The Five Stages of Job Grief

Everyone leaves their job someday.

In this day and age, most people would have had at least two previous work experience in their resume by the time they are 24. As with everything, people go through various stages of grief when you feel you have lost something.

It’s the same with your job. You go through periods of being emotionally imbalanced, uncertainty and even depression right until you leave the job. Here’re the five stages of job grief.

Stage 1: Growing Unhappiness

You start to feel unhappiness at work. Coming to work on a Monday is like getting your legs tied to steel balls, body slammed a zillion times and mentally you are a vegetable. You wished there is no need to work. You wonder why people need to work. You feel you are underpaid. You feel you are not getting anywhere with your job. You feel you are overworked. You feel life sucks.

Stage 2: Confused state of mind

You enter a state of confusion. Your mind is confused. Am I in the right job? Is this job still going to lead me to my career goals? Long term goals over short term gains? You are not sure where you stand. The future suddenly looks pitch dark. Like a bottle floating in the ocean, you are lost. Things look greener on the other side but what happens if you fail to adapt on the other side? You are confused.

Stage 3: In Denial

You decided to hang on because you think whatever you are doing will ultimately bear fruits. You decided to hang on because you still believe in the company. At the end of the day, your beliefs are what they are – mere beliefs. You are in denial. At this stage, some linger for the longest time. Some barely stay a day longer. Most times, people move on to the next stage. Those who don’t? They are still in the same company and maybe job.

Stage 4: Depression

At this stage, you finally quit your job – but without finding another one before you quit. When your job searches have been futile or worse still, no one is ringing you up for an interview. The initial days of happiness and relief from your previous job starts to wear off and you are now facing the realities of feeding yourself and your various commitments as your finances deplete. The longer the job search drags on, the more depressed you become. You feel useless. You become depressed.

If you have found a job before you quit your previous job, skip to the next stage.

Stage 5: Closure

Finally, after numerous interviews, you land yourself a job. All is good. For some, within weeks of their new jobs, they find themselves at Stage 1. For others, this new job is great and a fresh new beginning awaits. The future is bright and your smiles return. You get the confirmation letter after three months and finally you find closure. Until…two, three or five years later… See Stage 1.

When I’m not at work, I’m into the arts, music and history. Football’s my other big love so if I’m not around museums and galleries, I’m probably on the field. If I still can’t be found, I’m having my me time.

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