Any rejection stings and a job loss ranks highly on the scale of life events that can have a negative impact on you and your well-being. There’s no getting around it — if you suffer a job loss, it stinks.
What can you do to make the situation more bearable, and at the same time, increase your chances of getting back to employment?
Here are some prompts that might help if you’re unlucky enough to be in this situation.
1 Acknowledge Your Feelings
Take time, in the beginning, to allow your feelings to come to the surface. You need to acknowledge them as part of a process of moving through the standard recovery curve that everyone experiences when bad things happen to them.
Expect to encounter differing emotions – and that these will recur. The typical path to recovery after something like this follows a pattern which I refer to here.
2 Look Ahead
As soon as you can move your thoughts away from the past and start thinking about the future. It’s not going to help you if you focus your thoughts (which are not feelings) on why you lost your job, or how things should have gone differently. You can’t change what has happened, but you can learn from it.
Try to spend time thinking about what comes next, and how you can take control of some practicalities. This might involve your finances and personal budget but will also include activating your networks and building relationships.
3 Refuse To Let The Siutaion Define You
Losing your job is a vivid and often unpleasant personal experience. While you acknowledge what’s happened, see if you can avoid taking it personally. Chances are you’ve just been unlucky in one way or another.
If you see losing your job as a sign of personal inadequacy or failure, you are much less likely to be successful in finding the next post. Instead try and see the situation as an opportunity to reevaluate, prioritise and build relationships.
4 Choose The Company You Keep
Creating a future role is going to require positive energy. Think about the company you’re keeping.
Are the people around you giving you strength, or taking it from you?
If it’s the latter, maybe look for an opportunity to get some inspiration elsewhere. You could watch some inspiring films, read some inspirational books and stories.
The trick is getting into a more optimistic mindset for more chunks of each day.
5 Look After Yourself
Losing your job can have a big negative impact on your health and well-being. Time reported that Kate Strully, a sociologist at State University of New York found:
"…that among people unemployed under these circumstances and who did not report any health problems prior to losing their job, 80% were diagnosed with a new health problem — ranging from hypertension and heart disease to diabetes — 18 months later".
Take stock at regular intervals and check in on yourself.
- Are you taking exercise?
- How about fresh air? Getting outdoors will help you find some useful perspective.
- Dust down your mindfulness practice.
- If you think your health is suffering, don’t ignore this and see your family doctor.
6 Work Your Network
Finding your next job is the meeting point between what you want to do and what someone else needs. If you don’t let people know you’re looking, you’re reducing your chances of making things match.
Be systematic and reach out to people you know. Use a positive tone of voice in your communications and communicate your excitement for the next opportunity and challenge. People are often very willing to help.
7 Do Something Kind
When you are purposeful, you are consistently taking action on your goals. If you’re looking for meaning, your actions have to impact positively on someone else.
Find ways to offer small acts of kindness and your brain chemistry will reward you. You’ll feel better about yourself, and this will spill over into your whole approach.
Not only that, you’ll recognise that there are hopefully still many things to be grateful for in your life.
I've written an eBook for people who have suffered a job loss or are thinking of changing jobs. You can sign up for it below.