THE EMOTIONS OF A JOB SEARCH


This blog borrows from a 2011 CCC copyrighted presentation by Becky Brillon, then the Program Director at CCC

Submitted by Mike Doody – CCC Volunteer and Board Member; Retired Executive Search Consultant

            Losing your job and going through a job search can be a very emotional time for people. For those of us who have gone through a job loss and are in or have experienced an unexpected job search, we understand the experience of the highs and lows brought on by various emotions.

            I think it’s helpful if we understand something about what is going on as we experience the high and lows of the job search.  In 1969 Swiss psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book on the five stages of grief – often associated with death and dying. The Kubler-Ross five stages of grief are:

Denial
Anger
Bargaining
Depression
Acceptance

She pointed out that these are not “stops on some linear timeline of grief.”  Rather they are tools that help us identify what we are dealing with.

            Years later these five stages were evaluated from the perspective of those who had lost their jobs and were in a job search.  They were expanded to 12 stages experienced by job seekers after the crisis of termination.  The 12 stages experienced by those job seekers are:

Relief
Shock
Denial/disbelief/self-isolation
Anger
Bargaining
Guilt & remorse
Panic
Depression
Resignation to the situation
Acceptance & reality
Building
Growth and new direction

 

            Although every job seeker experiences or “feels” each of these 12 stages, how we pass through each stage and how quickly we move through them is unique to each individual. As we have all experienced throughout life – our emotions jump around, often without predictability.

            It is not unusual for us to experience several different stages or emotions in a single day.  Or to go through a day with virtually no emotional swings.  Also, it is not unhealthy, unusual or wrong to experiences these mood swings! Sometimes job seekers think they are going a little crazy when their concentration or memory is impacted. It’s good to know it is part of the process and perfectly normal.

            We should all remember, that all job seekers experience these emotions.  You are not the only one experiencing them. As you continue through your job search – focused on reaching that goal of a new position – know that here at CCC you are not alone in dealing with these emotions.  By keeping focused on your job search strategy, you may move through these 12 stages faster and with less frustration and pain.  Sometimes it helps to make sure you take good care of yourself in ways that are healthy, in order to minimize behavior changes. Music, exercise, a nature walk or bubble bath – whatever works for you.

            As Becky Brillon said at the end of her presentation:  “Your emotional experience is similar to what happens when you jump into a swimming pool filled with water. You descend, you stop, then you come up.”

 

Keep in mind, you come up faster if you exert effort.

 

Good luck and happy swimming!




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