Being fired is worse for your well-being than getting divorced or being widowed, according to a new study. Researchers in Britain analyzed 4,000 studies and found that men’s well-being—mental health, self-esteem, and satisfaction with life—returned to normal two years after the death of a partner and four years after divorce. But even four years after losing a job, their well-being continued to decline.
For women, it took three years to bounce back from losing a partner through death or divorce. But even four years after losing a job, they too hadn’t regained their well-being.
Why is it so hard for us to recover from losing our job? One obvious reason is that for some, it takes a long time to find a new, satisfying job. But that doesn’t fully explain our loss of well-being.
The study’s researchers believe it’s because our society places so much emphasis on having a meaningful job. Being fired shakes our self-confidence to the core and can make social situations feel awkward.
But it is possible to regain our sense of well-being. The study found that extroverts, people who have good relationships with family and friends, and people who are part of a faith community are better able to withstand the impact of losing their job.