How to Respond to a Loved One Losing Their Job

by Sheri Oz Google

    Losing a job hurts. In addition to the ensuing financial difficulties, it is also a blow to the ego. Being laid off because the company is downsizing can feel like a personal rejection as much as being fired due to conflicts with the boss or poor performance. You see your loved one depressed and unable to find the energy to look for new employment. It scares you to think they may never get over it.

    Step 1

    Recognize that in today’s world, job insecurity and career changes are more common than in the past. According to "Career Development, Work, and Occupational Success," having a series of careers is now the norm This perspective may help you remain optimistic in spite of your loved one's current lack of employment.

    Step 2

    Support your loved one through the grieving process. For some people, loss of a job is like a death; it can feel like the end of financial security, of a reason to get up in the morning and of professional identity. While others may have less extreme reactions to job loss, it nevertheless is a jarring set-back over which there is a sense of loss of control., describes how normal grief reactions, such as anger, disbelief and deep sadness are relevant for the unemployed person. Support your loved one through this process by letting them cry and listening to them when they need to talk.

    Step 3

    Assist with the necessities of daily life. Try to organize friends and family to help take care of some basic necessities, such as food and childcare. Having these bases covered will free your loved one to take the time to mourn the loss of the job and begin to regain the emotional energy required to make new career plans.

    Step 4

    Help your loved one brainstorm new ideas for future employment. Once your loved one is ready to move forward, think together about skills he or she has acquired over the years and how these skills may translate into a new job or career direction. Research job descriptions on the Internet for fresh ideas.


    • If your loved one does not feel comfortable exploring job options with you, suggest career counseling or coaching.
    • Remember the adage, “When one door closes, another opens.” suggests that the loss of one job may open the door to previously unimagined career opportunities.


    • If your loved one seems to sink into a deep depression, consult a mental health professional in your area.

    About the Author

    With an Master of Science in marital and family therapy, Sheri Oz ran a private clinical practice for almost 30 years. Based on her clinical work, she has published a book and many professional articles and book chapters. She has also traveled extensively around the world and has volunteered in her field in China and South Sudan.

    Photo Credits

    • Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images