Reducing The Stress of a Job Loss

Job Loss is Stressful and Complicated

Because my practice has morphed these last years from helping families in divorce to helping those in any major transition (getting married, losing a spouse, etc.), I see a lot of job loss.  It can happen so fast and be completely unexpected. What to tackle first?

Typically, when you are walked from an employer, they are going to send you home with some paperwork or perform an exit interview on-site.  In high times of stress, one's brain cannot focus and concentrate.  Listen to your exit interview, take your paperwork and go home.  Please do not sign anything until you have had a chance to review it.  You do not need the stress and pressure of the HR Director peering over you and the immediate sense of shock of losing employment to make major decisions.

Instead, write down your questions, organize your thoughts and call HR later.  


We get a lot of questions about about health insurance.  Heck, I know many people that go to work only to obtain health insurance for their family.  This is a major concern. 


By 1986 law, COBRA gives employees the right to continue coverage at the group premium rates. Typically, it is 100% of the premium (which might have been partially covered by the employer) and a 2% administration fee.  This is a viable option and can provide consistent coverage for a family while other options are researched.  The employer will send over coverage termination information and your insurance provider within 2 weeks will send you COBRA continuation options via the mail.

Outside of open enrollment, one can obtain coverage due to job-loss.  This is important to research while exploring COBRA options.  It might be less expensive to obtain independent insurance or move to a short-term coverage policy rather than pay your COBRA premiums.  I have researched this enough times with clients to know that every one family is different.  

For example, a family with young children and frequent trips to the doctor, might decide to it advantageous to maintain consistency of coverage through COBRA.  For a single person with minor health issues, a short-term medical policy through can be significant savings.  

I recently read a Motley Fool article that advised to research, research and do more research.  Compare plans, check prices, and check doctor participation depending on your attachment to your physician.

Make a list of the medications you take and what they'll cost under various plans. List services you expect to need, too, such as visits to mental health counselors. Then try to estimate how much each candidate plan will cost you. Don't be afraid of high-deductible plans. If you're not likely to spend a lot on healthcare, they offer a good way to keep costs down. (Source:


We say we are going to analyze our spending but let's face it, we get busy.  This is the time now to put that thought to action.  Sit down and list out all known expenses.  I like to use receipts and an Excel spreadsheet - a legal pad will do!  Take some time to get a handle on what needs to be paid and how you can address your imminent bills. 

What is not acceptable is ignoring it.  You cannot ignore your bills because you feel bad.  They don't care.  You can control your spending and your stress will reduce, the more your stay on top of it.  If there are small bills that can wait to be paid, call the company and ask for small payment plan or an extension while you sort things out.


You are already disciplined.  You got up every day, got ready and went to work.  Continue to do so.  Work on your resume, research new job opportunities ad treat it like your full-time job.  I see the most success and the least down time with people that have a plan. 

Get up, get ready, research, submit resumes, make calls, and have coffee with people who can help you in your field.  You will be shocked at how much time it takes to get your next awesome role.  It needs your time, dedication and attention.


There is no shame in losing a job.  It happens!  Talk to your friends, arrange to do things to keep you occupied (hikes, movie rentals, pot lucks) that do not strain your budget.  Seek support and ask for help.  Your friends want to help but they do not know how and they cannot read your mind.  

The more you can prepare for emergency, the better (like with an emergency savings account) but hey, this is life! and $h1t happens.  Breathe and know that you can do this, get better and succeed in another role wherever you may land.