Job Loss

There are two basic types of job loss. There’s the voluntary departure where the employee leaves or quits and there’s the involuntary separation whereby the employee is still committed to the job.

Landy & Conte (2007) state that because a worker may continue to have “strong affective, continuance, or normative foundation” for staying with the organization, a job loss can be devastating.

The effects of job loss include (Landy & Conte, 2007, citing Warr):

  • Poor psychological health
  • Depression, insomnia, irritability, lack of confidence, inability to concentrate, and general anxiety

The reasons for these effects on one’s psyche are

  1. loss of job reduces income and daily variety
  2. loss of job suspends the typical goal setting guiding day-to-day activities
  3. loss of job results in fewer decisions to be made because there’s little to decide about
  4. decisions that are made tend to be trivial (when to get up, when to look for work, etc.)
  5. because of loss of job, new skills are not developed and current skills begin to atrophy
  6. as a result of loss of job, social relations are changed


Landy, F.J. & Conte, J.M. (2007). Work in the 21st century: An introduction to industrial-organizational psychology (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.