Unfortunately, America perpetuates the idea that you have to have a job that affords you with a live-able income in order to be worthy of anything. We end up thinking our value is in what we produce. The way our system is set up, equating your worth with your work is inevitable and a really difficult philosophy to distance yourself from. Especially when you find yourself unemployed, furloughed or laid off — like so many people have experienced during the pandemic.
The issue is, a large percentage of Americans submerse themselves in their work, always striving to climb the ladder in their fields. At a certain point, you become the job and can’t identify yourself without it, until you lose it. Many people lose their sense of self after job loss. They feel as if they no longer have status, respect or purpose. It can deeply affect wellbeing and unknowingly place you in an existential crisis. If this sounds like you, we want to help. We came up with the below tips to help you out of this dark headspace.
Fish for compliments
Sometimes you just need a good reminder from old friends of how far you’ve come. Reach out to old managers, teachers or childhood friends who knew you before your current position. These people will vouch for you and remind you how accomplished you’ve become prior to this setback.
Take off the blinders
Too often, when we feel emotions of anger or sadness, it leads to a slippery slope of all the times we felt that emotion. Unemployment can feel the same by reminding you of previous drawbacks, both professionally and personally. Not to negate the very valid feelings you may or may not be having, but it’s far too easy to feel as if the dark feelings and unfortunate situation is permanent.
Our identities are not monolithic. They are constantly changing and can bend or mold into whatever you desire as long as you aren’t afraid to put the necessary work in. Attempt to see a different perspective of yourself to get you away from your present identity. A good exercise is to decide where you want to be in 5 to 10 years. By focusing on the future you, you can help identify the narrative and path you need to be on to get there. It’s a really fun way to get yourself out of a bad situation and can ultimately change your mood and thoughts for the better.
At the end of the day, only you know your breaking point. If applicable, seek help from either a trained coach or therapist who can help you sort out your experience and get you to a better mindset. Attending therapy can be quite therapeutic in see your situation in a more objective way.