Your Worst Nightmare

What’s the single most stressful event possible in life? Experts say the death of a spouse ranks number one. But recent studies show that forcefully losing your job causes a degree of grief to rival even this. To understand what firing is really like, I read the reports, and then interviewed four people who’ve forcibly lost their jobs since the 2007 economic downturn.


Statistics Canada keeps track of job loss, as well as what happens to these people afterwards. There is good news and bad news. The good news (based on 2002–2006 data) is that 85% of people laid off have a new job within a year. Furthermore, 26% of people reemployed within the year have an increase in salary.

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Judy Wearing
Smiling woman. By Gabriel Silverio of

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