Fear of Losing Your Job Due to the Pandemic: What Can You Do?

In the current weeks of uncertainty, one of the frequent concerns is the fear of losing your job. It's a fear that many of us must face, but without losing sight of the real priority right now: keeping ourselves protected to avoid and reduce COVID-19 infections.
Fear of Losing Your Job Due to the Pandemic: What Can You Do?
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 14 October, 2022

Among many of the fears that may surround you in the current pandemic is the fear of losing your job. This is by no means an irrational fear, nor are you wrong or being negative if you think about such things. What we’re all facing is a reality. It’s as if the pandemic were a tsunami, reaching almost every part of the world. Thus, what can you do in this situation?

The International Labour Organization (ILO) announced just a few days ago that the current crisis could lead to unemployment for more than 25 million people worldwide.

Now, in the face of this emergency, there’s a response that could alleviate the damage. This is the coordinated, decisive, and immediate response of all countries. Right now, each country is applying different measures to provide social protection to its citizens. However, this doesn’t seem to be enough.

In an article that was recently published in The New York Times, the journalists point out that, if current strategies are maintained, our economy will die of a coronavirus. Therefore, it calls for consensual and swift action to implement, first of all, the universal basic income. This may even be applied in Donald Trump’s government. Next, a plan must be drawn up to energize the economy and stop the job losses that are currently happening.

However, as experts such as Paul Romer (2018 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences) and Alan M. Garber, a doctor, economist, and dean of Harvard University, point out, the first step in all of this is to stop the advance of the coronavirus.

In what way? The formula is simple: confine the population, equip health care providers, and design a vaccine to stop the pandemic as soon as possible.

A worried man.

Fear of losing your job because of the pandemic – What can you do?

Many people are spending their day-to-day confinement at home in fear of losing their jobs due to the pandemic. Let’s face it, fear isn’t a very pleasant companion. Fears and worries can become bigger and bigger and start to become the epicenter of your life and consume you.

If we add the fear of contagion to this or having been infected by the disease, then the psychological impact is obvious. Therefore, we need to have some strategies at hand to reflect on. They’re the following:

Remember the priorities of the here and now

As we pointed out at the beginning, the fear of losing one’s job due to the pandemic is a real fear. There will be those who have already been made redundant, or who have been put on unpaid leave, and others who are working from home. However, there’s always uncertainty about what will happen when all this is over.

These are understandable fears but the important thing in these cases is to remember what the priorities are at the present moment.

  • We know that everyone is telling you this at the moment, but the priority right now is to protect yourself and those around you. Confinement and taking the right safety and hygiene measures every time you go out is the most important thing.
  • A constantly worried mind lets down its guard and could endanger you and others.
  • You must hold on to what’s happening right now and what the authorities are asking of you. It’s true that losing your job is a worrying thing but you mustn’t neglect your own loved ones, both young and old.

Constructive concern versus negative concern

You have a right to experience the fear of losing your job due to the current pandemic. It’s not wrong to worry and to let this fear overshadow part of your day. That’s quite understandable. However, you need to bear in mind that there are two types of concern and only one of them can help you in these circumstances.

The negativistic concern is the one that doesn’t help at all. It’s the one that immobilizes you and that feeds the fire of anxiety. Don’t feed it. It appears in your head with the following words:

  • “This crisis is going to leave us all on the street.”
  • “When it’s all over, nothing will be the same and we’ll all be out of a job.”
  • “We’re not going to get out of this. It’s going to be a worldwide disaster.”

Constructive concern, on the other hand, has a healthier and more strategic approach. Instead of the all-or-nothing negative statements, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my chances of getting fired? Will it be a temporary or permanent layoff?
  • In the sector I work in, will I still be needed when this is over?
  • Since I have a lot of experience, should I really be afraid that I’ll be fired or that no one will hire me again? Is that a valid fear?
  • What have I been told at work? What are the real chances that I’ll no longer be needed when the current crisis is over?
  • If I were to lose my job, what should I do? Could this perhaps be an opportunity to look for other opportunities or to improve my skills?
A stressed woman.

Fear of losing your job due to the pandemic: control whatever is feeding your worry

An essential way to reduce the fear of losing your job due to the pandemic is to control the things that are causing those fears. For example, your work WhatsApp group may be causing you to worry more about this situation. Worries and misinformation are increasing. Other information is blown out of proportion, and we only hear the alarmist and negative sides of the story.

Identify which situations, information, and people are intensifying your concern. It’s essential to maintain a realistic approach, but not a fatalistic one. It’s vital that you know how to handle your worry and fear in a constructive, and not defeatist, way.

In situations of difficulty and uncertainty, your mind must always be your best ally. If you bear all this in mind, you’ll get through this crisis in a positive way.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.