When you’ve lost your job or are deathly afraid that you’re next in line to be downsized, it’s easy to lose your self-confidence. It’s understandable to question yourself. “Did I do something wrong? I’m one of the hardest workers at the office. Why was it me?” Even if you intellectually acknowledge that you were part of a large-scale layoff, you still feel awful.
It’s hard to shake it off. You avoid friends, family and former co-workers, as you don’t want to talk about the job loss. The well-meaning sentiments saying that they’re “sorry” kind of make you feel worse.
This feeling follows you around and into the interview process. You’re a little off your game. You don’t speak with the same authority you used to have. There’s a sense of foreboding and dread—waiting for the moment when they ask about the reasons surrounding your downsizing. You start to stumble, get a little agitated and come across somewhat defensive. After the interview is over, you know you didn’t do your best and now feel even worse.
It’s not your fault. Over 53 million Americans are out of work and many more millions are worried about losing their jobs. This is a common occurrence. Even in the best of job markets, people lose their jobs.
You may think that it’s just you because most people generally don’t talk about the bad things that happen to them. When asked how you are doing, most people respond, “I’m doing great!” Since you believe them, you wonder why everyone is doing well and you’re not, which chips away at your self-worth.