6 Ways to Endure Job Loss With Strength and Confidence
Job loss is something that nobody likes to go through—and it can be one of the darkest times in a person’s life. It has been for me. In fact, I’ve experienced job loss and unemployment three different times in my life.
I grew up knowing what job loss looked like—because my dad repeatedly experienced it.
Maybe it’s not you who has lost your job—but your spouse.
I know what you’re feeling right now—I’ve had the same fear—the what if your husband loses his job. And now, that fear has come true for you.
And it has come true for me too. We just got word that my husband will be getting a pay cut.
I know it’s not the same as losing a job, but those same feelings I had when it was me who lost my job—came back again. The uncertainty…frustration, and what if’s for the future.
I get it. They are constantly hassling your thoughts.
Without, dismissing all that you’re feeling right now, or even that I’m feeling right now, I can confidently say that this too will pass. You will get through this and it will get better.
In fact, I’ve put together a resource called the Endure Job Loss Worksheet to help you feel better equipped.
6 Ways to Endure in Job Loss
Even though right now my experience with job loss is slightly different, because it’s my husband’s job and not me personally, there are a lot of things that I’m better prepared for this time around.
Simply because I’ve been in this place more than once.
Knowing what I know now in my life, there are some things I would totally do differently related to job loss. And there are some things that I really wish I would have known ahead of time.
So I’m sharing these things with you. While you can’t change the past, you can move forward with hope for your future.
1. Use job loss as a time to strengthen your perseverance.
During each one of these times of job loss, my faith in God grew a lot. I was completely stripped of so many things that I literally felt like I was in the pit of despair. In desperation, the only thing I could turn to, was God. In the midst of all of it, I learned how to turn to God in everything. In prayer, in conversation, in lament. Those times helped me to grow in perseverance—to run the race that was set before me. Knowing that God was with me.
Often we think of perseverance as something that is physical—like a runner running a marathon. But, perseverance and endurance are referenced several times throughout scripture as a spiritual quality.
So the first thing to help you during this time is to take this time to write, journal, pray and meditate on scripture. Hold fast to the promises in His word.
2. Failure is an event, not a person.
The one thing that I faced each time that I experienced job loss was the feeling like I was a failure. It didn’t matter the circumstance, I always felt like I failed.
Like I was the reason that I wasn’t finding a job.
I really struggled to find another job each time. And in the time between—when I was searching for employment—I had a lot of time to think.
Unfortunately, I turned a lot inwardly and my self talk because very damaging—to the point of depression. You could say that job loss was the gateway for me to a time where I experienced the darkest night of the soul.
It was that time where I felt like I was in the pit of despair and there was no way out. It only reiterated the self talk that I was the one who failed and I was continuing to fail with each rejection for new job opportunities.
I only wish that I would have known or someone would have told me ahead of time that failure is an event, not a person. I learned this from Zig Ziglar.
If I would’ve understood this years ago, I think my self talk and mindset would’ve helped me to process through a lot of things better. Including my experiences with job loss.
3. It’s okay to take any job, not the perfect job.
Each time that I experienced job loss I spent all of my time searching for “the right job”. I can’t tell you why I didn’t just go get any job just to be making a paycheck other than I was prideful.
But the reality is that even though friends and family were supporting me during that time, there was only 1 person who said that I should just go get a job anywhere.
That person was my dad.
And when he suggested it, I was like,
“What? No way I’m not doing that!”
In hindsight I wish I would’ve taken my dad’s advice.
First, because it would’ve given me momentum emotionally—knowing that I was working would help to pull me out of depression and that “I am a failure” mentality.
Secondly, my dad was telling me that advice, because he had experienced job loss a lot too.
All why I was growing up, my dad had lost his job several times. I had forgotten that only until a short time ago. I grew up knowing what job loss looked like—because my dad repeatedly experienced it.
So his advice, wasn’t out of a pointing finger
“You should do this, because it’s stupid not too.”
Instead what he was really saying was,
“You should do take whatever job you can get, because it will help you.”
Unfortunately, because I was so wrapped up in my own pride, poor self talk, and the wrong mindset, I didn’t hear it as loving wisdom.
4. Stay connected to the right community.
When I found out that my husband was going to be getting a pay cut, the first thing I did was message a friend of mine who had been in the same place a few years ago.
She knew exactly what I was feeling and what I needed to hear as a wife. I actually had forgotten that I’ve been here before—that I’ve already experienced job loss in a number of ways.
She helped me to remember this because she encouraged me that we will get through this and everything is going to be okay. It was just what I needed to hear and she was the right person to connect with during this time.
During my previous experiences with job loss, I didn’t have the right community surrounding me. I had friends, roommates, and even family all speaking into my life. But, at that time in my life, most of them didn’t know what I was experiencing and they also didn’t have the right mindset to help me.
What do I mean?
Well, there’s a big difference between a negative mindset and a positive mindset.
Most of the world operates on a negative mindset—for example believing that people are failures. Then there are people who have a positive mindset—where in the good and that bad—you win.
A great biblical example of this is Paul the apostle. In Philippians 1:21, Paul says for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. Whether Paul lives or dies—He wins.
Surround yourself with people who see life with this perspective.
5. Assess your finances and take care of your 4 walls.
Each time that I experienced job loss, I felt so paralyzed and defeated. I tried to handle what little money I did have—but I didn’t have all the right tools or knowledge to do it well.
I immediately went into survival mode and for me the easiest way that I could “control” things was to essentially starve myself. Because I didn’t have any income coming in, I made sure that all of my bills were paid—student loans, rent, car payment, even tithing 10% to my church.
But, there were days where I didn’t eat at all.
How messed up is that?!!
During one of those times I actually lived with my brother and often he was gone. I would skip getting groceries when he was gone and I only bought ramen noodles and mac ‘n cheese when he was home.
He never knew that I wasn’t eating because I even tried to hide it from him.
It was the easiest way for me to try and control something because I felt like life was so out of control at the time.
Knowing what I know now…please hear me…you need to focus on taking care of the four walls of stability.
My husband and I recently went through Financial Peace University and this concept is something that Dave Ramsey teaches. The four walls are the four things are what you must budget.
Often when you are in this situation, the thing that gets set aside is groceries and food because you’re worried your utilities are going to get shut off or you’re going to lose your home.
But, hear me when I say this…there’s a reason Dave Ramsey lists food as number 1. Groceries and food are the most important during this time.
Learn from my mistake.
The Family Budget Binder
Another inexpensive resource that goes hand in hand with Financial Peace University is the Family Budget Binder from Living Our Priorities.
Andre’ and Timberley Gray are great friends of mine who are continuing to help me grow in handling finances well in a biblical way. Their Family Budget Binder is a PDF download for easy access and you can print what you need when you need it.
But it’s more than just a download.
Timberley and Andre’ take the time to walk you through how to set it up and how to use it. You can’t say that about most PDF downloads!
Also, they want to get this resource in as many hands as possible so they’ve made it thorough and affordable to help you keep track of things plus get on the same page with your spouse with your finances.
Back in January I felt like the Lord was leading me to focus more intentionally on our finances and because I know Timberley and Andre’ I knew that they were putting this resource together. So I had planned to use it.
Little did I know we would be needing to be more intentional with our finances because of job loss in the form of a pay cut. But God knew!
6. Forgiveness After Job Loss
This one by far is the one that is an on–going process. For each of the times when I experienced job loss there was significant emotional impact on me personally. Because for each circumstance I felt like I was wronged.
FIRST Experience: an employer wasn’t honest with me. They promised me a job then strung me along until the last minute when they told me that all positions were filled.
SECOND Experience: An employer wanted me to do things that were outside of the scope to which I was hired and because I was “young” they wanted me to just do it. They were unwilling to compensate me.
THIRD Experience: The President of the non–profit that I worked for was intimidated and felt threatened by me. At least that’s what two people had warned me about it far in advance of my job loss.
Both independent parties had approached me, separately, based on their observations. I tucked their words in the back of my mind, not really thinking anything of it. But months later when my supervisor told me the non–profit was letting me go because of financial reasons…
I couldn’t shake those thoughts, that this was just a cover up for the President to get rid of me. Because he was intimidated by me.
Whether this was actually true or not, I felt so abandoned by my co–workers. I had worked with them for a long time and had developed deep friendships. It was like we were family. Maybe they were told not to talk to me or reach out, I don’t know.
Job loss is probably one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced. And the third time was extremely difficult for me to forgive. It has taken several years. But, there was something that really helped me unlike anything else I had tried.
I finally took control of my self talk. Honestly, I never knew I had a problem with self talk. And I certainly didn’t think it had anything to do with me struggling to heal from job loss. You can read more in my post, What You Say to Yourself Matters.
Whether you are experiencing job loss at this time, or it is your spouse, I pray that these six things will encourage you on this journey knowing that this time too will pass.
Encouragement for Job Loss
Today, I’d like to send you a word of encouragement along with some extra material for strengthening your endurance and assessing your finances. Just provide me with your email and I’ll send it your way right away.
You will get through this season of job loss. There is hope.
As a wife to a man who has lost his job 5 times over the past ten years, I can tell you that I truly appreciate everything you say here. Especially that failure is an event not a person. It’s been hard for me to watch my husband suffer through this so many times. All of them not his fault, but all of them he heaps on his shoulders as if it was his fault, feeling like a failure. And, now, with so many holes in his resume, he gets rejected over and over and over. He feels worthless. And, it’s so hard for me to come alongside of him and help him see that his job status does not define him.
For a few months, I took over the job hunt for him. I felt it made sense because my side job is to seo optimize websites, I would be the perfect person to keyword optimize his cover letters and resumes and help write copy that sells him! I would spend about 40 hours a week just crafting perfect resumes and cover letters for each job and then every time that denial letter would roll in, it would kill me. I took it personally, like I was failing.
But, what I can tell you through all of this is that I am so thankful for the job loss. In fact, the entire basis for my blog was born from our testimony through his job losses.
God won’t leave you. He won’t forget to provide. I have hundreds of stories of all the crazy ways God provided for us. He rarely provides in the ways we expect!
And, you know what else? If God asked me to go back and do it all over, I would! Nothing is more valuable than where God has brought us through all this. Not even a stable career.
Melissa, first I’m sorry you and your husband have had to go through such a trying time in job loss. Even reading your comment, I felt myself saying, yes, that’s it—that’s exactly how I felt too. And yet, I am so grateful you’ve shared the good parts of your story too. God always, always, always provides. Especially in ways we don’t expect. And like you, I would go through it all over again because it has made me stronger and resilient. And I run to Him not everything else that I think will provide for our needs. Thank you, Melissa. ❤️