Layoffs Can Be Tough, But Here's How Losing A Job Can Actually Help You Find Your Passion
Thousands of employees from around the world have been laid off since the start of this year. The unfortunate part about this entire system of laying off is how big tech giants including Google, Amazon, Microsoft etc. had to go through this entire process.
Loyal employees with work experience of over a decade were asked to quit and obviously that is a difficult time not just for the employee but also for the families and the people they support. At a time like this, it is counter-intuitive to think that the mental health and morale of these recently laid-off employees can improve or that they would positively see this situation.
But what could losing a job mean to different people?
As per Hansika Kapoor, a psychologist and researcher at the Mumbai-based Monk Prayogshala, "the way you respond to a life event such as unemployment depends on the relationship you have with your job, specifically, and with your work identity, more generally. It could also depend on the generation that you belong to or even your culture or upbringing. For instance, if you belong to an older generation (baby boomers), you could approach unemployment more negatively as compared to if you are younger (millennials)."
"Similarly, if you belong to a consumption-orientated culture, losing your job suddenly may be devasting owing to a lack of savings. Therefore, it is important to recognize the role that works, work routines, and working play in your life, beyond the obvious monetary rewards associated with this."
Basically, this means that while losing a job may be a life-changing event, the changes may even be positive for some. This may be a great opportunity to reassess your career trajectory and how it fits into your personal and retirement goals. In fact, what if this leads you to find your passion or a job you are passionate about?
How important is it to find a job you love?
"Assuming that your basic needs are continuing to be met despite losing your job, it could be fruitful to reframe unemployment as an opportunity to explore new avenues or revisit old passions," says Kapoor.
Other than that, a New York Times article titled '8 Health Habits Experts Say You Need In Your 20s' mentioned a very valid piece of advice. This advice mentioned how you should find a job you love.
There was a study conducted at the Ohio State University by Jonathan Dirlam, a doctoral student in sociology which stated how job satisfaction or lack of it can affect people's mental health and their life. The survey was conducted on 6,432 Americans to analyze job satisfaction which began from the year 1979 to the preceding years. The survey was the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY1979), and the participants were between 14-22 years when the research began.
The participants were asked to rate their job satisfaction from 1-4. Where 1 meant least satisfied and 4 meant most satisfied. These were now divided into four categories - consistently low job satisfaction (45 per cent), consistently high job satisfaction (15 per cent), started high but trending down (23 per cent), and started low but trending up (17 per cent).
Compared to the people who had high satisfaction in their jobs, the ones with lower satisfaction had higher levels of depression, sleep problems and excessive stress. These people were studied until they turned 40 years old. It was also noted that people who were in the low job satisfaction group throughout their early careers scored the worst numbers in all the five sectors.
Can losing your job lead you to find your passion?
Psychologist Hansika Kapoor says, "approaching unemployment in a resilient manner can help you overcome the negative mental health effects of the same as well as reshape your relationship with your work identity. It may be useful to consider unemployment as a "hard reset" on your work goals, giving you the chance to make them more flexible and not necessarily tie your self-worth to only progress in a professional space."
Dr Rishi Gautam, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the GW School of Medicine & Health Sciences in Washington, DC, USA, says that losing a job can be a boon in disguise for some people.
One can dedicate time to unfinished business and side gigs
A lot of people like to attain some extra income outside of work. However, many reputed companies don't allow employees to work outside of their work even if it is nothing to do with their current job role or position. But the people who had been wanting to try something new or freelance work which they actually were excited about can jump into it after the job loss. Jobs and roles that may or may be nothing to their day job could be something that can give meaning to their lives and give these employees more hope.
One can finally focus on family and friends
For some people, the stress of a job is way too much. In fact, work consumes most of their time and day. Many can't even draw the line between work and personal life for the same reason and can't give the needed time to family and their personal time. This can be a time to do that. People can not only finally catch up with friends but can also give their attention to home matters that were previously neglected.
One can take some time to think about what actually makes you happy
Sure, if there is a ton of responsibilities on one's shoulders after losing the job, finding time to understand passion can be difficult. But if financial matters are stable and you have been meaning to find something else to do then this could be a good time. One can understand and focus on what truly gives happiness or what would work towards it by taking a course or just jumping right into it.
"If your career was a grand prix race, think of a layoff as a pit stop to refuel, reenergize and recalibrate before hitting the track again," says Dr Gautam. Losing a job does not need to be the end of the world.