Losing a job is traumatic, especially if it’s your first time through the meat slicer… and if your financial situation is already a tightrope walk. Because the job-loss experience sabotages confidence, a support group can be made to order to rebuild self-confidence. Internet support groups have both convenience advantages and privacy risks, which I’ll describe in a moment.
- A support group is positive when it helps restore confidence and negative when it degenerates into a crying society. Remember that Job #1 when you lose a job is getting a job. Spending a lot of time with similarly out-of-work people may strengthen your feeling of moral outrage that you were unjustly fired. It may also do nothing about your getting a job and might in fact amplify the unhealthy feelings that you are an unwanted, flawed human being.
- Dr. Marc D. Feldman of the University of Alabama has “warned about sympathy-seekers who invade Internet support groups… People can invent or induce fictitious illnesses in themselves or others in order to gain sympathy.” What holds true for illness-based alliances can afflict any sort of support group. Often people who are either unaflicted or mildy affected will exhaust the group;s time and subvert its positive purposes.
- As with internet-based communication, be conscious that anyone can be listening in–and that includes former employers and executive recruiters.