Losing your job is devastating. No matter how or why it happened, the aftershocks can shake you to the core and make it hard to stay upright.
That’s because you aren’t just losing your job, you lose part of your identity.
Losing your job touches upon the foundations of who you are. No wonder you’re left numb, sad, angry, and scared. No wonder it feels like a loss you need to grieve before you can move on.
How can you work through the pain of losing your job, in whatever form it presents itself? And once you have, how do you move forward?
Here are 7 tips that may help you on your journey.
1. Acknowledge the emotional toll of losing your job
We’ve all heard about the stages of grief people face before they accept their loss (if not read the five stages of grief) . Chances are you too will experience these emotions when you lose your job:
- Denial – “this can’t be happening to me”
- Pain and guilt – “maybe I could have done things differently”
- Anger and bargaining – “they didn’t give me a chance!”
- Depression – “I don’t know where to go from here”
- Acceptance and hope – “I can find a new path, and it might be a better one for me”
Everyone has a different way of coping with grief. You may find support in long walks or an intense running session. Maybe you need a good cry. Sometimes you just need good company and a laugh. Find what works for you, and give yourself time and space to work through these emotions so you can come out on the other side. Just talking it through with a friend or a coach can help you move on faster and stronger.
2. Stop beating yourself up
Maybe you’re beating yourself up over all the reasons you lost your job. Maybe you’re mentally listing the ways you could have prevented this. Or maybe you’re mad at yourself for accepting this job in the first place.
Whenever you plunge head-first into guilt or anger at yourself, take a step back and think how you’d treat someone you love in the same position. Chances are you’d show compassion and understanding. Do the same now—treat yourself with the kindness you allow others.
3. Be open about what you need from the people who support you
Those who care for you hate to see you in pain. Their instinct will be to solve this problem for you or to inundate you with well-intentioned advice. Sometimes, that can help, but often all you need is someone to vent to, or a shoulder to cry on. When you are ready, you might just need someone to listen as you think through the challenges you’re facing, someone who asks the right questions instead of solving them for you.
Whatever you need at that moment, be sure to communicate openly with the people who support you through this tough time. And don’t be afraid to find an external, neutral party who can offer a fresh perspective.
4. Create a daily rhythm
It’s tempting to live the days as they come when you are unemployed. Sleeping in on a weekday can be amazing. As is a full day of Netflix in your PJs. If you have the opportunity—by all means, indulge yourself for a few days.
Then it’s time to find a rhythm. To get up in time, and get dressed for the day. You can take some time to meditate or reflect, before answering your emails and getting on job boards. Plan a lunch with friends or someone from your network. Read articles to stay up to date on the sector you want to work in.
Whatever that rhythm looks like for you, it will keep you feeling productive and give meaning to your days.
5. Don’t forget to have fun
When you’re discovering that personal rhythm, remember that not every waking moment needs to be spent finding your next job. If your circumstances allow it, take some time to have fun outside the moments you plan for dedicated job search and networking.
This is a great time to rediscover your passion projects and the hobbies that give you energy.
6. Start fresh
There are some moments in life when the last thing you want to hear is “every cloud has a silver lining.” When you’ve suffered a loss, you’re allowed not to go look for the bright side. Because losing your job…sucks, and at first sight, there is no silver lining.
However, this is a chance to start fresh. Even if you plan on returning to the same sector or same role, you get to decide what companies you want to apply to. You might be able to find a job locally and cut half an hour from your commute. You get to test the limits and apply for that dream job, even if you don’t quite tick all the boxes (yet).
Take the opportunity to change your career for the better.
7. Take one small step every day
When you’ve suffered a blow to your confidence, overly ambitious goals can be demotivating.
You’ll get back to a place where you’re happily pursuing your objectives, but right now, break every large goal into small chunks. At first, you might only take one small step a day, and that’s ok. Accomplishing those smaller goals can be a reason to celebrate the successes along the way, and build up your confidence.
One day, you’ll find you’ve achieved your goal. Taking one small step at a time.
Click here to get matched with a coach who can help with your experience with job loss, the process of dealing with it, or what new opportunities you could pursue
This article was written by Ellen Bracquiné. Ellen writes articles, website copy, and other content for businesses based on thorough research and a strong belief in the power of words. She uses her 10+ years of experience as a consultant and talent manager at McKinsey to provide value for her clients. Copywriter by day, she turns fiction writer by night. Get to know her better at https://ellenbracquine.com