According to a review of over 4000 research papers, conducted by the University of East Anglia and the What Works Center for Wellbeing, employees who lose their jobs never recover to their earlier level of mental health, self-esteem and satisfaction. To put that into perspective being fired takes longer to get over than divorce or the death of a partner.
Losing a job is not just about the loss of income. It’s not having the answer to the second question that everybody asks after they’ve met you, “What do you do?” For most people, the work they do and where they work, is usually their primary identity. Being laid-off or fired leads to the loss of that identity. In addition to losing income and your primary identity, it leads to another unexpected challenge, the erosion of purpose. Work serves a deep sociological purpose, related to the role we play in society, which assigns us a social value, without which we are not seen as contributing individuals to society (maybe even referred to as losers and slackers after a prolonged period of unemployment). Finally, there’s the deeply crushing loneliness that is a direct result of social isolation – loss of a job also means losing the valuable social interactions of colleagues.
Close to 6 lakh layoffs predicted in the next three years
Layoffs are a grim new reality in India. Jobs are being lost in the thousands, not just in the IT industry, but also in manufacturing, retail and other industries. This year alone, news reports announced 6,000–10,000 layoffs in Cognizant, 600 layoffs in Wipro, and thousands more totalling 56,000. The situation may actually be far worse.
Head Hunters India Founder-Chairman and MD K Lakshmikanth has stated that there could be close to 6,00,000 layoffs in the next three years.
The emotional repercussions of layoffs are ignored
In a place like India where employees are already tremendously stressed (46 percent), and depressed and anxious (42.5 percent), layoffs put an additional burden on their emotional and mental health. Most workplaces in India do not have a mental health policy, to take care of the mental well-being of employees, and almost none offer counselling services to support those who’re laid off or fired. Employees are left to their own devices, meaning most do not seek help, and also do not receive help from near and dear ones. Some of them are fired unfairly from their jobs, or forced to resign. Finding jobs in this economy has proven tough and we’ve spoken to employees who were unemployed for a full year.
At YourDOST, the current layoff situation and the lack of mental and emotional support systems, got us thinking about how we could help.
“The societal stigma of losing a job and the consequent ignominy can be very detrimental to the mental health of professionals. This aspect of layoffs is hardly given any thought in our society, if at all. That’s where we come in”,
says Puneet Manuja, Co-founder and COO of YourDOST.
Launching the “Fired to Fired Up” campaign
We decided to do our bit by launching the “Fired to Fired Up” campaign, where we shall offer three days of free counselling and career guidance, by qualified psychologists and career coaches, over a telephone helpline. This helpline will be open to anyone and everyone in need, for three days, June 29, 30 and July 1. We’re also sharing original content, that will help laid off employees deal with the shame, guilt, sadness and anger of a layoff. The content is in the form of personal stories of laid off professionals, as well expert tips from mental health professionals, HR managers and recruiters.
Talking about why we decided to run this campaign, YourDOST’s Co-founder and CEO, Richa Singh says,
We do over 2000 counselling sessions on our platform on a daily basis. Over 25 percent of these sessions are work or career related. So when these disturbing reports started coming in of so many people losing their jobs, it was a no-brainer for us that we had to provide a platform where they can share their thoughts and worries, and get professional help, to make sure that their emotional suffering is minimised and they get the right guidance so that their job hunt is as short and and easy as possible.
We’re here for you
If you have been laid off, there’s no need to lay low, talk to our experts to tap into your own inner resources and strength, and go from being Fired to Fired up. If somebody you know has been laid off, please share this article with them, and let them know that help is at hand.
Read our survivor story series here:
Read tips from experts here:
Read Post 3 : Laid off? Here are a few tips to help you bounce back.
This article is an official kickoff and introduction of the #Fired2FiredUp Campaign by YourDOST. Visit the page for real life stories, learnings and tips from career psychologists and recruiters.
Have you experienced a layoff recently? Are you finding it difficult to cope with it? Talk to an Expert at YourDOST.