UW–Madison’s Thompson discusses dealing with job loss on WPR’s ‘Central Time’

Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Central Time” program interviewed UW–Madison’s Mindi Thompson for a segment titled, “Your job is not who you are: Dealing with job loss and identity.”

Mindi Thompson

Thompson is a professor with the School of Education’s Department of Counseling Psychology and director of the Work and Wellness Lab.

A preview of the segment reads: “We tend to invest a lot in our jobs including our time, energy, and education, but some of us also invest a large part of our identity. We talk with a Wisconsin work psychology expert about what to do when you lose a job and feel like you’ve also lost part of yourself.”

Thompson explained to Central Time’s host, Rob Ferrett, that “it’s really important to think of ourselves as whole selves,” not only our work identity.

She continued: “We have the selves that are connected to the work we do, and if that’s paid work then it’s connected to how we meet our needs for financial survival, and for power.”

But Thompson stressed it’s also important to think about the other needs that work fulfills, including “the social connections we get from work,” and “the routines and the habits that are part of our working day,” she said.

She explained that when those things are gone, it requires an adjustment. “We have to think about, ‘how can I get those needs met in other ways?’” she said.

Listen to the full segment at wpr.org, here.