Don't Lose Your Life After Job Loss
11/27/2012 11:43:00 AM
I remember when the term “econocide” was coined a few years back. When big companies lost profits and some big salaries, some couldn’t handle the loss of the life they were accustomed to and in turn, killed themselves. Yes, job loss is hard. No doubt, facing how to pay your bills or care for your family is devastating. Some don’t take job loss that far but do suffer other health consequences.
Job loss is hard enough as it is, right? But new research now shows that it can actually be dangerous…and deadly. Unemployment has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, according to an article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. But why? Not just the shock factor according to interventional cardiologist Sara Collins, MD.
“Unemployment status may be associated with loss of insurance, and therefore, worse access to healthcare.” This means a reduction in heart attack-prevention practices, like medication, doctor visits and screening exams. Collins also says those who can no longer afford child or elderly care during unemployment may be reluctant to leave home to see a doc, ignoring signs of an impending heart attack.
But of course anxiety while dealing with the shock of losing your gig does play a role. “The chemicals associated with stress, like acetylcholine, have been associated with an increased risk of heart attacks,” Collins says.
Since risk is highest during the first year after job loss, how do you maintain yourself? Jenna Birch tells us a few things in her article, “5 Things To Do If You Lose Your Job”:
Overhaul your resume or CV (Curriculum vitae). On the resume, list just your credentials using strong action verbs like “completed” and “directed.” And then ditch the mission statement. “You can totally misfire with that,” says Austin. “Use results where possible. They’re the measure of success. Then, really take a look at yourself. Are you a people person? Good with numbers? Tech smart? Make a list of all the things you’re good at.” Group your qualities into categories, and refer to these when drawing up a cover letter.
Network the right way. Don’t bother using a mass-mailing website to look for a job. Austin insists your resume will just go into “the black hole of cyberspace.” Tap existing relationships. “Talk to everyone you know, tell them the kinds of things you’d like to do, and ask if they know someone who knows someone,” Austin says. “Don’t ask for referrals, just ask for people you can talk to. Ask senior people if they know anyone you can talk to about a job. It’s the best way to get on the radar, especially in this work environment.”
Be persistent. You may send out 10 or 20 resumes and only get one phone call back. Stay upbeat. “You cannot let anyone see you beaten down,” says Austin. “If you go on an interview, check in. Call. Send a handwritten note. Ask, ‘Is there anything else you need? I haven’t heard back from you.’ Don’t be annoying, but be of service.” Never let the silence or a no stop you. Move on to the next.
Keep your workout routine. Staying fit and looking after yourself will help you stay in shape both mentally and physically—which will help with your overall outlook. “You need to take a positive approach,” says Leslie Austin, Ph.D., an executive coach and corporate consultant based in New York City. “Being positive is a discipline. It will get you your next job. It will help manage your stress while looking. In a good economy, employers need workers. In a bad economy, they need good workers.” Like you. So, keep in tip-top shape. Exercise, eat well, take care of yourself and steer clear of pity parties.
Stay busy. Black clouds creep in when you stay in and crack open a bag of Oreos. Get up. Get moving. “Go volunteer,” says Austin. “It is very good for morale to help others. Plus, you never know how you will meet someone.” Potential career connections can hide anywhere – except at home in front of the TV.
I believe a job is a resource but never the final source. As a person of faith, I know when one door closes, another can -and will -open. Some people find themselves pursuing other passions and dreams after losing one one stream of revenue. Finding a new job or career may take a while; you may take a pay cut or go in another field but don’t lose your life over the loss of a job. Change is constant and sometimes change is forced.
Even through being fired.