Health

Dear Coleen: I’m devastated at losing my job and having to start again – Coleen Nolan

Dear Coleen

I’m a woman aged 40 and I’ve felt really low since losing my job in October. I couldn’t even really muster up any enthusiasm for Christmas, even though my partner and family tried their best to cheer me up.

Financially, things are OK as my partner has a job and he can cover our costs, plus I did get some redundancy money, which will tide me over for a bit.

The problem is that I really loved my job and had been there for nearly 10 years. My social circle was built around the people I worked with and I just feel totally lost. It’s like I’m starting over again at 40 and I don’t have the confidence to do it.

I feel afraid to try, so I’ve only made half-hearted attempts at finding another role somewhere else.

I’ve been in full-time employment since I was 23 and I don’t know anything else. I keep bursting into tears for no reason and can’t get motivated. I feel humiliated that I was let go and others got to stay. It’s out of character for me, as usually I’m a pretty upbeat kind of person, but this has really broken me.

What’s gone wrong?

Coleen says

First of all, your feelings are natural – it’s a big thing to lose something you’ve had for nearly 10 years and which has been such a big part of your life. You’re in unfamiliar territory and that’s always a bit scary.

However, it could also be a great opportunity to do something new and enhance your life in lots of different ways. These days, 40 is young and you have 17 years of great experience to offer prospective employers.

It’s OK to take some time out if you can afford it, not only to build yourself back up mentally, but to enjoy just doing what you want. You may not get that chance for a long time once you’re back working and you don’t want to regret wasting that time focusing on the past.

You can’t change what’s happened, so start thinking about what you want in your future. If you need a bit of counselling to help, then that’s OK too.

Don’t be embarrassed about what other people think – sometimes it’s good to reach out and show a bit of vulnerability and let others help you. And it sounds as if you have a great partner and family behind you. It may not seem like it now, but you’ll grow as a person and learn from this experience.

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