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Why does losing a job hurt so much?

Why does losing a job hurt so much

The author of this article, Vishal Naithani is a People & Culture Evangelist | ICF Trained Coach | Ex Head HR @ Shuttl & OYO Rooms

Vishal Says ” Writing is something I love! I mostly write about emotive real-world personal experiences around workplaces and human behaviour. A short compilation of my previous posts and write-ups covered in the media (from my HR blog) are available on my website

I’d love to connect with folks to exchange notes and speak about the causes that I champion and to explore personal Coaching & Mentoring assignments.”

There has been a spurt in Career Coaching requests that I receive as professionals are raring to get back to work now, unsurprisingly more so those who have unfortunately lost their jobs. While career counsellors and advisers would instruct individuals to get back to any sort of employment, most immersive Coaching conversations that I had in the past few months revealed more than what meets the eye. This short note is an attempt to crisply summarise an insight that might help a larger audience in distress (whether one’s job is impacted or not) and to also shape our lives and prepare better for tomorrow.

While the most immediate, obvious pain that comes to mind from a job loss is financial security, however, there’s more than what meets the eye. If we scratch beyond the surface, more than the impact on income, it’s also about loosing one’s only sense of identity. Job title, work schedule, office space, recognition at work, that employer brand flashing on your ID card, that sense of importance that a meeting offers….. This is how most corporate avatars are defined.

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The fact however is that there is so much that we can offer the world and there’s even more that it gives back to us. We have additional skills that we’ve forgotten about, let them resurface, if not, lets work on discovering new ones. Expand your horizons, lookup and realize that the paper you were furiously scribbling upon till now has a blank, unexplored canvas on the reverse as well!

Those who believe that they have no real skill besides their professional qualifications should read about Nick Vujicic. He was born with an extremely rare congenital disorder known as Phocomelia, that is characterised by the absence of legs and arms. At 21 years of age, he completed his degree with a double major in Accounting and Financial Planning. However, the career that he has carved out for himself is – motivational speaking (he has travelled the world doing this), writing (has authored 8 books till date) & philanthropy (founded Life without Limbs Foundation). Outside his work, Nick plays sports (including swimming, surfing and sky diving) and is happily settled with his wife and four kids. Now Nick might seem to be an extreme exception but there are scores of other people closer to us where people are excelling at leading multi-faceted lives and creating not only an income but happiness & well-being for themselves and others.

Delving deeper, the actual void that accompanies a job loss is not only because the experience itself is unpleasant but because we do not have an identity outside office and that is plain sad and unfair to ourselves. And thus loosing a job is unfortunately is akin to an absolute identity crisis! I do not profess this to solely safeguard against future job losses, but for a larger mind-shift to really thrive in life and not let a ‘job’ alone define your individuality. You are more than a job title and capable of more than you imagine. By the way, this is the same reason that employment breaks are a taboo in our country which is so disheartening to see. Slowly and gradually things are changing although.

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For far too long we’ve let our jobs alone define us, maybe this is the time to realize that our being is beyond that. Celebrate friendships and family, explore new facets of life, be thankful for your good health and appreciate how privileged most of us around are. With this realization will come the gift of Resilience and the way the world is shaping up, everyone needs to have more of that.

[ Incase you need some assistance in navigating life and explore your peak potential, do drop me a line at and experience the power of Personal Coaching. A few hours of self-reflection can lead to a lifetime of fulfilment! ]

Business photo created by freepik –

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