The Novel Coronavirus pandemic has hit labour markets hard worldwide. Many people who at the start of the year thought their jobs were secure have been made redundant, or are forced to work shorter hours for lower pay. Losing your job or having your working hours slashed leaves a lot of time for brooding and feeling fearful, insecure, frustrated and sad. Here are some suggestions on how to cope.
Face your feelings
As a psychologist and job coach, Sabine Hirth often deals with people in career crises or undergoing a phase of professional reorientation. How can such people best deal with their negative emotions? “First of all, it helps if you accept all these feelings and let them be,” she says, but adds that you shouldn’t allow them to control you. “You have these feelings, but you aren’t these feelings.”
Tap a safety network
For many people, a secure social network of friends, family and partner provides stability. It helps to prevent loneliness and compensates for the recognition and reinforcement that you previously got mainly from your job.
Younger victims of redundancy, for whom the pandemic is the first crisis they’ve consciously experienced and who aren’t yet firmly anchored in their occupations, could gain from comparing notes with their elders, who went through the Great Recession and may have lost their jobs due to restructuring. Those with more life experience and the benefit of hindsight can relativise the current period of uncertainty.
Reset the route
You can also use the interlude of unemployment as an opportunity for reflection and reorientation, and explore possible new career paths. Tobias Gueldenring, who works at a municipal job centre in Germany, recommends examining alternatives. What talents and particular likings of yours lay fallow at your previous job? Could they be brought to bear in a different occupation?
Structure it right
Days built around working hours lack structure after a job loss. “Create a wave-like daily routine with several alternating active and passive phases,” says Hirth. Along with a fixed timeframe for job hunting, you should set a knocking-off time so that you can unwind.
Fill in the gaps
It’s also important to realise what you miss from your workdays. It might be recognition from your superiors or chatting with colleagues around the coffee machine.