NiceDay blog: What if I become unemployed?

In the Netherlands about 384,000 people are unemployed. Losing your job can have many reasons and unfortunately many people have lost their jobs due to the corona crisis. Being unemployed means that you belong to the labor force, but you are not currently working. Losing your job and becoming unemployed has major consequences, both practically in your daily life and emotionally.

Practical consequences

When you lose your job, you also lose your income. You are usually entitled to benefits, but that depends on your situation. As soon as you apply for benefits, in the Netherlands you will have to deal with the UWV. UWV stands for Employee Insurance Agency. They take care of the implementation of employee insurance such as the WW, WIA, WAO, WAZ, Wazo and the Sickness Benefits Act. It is also possible that you end up in a reintegration process via the UWV or that you are entitled to training. If you are not entitled to a benefit through the UWV (any longer), you will have to go to the municipality for social assistance benefits.

Emotional Consequences

Working is so much more than making money! It provides structure and purpose to your life. In addition, working can make you feel appreciated and this in turn affects your self-confidence. If you do not work, you may feel that you no longer participate in or contribute to society. You can also miss the structure of having something to do every day and experience stress over a loss of income.

Mourning your job

Losing your job evokes so many different emotions; disappointment, frustration, sadness and anger for example. The following five stages of loss can help you better understand your feelings:

  • Denial

When you know you’re going to be fired, but you may not want to face it in the first phase.

“This can’t be true, can it?”

  • Anger

You may be angry with your boss, your colleagues or the situation in general. When you lose your job due to things out of your control (such as corona), you may experience feelings of anger because of the situation and because you are the victim.

“Why is this happening to me ?!”

  • Negotiate

You want to look for ways to stop the loss of your job; for example by going to the trade union or court.

“I’m going to do everything I can to keep my job!”

  • Depression

At some point you become aware of the fact that you have really lost your job. In this phase feelings of depression and stress can develop.

“How will I ever get a new job?”

  • Acceptance

In this phase you have accepted that you have lost your job and you regain the space to focus on new possibilities. Those new possibilities will give you new energy, go for it!

Tips for coping with job loss

  • Realize you’re grieving. A job is not just about making money, there is much more to it. You make social contacts through your work and it brings structure to your life. The emotions that come with losing a job are totally normal: you lose quite a big part of your life. It is good to realize this and to not push these feelings away.
  • Share your feelings with people close to you, such as family or close friends. It is wonderful if your environment understands you and takes your feelings into account. If some people don’t offer you the support you expected from them, don’t get stuck in that, but seek support from others.
  • You are not the only one who is experiencing this. You may know others who are or have had the same experience. Talk about it with each other, sharing experiencees can help you.
  • Are you going to apply for other jobs? Try and prepare yourself for those and read up on tips that could help you.


If you experience a lot of negative feelings due to the loss of your job, you can seek professional help. A psychologist can help you reflect on the negative emotions that can arise because you have become unemployed. You can also work with your psychologist on your self-image and gain new insight into your strengths. Click here for more information about online help via NiceDay.

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Maaike van der Kaaij

My name is Maaike and I am a psychologist at NiceDay. During sessions with my clients I find it really important they feel free to tell me everything. I am interested in people's behaviour and enjoy helping people gain new insights! Besides my work, I love my family, travelling, working out and going out to dinner.

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