How to Find and Define Yourself After Job Loss

We are more than our work. Aren’t we?

This can be hard to remember as our American culture takes great pride in what we do and how we contribute to society. Work is part of many people’s sense of self.  It is the lens through which many of us see our value.

So what happens when we lose our job?

Job loss can include loss of our identity, a loss of self.  When we equate our success to our work, what happens when the job is gone? This myopic view of worth may cause intense feelings of loss and grief that can spiral downward into a long-term struggle.

How can we shift through these times and rebuild our sense of self?

Now more than ever, our ways of validating worth need a rehaul.  While work gives us purpose and a paycheck, it isn’t always permanent.  Understanding who we are, and the value we bring to being alive, is a great place to start. By gaining a larger perspective of how we view our self-worth and contribute to our family, friends, and community, we begin to see that we are more than a paycheck.

How do we bring value to others? Are we optimistic and hopeful? Are we rooted in our faith and in our resilience?

How do we make someone feel in our presence? What kind of experience do we offer our family and friends? Do we make people laugh? Can we lighten the darkness for others? Can we instill a sense of calm through our determination and empathy?

Can we be role models for others in our flexibility with change? Yes, we may lose our jobs and inherently question our sense of self, but we may also gain a different way to utilize our strengths if we have an open mind to opportunity.