As businesses and other places of employment close in response to COVID-19, British Columbians are experiencing a lot of uncertainty and fear around their job and ability to earn an income. Almost half of British Columbian households have lost at least one income, and many others anticipate that they will lose work. Losing a source of income or anticipating a loss of income can be devastating and add every more stress or uncertainty to a situation that already feels difficult.
While some people may feel confident that they’ll get their job back at the end of the pandemic, they may still wonder how long that will take and worry about making ends meet until then. Others may fear that their workplace will be forced to shut down permanently. Some British Columbians may also worry about the future of their entire industry.
Acknowledge any feelings of loss or grief. Losing a job—even when you had some notice or expected that it might happen—is not easy. It’s important to be kind to yourself and work through difficult feelings you might experience. You can find tips and strategies at Give yourself time to grieve.
Make a plan. It’s okay if you need to take a break, but don’t let it stretch on without an end date. Making a plan can help you identify what you need, what resources might help you need those needs, and what you can do to take action.
Be aware that it will take time to access government supports like Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, so it’s a good idea to keep on top of application requirements and factor wait times into your plan. Learn more about government and other financial assistance in Where can I go for help?
Reach out. On top of practical worries and uncertainties, job loss can bring up difficult feelings like isolation or make people doubt their talents and abilities. It’s a good idea to reach out to family and friends to share your feelings, seek support, and work with loved ones to see how you can help each other through this.
Stay in touch with your professional networks. Keep in touch with your former co-workers and colleagues or join a professional organization (if available) to maintain your connections, keep on top of education or networking opportunities, and stay up-to-date with changes in your industry.
Use this time to re-evaluate your career path. A job loss can be a useful time to reflect on your career and what you might change moving forward. If you aren’t happy with your current career path, look into online education opportunities, join a professional organization, or take advantage of social media like LinkedIn to connect with people in a field you’d like to move into. Even if you can’t act on a career change right now, this might be a good time to set some goals, do more research, and plan ahead.
Take care of yourself. Now is the time to take care of your health and well-being. Learn more and find tips in the Take Care of Yourself section.
Seek extra help if you need it. You can access free phone-based short-term support with a counselling intern through Moving Forward Family Services. Learn more at mffs.ca. You can also find local services or just talk with a volunteer through the Mental Health Support Line at 310-6789 (no area code). You can also:
- Chat online with a Crisis Center volunteer at www.crisiscentrechat.ca (daily between noon and 1:00 am)
- Visit bc211.ca or call 211 for information about local services and supports, including mental health and counselling services, legal help, and access to healthy food.
- For older adults: Call the Seniors Distress Line at 604-872-1234
- For youth and young adults: Chat online with a volunteer at www.YouthinBC.com (daily between noon and 1:00 am)