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I've Lost My Banking Job and I'm now a Debtor

Apr 1, 2008
Over recent weeks the words 'credit crunch' have been all over the financial headlines, and the effects of the turmoil that has hit the financial markets have been reflected in a number of ways, affecting both financial institutions and consumers.

The credit crunch was sparked as a result of the housing slump, rising interest rates, and record defaults in the sub-prime sector of the United States, and over recent weeks the global repercussions of this crisis have become increasingly evident.

The financial turmoil has hit hard on many levels. Even financial institutions have suffered as a result of the turmoil. In fact globally as many as 33,000 jobs could be lost in the financial services industry over the next three months.

So how do you deal with going from one side of the fence as a creditor or banker to the other side as a debtor? What is the best way to mentally handle the change?

At least temporarily, you may have lost many things, including your daily work, your work associations, a structure for your days, financial security, and status. Even though your job loss is due to budget cuts and not your fault, it is common to feel some loss of self-esteem, or that somehow you have failed, and it can be hard to tell your friends and family. In fact in terms of major life upheavals, the stress of unemployment ranks alongside that of a serious injury, going through a divorce or mourning the loss of a loved one.

Even though unemployment is an ongoing issue in our society, the shame associated with job loss and the tendency for people to blame themselves for their unemployment continue to increase the population's vulnerability to mental health so no matter what your job title was before, at the end of the day you will be feeling like everyone else who has ever had the misfortune to lose their job.

It's important for people losing their jobs to be positive about themselves and to stifle self-criticism. It's best for them not to dwell on circumstances that are beyond their control. Instead, they should use their time and energy to generate new opportunities.

Give yourself time to adjust. Allow yourself some time to absorb what has happened--to deal with the initial emotional reactions of yourself and significant others. Be open to support from and discussions with those at work.

Spouses, partners, and children are also affected by your job loss. Give them permission to talk about their reactions and concerns. Have a family meeting to discuss how the family will cope and get everyone's ideas. Explain the economic forces that led to the job loss. Reassure children that the family will work together to get through this time. By opening up to those who care about you, you will immediately gain support from the most important people in your life and they may also be a source of job information.

The way we frame what happens to us has everything to do with how we cope and move forward. Success in any endeavor depends on how one views setbacks in life. This is a challenge, not a failure or the end of the world. Don't compare yourself with others who have lost their job -- everyone deals with it differently. Think positively: "I can handle this one step at a time".

No one can understand what you are going through better than your peers. Often you can share thoughts and feelings in a support group that you cannot share elsewhere. You will also get good advice and decrease any sense of isolation.

Now is not the time to try to go it alone. Reach out and use everything that is offered to you A crisis like this gives you the opportunity and permission to get help.

Admit to significant others and your support system your feelings of anger, fear, frustration, and sadness. It will help you regulate your actions and stay motivated. Keeping a written journal of how you feel and what is happening can be a big release for your feelings.

One good way to reduce your anxiety is to clarify what you are most afraid of and begin to work on a plan to address the fear--for example, the worry that you will never find another job. To paraphrase the famous statement, the biggest thing we have to fear is fear itself, and the way it paralyzes us and pulls us down.

Spend time with people who are confident in you and your future and who have worked through their own crises in a positive manner. Talk to those who have constructive ideas and advice. Notice the positive side of unemployment and enjoy it, such as more time for hobbies or family, no commute.

Do what you can and accept what you cannot change. Remember the serenity prayer: "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Despite all your hard work in searching for a job, many other factors will also determine when you find work.

Sleep, exercise, relaxation, and good nutrition are more important than ever during the stress of unemployment. Use the extra time to set up that exercise program you never had time for when you were working so hard. Avoid the use of drugs and alcohol to deal with stress. Take scheduled breaks from your job search and allow time for fun.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, sad, blue and lethargic, you might have a battle with depression raging. Get professional help. If you are feeling very sad and in despair and it does not improve over time and/or if you are feeling paralyzed by anxiety or your sleep is consistently disturbed, get the help of a mental health professional or see your family doctor. There is lots of help available and people that care about you.
About the Author
Steve Rhode is a debt expert that helps people find answers and solutions for difficult financial problems. You can read more of his advice and assistance at CreditDebtLife.com
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