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The Anxiety of Job Loss

When you, or someone you work with loses their job, it can cause some uneasy feelings and anxiety. We often think to ourselves, “What if that was me that was let go?” Or “It could have been me, what would I do if I lost my job?”

It Could Happen To Anyone

It could happen to anyone. People do go through unexpected job losses. This can be outside of the entire COVID-19 situation, and a global pandemic that forced many industries to shift focus, adjust operations, or shut down entirely.

Many people work in a situation in which they are hired “at will.” This is where an employer has the ability to dismiss an employee for any reason (that is, without having to establish “just cause” for termination), and without warning, as long as the reason is not illegal. For example, firing because of the employee’s race, religion, or sexuality)

Sometimes people can sense, or have an idea when something like this is coming. Based on how the company is performing overall, or an individual’s performance. There may be some communications, either formally or through the grapevine. People may hear that the employer is restructuring or there is a movement within the organizational structure.

“It could have been me, what would I do if I lost my job?”

However, sometimes, this can come totally unexpected and without warning. While it is unfortunate, and in some cases, devastating for those that may be let go. This can also shake up the rest of the organization, team, or group that could be affected. This can cause doubt, sadness because of the loss of a coworker or teammate, low morale, and anxiety for those that have kept their job as well.

For those individuals that have NOT been let go, they can start to second guess their stability within the organization, and replay scenarios in their mind. “What if that was me that was let go?” Or “It could have been me, what would I do if I lost my job?”

“What if that was me that was let go?”

This can cause them to begin to research other opportunities. They start to review open roles on LinkedIn, and those they are connected with. They start to think of their bills, mortgage, and other responsibilities. How long could they go without income? Would they file for unemployment? Would they immediately start applying for other roles? Oh… and they may not have even touched their resume in over ten years. This can be a challenging time, full of uncertainty and anxiety.

I had recently been thinking about if this type of scenario had been played out. For the first time in my professional life, I had different thoughts that accompanied the questions, “What if that was me that was let go?” Or “It could have been me, what would I do if I lost my job?” I had thoughts of how I didn’t need to worry, I’d have time to regroup and figure it out.

Because of my intentional focus, frugal living, and working hard to reach financial Independence, this was the first time in which I have an emergency fund, a savings account, no debt, and income-producing real estate.

Peace of Mind

It did bring me peace of mind, and a sense of ease, knowing I had about 5-6 months of living expenses including groceries and utilities. I also have my investment rental properties that I could use to supplement the living expenses, rather than paying down the debt on those investment properties. If the situation did become dire, I could sell a portion of these properties, and use the equity for living expenses.

“I have an emergency fund, a savings account, no debt and income producing real estate.”

This was a time that I didn’t have to immediately worry about what would come next and if the bills were going to get paid or not. I was not living paycheck to paycheck. This was a time that, because of the position I’ve worked hard to put myself in, I had some freedom from worry.

Freedom From Worry

Many people in the personal finance space, and on their journey to financial independence say that it is to bring them freedom. Freedom to have options. Freedom to do work that is fulfilling, and meaningful to them. It can also bring you freedom from worry.

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