5 Downsides No One Tells You About Losing a Job
It's never fun, but no one tells you what it's really like.
Everything about layoffs and firings are nightmarish: losing your sole source of income, having to start looking for new opportunities immediately, resume building, networking, finding the right outfits for interviews (if you even line them up), etc.
The uncertainties don't end there. Though the stress of not knowing when you'll get your next paycheck can take a toll on your well-being and personal relationships, unemployment has many other downsides you don't hear enough about enough. Here are some of the quieter struggles of losing a job.
1. Your relationship with former colleagues changes
I've been let go twice, and on both occasions, I couldn't help feeling like I'd lost a major social network. You go from seeing all the same people every single day to limited interactions with just a handful of them, and that's if you're friends with some of these folks.
At one company, I was close with many of my coworkers and they were devastated to hear of my termination, but there was only so much sympathy they could display without seeming to betray their managers. Your former colleagues might still G-Chat you about their own tedious work days from time to time, but they have jobs to protect and don't want to end up in your position, so they'll probably keep the complaining to a minimum. More than likely, you'll have to air your grievances to non-former work buddies until you find yourself another job.
2. The extra free time gets old very quickly
As writer Erin Mallory Long explains in her humorous video about unemployment, the first stage is Happiness, as you have endless amounts of free time after losing a job.
You can finally catch up on that highly lauded Lifetime comedy "UnReal," don't need to set an alarm, have time to exercise, and can do what you want all day. You might have dreamed of this kind of free time during stressful periods in the past, but the excitement of having no responsibilities fades quickly. The days feel really long, especially if you're spending the majority of them by yourself. Before you know it, you'll miss your ultra-structured, hectic working girl life.
3. You spend all week thinking about upcoming hangouts with friends
Sometimes, it's a relief when friends cancel on post-work drinks or dinner. You're probably exhausted anyway, and this allows for more time to relax at night. If you're unemployed, however, it can feel especially tragic when a friend bails on concrete plans. That much-needed human interaction might have been the only thing you had to look forward to all week, and like your job, it was taken from you just like that.
4. Weekends lose their luster
On one hand, weekends are nice because your gainfully employed friends can finally meet up with you (if they don't request a rain check). That said, you used to get pumped for weekends back when you had a busy schedule, but they're less cool now that every day feels like the weekend. It might even make you miss the anxiety of waking up to a full week ahead on Monday, as so many people are still doing it without you.
5. TV and Netflix aren't so appealing anymore
There are only so many series binges you can sit through before you start to feel antsy, restless, and lonely. Part of the reason I love "UnReal" so much is because it's a treat when I get home from the office, but when I didn't have a job and watched "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" on Netflix from 12 p.m. to dinnertime, I began to feel like Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, and the gang were my actual friends, and I thought about their lives and conflicts way more than a normal fan should. TV time ought to feel like a reward after exhausting work days, not your only connection to other human beings.