The Richmond Register

April 20, 2013

What role does attitude play during a job loss?

By Jennifer Napier
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — The economy has been slow and profits are down. Your employer asked all the department managers to reduce expenses and make deep cuts two months ago.

You haven’t thought much about the cuts since then because summer’s coming and typically business begins to pick up in the spring.

Now it’s a Friday morning and you receive a phone call from your supervisor stating there is a mandatory staff meeting for your department this afternoon. After everyone arrives for the staff meeting, each person is blind-sided with the news that their jobs have been eliminated. Everyone is told they need to collect their belongings because today is their last day at work.

Losing your job is tough, but change is inevitable, so it’s best to not view yourself as a victim.  Accept that your past can’t be changed, but that your future has yet to be written by the choices you will make.  You can choose to exhibit a negative attitude (whine and complain about what happened, bad talk your employer, throw yourself a pity party or view your layoff as an upcoming paid vacation - courtesy of unemployment benefits), or you can accept the fact that you have the power to learn and adapt.

Consider the outcome of the individual who decides to exhibit a negative attitude about their job loss. 

This individual may become bitter about their situation or they may choose to withdraw from others. Thinking about what happened constantly occupies their time and consumes their thoughts to the point that others get tired of the self-pity and the chronic complaining. Their attitude has begun to hinder their altitude. Eventually, the person finds it a struggle to locate a job. Many times when they eventually find a job, it doesn’t last long and a cycle has begun.

Let’s examine how the individual choosing to exhibit a positive attitude might react. 

This individual may get upset and frustrated, but they won’t allow their feelings to consume them.  They will choose to evaluate their situation. 

They want to learn from their experience and create a plan of action.  They may ask themselves “What can I do to be successful at my next job?” or “What skills should I work on immediately in order to gain an advantage over my competition?” or “Where can I network with others or provide volunteer service in order to meet new people, create updated work references, or expand my skill sets?” 

This individual understands why a positive attitude is important and how a negative attitude can alienate them from promising networking opportunities or future job leads. 

A positive attitude demonstrates to others that a person can bounce back quickly, adapt well, overcome challenging obstacles, and be pro-active and more competitive in their next job search. 

If you were hiring, who would you hire?  Hint: employers steer clear of individuals with negative attitudes.

Jennifer Napier is the owner of Jennifer Napier Career Consulting in Richmond. Visit her website at or find her on FB at JNCC4U.