The emotional impact of entry-level layoffs

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In my previous article, I briefly discussed losing my job to the recession. This time I’m going to delve into its emotional impact because I believe it’s important for students and recent graduates to know what their peers are going through.

It’s certainly surreal now, three months later, looking back on that day. I didn’t expect the news I received despite whispers around the office which had managed to elude my ears.

The president called me in for a”meeting” and informed me they were going to have to let me go, citing the struggling economy and the company’s own organizational downturn.

Experts say losing a job can affect a person as deeply as losing a loved one.
Experts say losing a job can affect a person as deeply as losing a loved one.

In that moment, I only remember one emotion: shock. And then, I simultaneously saw all my time there flash before me.

In hindsight, I understand on a rational level the decision they made. But, as many experts will tell you, losing a job is one of the most stressful events a person can endure, comparable even to losing a loved one.

It was exceedingly difficult for me to recover. I was fortunate to have a number of supportive colleagues around me, some who had also lost their jobs and others who were facing a professional reality without their peers and friends around them.

I leaned on my family and friends as well and found solace in their kind and optimistic words but realized this was something I would have to overcome.

One thing was certain: everyone knew things would never be the same.

With the news came the inevitable anger and resentment, and I relentlessly wondered: Why me?

I have learned, mainly by letting time pass, I will never know the answer to that question and harbouring anger about it only hurts more.

Getting laid off also came with the fear of detachment. The fear that, in the future, I would not be able to completely commit myself to an organization or employer. In one respect, my loyalty has been somewhat tarnished and, in another, I am better prepared to face my future.

The truth about layoffs is you can never understand the impact of that loss until you have suffered it.

I had the misfortune of experiencing it early on in my career. I believe it will make me tougher. Make me stronger. Make me appreciate what I have and what I can experience.

This optimism was not easy to muster. Only now am I able to look back on that day with some semblance of peace. Part of me wishes it never happened, but the truth remains that it was — in every sense of the cliché — out of my hands.

I look back at my time there and I do not regret a single task, project, relationship or choice. Perhaps that is more than I could ever ask for, despite the fact that my time there ended so abruptly.

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About the author

Simren Deogun recently graduated with high distinction from the management and English programs at the University of Toronto with a CGPA of 3.6. Her career goals include establishing herself within the field of marketing and communications, and engaging in writing or literature-related ventures in her free time. She enjoys dabbling in graphic design and is always finding new ways to enhance her skill set. She also developed and runs her own marketing blog.