different experiences, as well as from people’s different needs with respect to their work. For example, an experienced worker who was planning to retire quickly, and who spontaneously loses his job, will not necessarily have the same thoughts and needs as an employee who is starting his new career.
Indeed, it is possible that an older worker may ask questions such as “Am I retiring earlier than planned? Do I still need to work?” etc. While others may see the situation as a new opportunity, development possibilities, or an opportunity for career reorientation.

In short, depending on people’s needs and motivations, it is possible to see various perspectives related to job loss.

Among others, we can think of individuals in a precarious situation who have a family. They may, for example, find it difficult to financially support their children, such as feeding the family. With such financial barriers in mind, these individuals are potentially less psychologically available to look for work quickly. Conversely, people who are financially better off may be less pressured by the situation, and potentially decide to wait to find the ideal job. Their highest priority needs will be different in this situation.

To better understand these needs and their involvement in daily life, we can refer to Maslow’s pyramid theory. This theory states that we have basic physiological needs, i.e. to eat, sleep, breathe, etc., which must be met before we can think about our security needs (having a roof over our head, a place to sleep for example). And so on until our needs for fulfillment and updating that motivate us to develop and try new activities, change careers or seek a new promotion. In short, the theory states that in order to meet the top needs of the pyramid, our underlying needs must be met.

With this precarious situation that can upset our basic needs, it is important to seek the resources necessary to feel fulfilled (for example, seeking resources from food banks) and thus have the availability to think calmly about our higher needs, such as our future employment.

Experienced workers may be more affected by this situation than other classes of workers. In normal times, without a global pandemic, older workers have more difficulty finding employment quickly, being over-represented in long-term unemployment statistics. This is partly due to the fact that there may be discrimination and ageism on the part of recruiting companies, but also due to the motives of these workers, which may change over time. For example, the desire to spend more time with family, grandchildren or to take time for oneself may be more present than before. It is also possible that these workers may have thoughts about staying in the labour market, or retiring a little earlier than expected. If the worker takes the time to reflect on his or her motives and to refocus on finding the arguments for staying in the labour market, he or she will be more convincing to recruiters. This can be an asset in the job search process.

Taking the time to make a game plan about what you want to do and the emotions you’re going through right now can really be an asset for anyone going through the process of job loss. Some studies show that writing down our emotions and verbalizing the process we are going through can help us find a job more quickly. This is probably due to the fact that taking the time to stop and understand ourselves better makes us more efficient and more convincing.

On the other hand, we have seen candidates who have not taken the time to “heal” from their job loss and who still have some resentment towards their former employers. However, talking negatively about one’s previous job does not leave a good impression in an interview. Therefore, it is important to understand and put this sense of resentment and frustration into perspective in order to move on to the next steps in your job search. A more favourable and fairer impression will thus be projected to the recruiter or manager.

The current state of the situation causes stress, a lot of uncertainty and unpredictability, and everyone experiences it differently. Take the time to manage your stress in your own way. Without reinventing the wheel, it is useful to remember that physical activity, meditation and trying to meet your physiological needs first will help you take care of yourself and relieve stress. There are also external resources! Don’t hesitate to look for them, whether it’s food banks, a psychologist who does special Covid sessions, a guidance counsellor or even contact recruiters, such as us at Jump! recruiters.

It is necessary to have the tools for your success and your well-being in these particular times.

One step at a time!

Amélie Doucet, Researcher and Ph.D. student in occupational psychology
Joliane Tremblay-Powell, Recruitment consultant and psychoeducator by training