Losing your job can be confusing, discouraging, or even frightening. Whether you’re fired or laid off, being out of work can take a toll on you in a lot of ways. Not only do you take a hit to your self-esteem, but you also have to deal with the uncertainty of your future.
Dealing with job loss is something that no one wants to do, but if you are going through it, it’s important to handle it in a healthy and productive way.
Here are some tips to help you deal with losing your job.
Let yourself be sad. Grief accompanies loss. This is just as true with job loss as it is with any other kind of loss. If you fight back against the grief, it’s likely to only come back stronger later. Remind yourself that it’s okay to be sad about this. Give yourself time to grieve.
Talk it out. Part of getting through grief is expressing it. Talk with a spouse, parent, sibling, or friend about how you’re feeling. Don’t be afraid to show your anger, sadness, or fear. If you’re uncomfortable talking to anyone about it, try writing it in a journal instead; that will still be better than holding it in.
Decide to move on. You have to make a conscious decision that it’s time to move forward. There’s a lot to be done after you lose your job, and you need to be committed to doing it all. So shake off the pain, sit up straight, and keep going.
Figure out where you’re at. What kind of financial reserves do you have at your disposal? Are you eligible to collect unemployment? What do you have in savings? Do you have any other sources of income? In answering all these questions, what you’re really trying to figure out is this: how long will you survive without your income?
Decide where you want to go. Did you like your previous job? Do you want to find a similar position with another company (and is that realistic)? Before you begin your search for a new job, you need to know exactly what it is you’re searching for. If you were ever going to change your career, now is your chance to do it.
Work your network. You have a much better chance of being hired as a personal reference than you do as a one-in-one-hundred applicant. Reach out to your well-connected friends, let them know what kind of work you’re looking for, and let your network go to work for you. You can also work on building and strengthening your network by attending learning events or meetups.
Get ready for the hiring process. Polish your resume, update your social media profiles, practice interview questions, research the market—do whatever you need to to feel ready for the hiring process that lies before you. You might even want to consider reaching out to recruiters or staffing agencies to let them know you’re actively looking for work. After all, it’s their job to help you find a job.
Losing your job is tough—there’s no way around it. But if you can manage both the practical and emotional aspects of job loss, you’ll be able to stay more positive and optimistic. And when you’re looking for a new job, that optimism is going to work in your favor.
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