Losing a Job is Worse Than Losing a Spouse

A recent study in the UK found that getting fired truly takes a toll on people, much more than many of us would have guessed:

Losing a job can be a sharp blow, one that causes a bigger drop in life satisfaction than being widowed or getting divorced […] British men’s well-being returns to normal levels two years after losing their partner and four years after the breakdown of a relationship. But losing a job? Their well-being continues to decline for more than four years.

Modern society places tremendous value on doing productive work. This is especially true of men, who are affected by a job loss much more severely than women, according to the study.

In a way it makes sense: the typical person spends more of their waking hours at work than with their partner or spouse.

Money, bills and career goals affect relationship choices much more often than the reverse. People are more likely to move to a new city for their company than for a new marriage partner.

The modern corporation is, in many ways, the latest incarnation of the human tribe. It has all the tribal elements: a leader who enjoys total power over members; a hierarchy of membership; an internal culture and set of customs; rules and regulations for membership that, if broken, can result in expulsion; and a self-consciousness and self-awareness distinct from other tribal units.

Just like all tribes, being expelled from the corporate tribe takes an emotional toll on a person. We don’t like being rejected by any community, especially one that we invest so much of our time and energy into.

I’m a big believer that everyone should have multiple ways of producing income.

Even if you choose to focus on one job at a time, you should still be able to seamlessly generate income for yourself or your family if that one job/ business/ project falls through.

Not only is this smart from a financial point of view, but it’s also wise from an emotional standpoint. If you are never completely emotionally committed to any one single income source, then losing that will not be such a massive hit to your confidence. You will bounce back more quickly from a loss.

As a business owner, I can speak from experience. Your ability to be agile, flexible and adaptive means not getting emotionally attached to any one product or service offering.

The last thing you want is to have a particular product or service you’ve invested time and energy in rejected by the marketplace, leaving you with no other options.

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