There’s no way of getting around it: losing a job can be a jarring experience. It doesn’t matter whether you were laid off from budget cuts, forced into “retirement” due to a company merger (like I was), or simply fired. It all hurts the same. It’s not just the loss of income, but it’s also a blow to your confidence and self-worth. On top of all that, you may feel like the clock is ticking on your finances and you need to find another job pronto–all while feeling like you’ve had your legs kicked out from under you.
I get it. But let’s put this in perspective. You’re not the first person to lose a job, and you certainly won’t be the last. In fact, there’s no guarantee that this won’t happen to you again at some point in the future. It happens. The key to bouncing back after this is the choices you make now. So let’s talk a bit about how to process your current situation so you can recover and start looking at the next chapter of your career.
Dealing with the Emotional Impact
I’m going to make a suggestion here that may seem counterintuitive, especially if you’re feeling financial pressure–but it’s a necessary first step to regaining your confidence:
Before you launch into a new job search, give yourself a minute to heal.
Trust me on this. You’re dealing with some negative feelings, and you’ve got to deal with these feelings before you throw yourself back into the job hunt. Why? Because if you’re feeling low and doubting yourself, it’s going to make finding a new job harder. It can mess with your motivation, cloud your decisions, and even trip you up in interviews.
I’m simplifying this a little for the sake of brevity, but I see recovering from job loss as a two-step process:
STEP ONE: Let yourself grieve.
Job loss is just that: a LOSS. It’s not as profound as the loss of a loved one, say, but it’s a loss just the same. It’s natural to grieve a loss–in fact, it’s essential. So allow yourself to grieve. Let yourself feel all those emotions, then start working through them. Journal, talk it through with friends and family, or even see a therapist, if necessary. There aren’t any rules here–whatever works for you and helps you process the grief.
STEP TWO: Realign your perspective.
Remember, losing your job doesn’t mean you’ve failed or that you’re not good enough. You’re still the same talented, capable person you were before. These things happen; it’s not always a reflection of your abilities or value as an employee. If mistakes were made, don’t beat yourself up over them–just learn from them. Begin to reflect on your skills, your talents, and your positive qualities. If necessary, get in front of the mirror and start speaking positive things to yourself. (Yes, out loud.) Remember who you are and what you can bring to the table. It may seem forced at first, but with a little time, these exercises will help you regain your confidence so you can get back out there.
Practical Steps towards Recovery
Once you’ve had time to process emotionally, it’s time to get practical. Here are some steps to help you regain control of your career destiny:
- Review your finances: Assess your financial situation and create a budget. This can help alleviate some stress and give you a clear picture of how long you can comfortably look for a job.
- Update your resume: Make sure your resume is up-to-date and reflects all your skills and experiences. Consider hiring a professional resume writer if you’re unsure about how to present your credentials effectively.
- Reach out to your network: Reach out to your contacts — friends, former colleagues, mentors. Let them know you’re looking for new opportunities. Don’t forget about networking events and online platforms like LinkedIn.
- Upskill: Use this time to learn new skills or improve existing ones. There are many free or low-cost online courses available in almost every field.
- Practice self-care: Exercise regularly, eat healthy, find a mindfulness practice you’re comfortable with, and ensure you’re getting enough sleep. This will not only help manage stress but also ensure you’re at your best when opportunities come along.
Staying Motivated in Your Job Search
Job hunting can sometimes be a long and, at times, discouraging process. Here are some tips to stay motivated:
- Set daily or weekly goals. This could be as simple as applying to a certain number of jobs per day or spending a set amount of time on your job search.
- Celebrate small wins. Got a call back? Landed an interview? Celebrate these small victories. They’re signs of progress!
- Stay positive. Keep reinforcing those positive messages to yourself. Remember, rejection is a part of the process, not a reflection of your worth.
Losing a job can be tough, but it’s not the end of your career. With the right approach and mindset, you can turn this setback into an opportunity for growth. As always, I’m here to help you take the next steps toward the job or career you’re dreaming of. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, just click here to access my calendar.