If you've been laid off recently, you may feel as though you've lost some sense of control over your life. There's the loss of structure — habits and rules that shaped your life before don't seem to fit your new situation.
But take heart! You can take action to get back into the swing of things. Here are eight strategies to help you to bounce back from your job loss and start on a new path to success:
- Do nothing. During the first three days after losing your job, you should concentrate only on understanding and accepting what happened. What you do and how you react during these three days will determine the ease or difficulty with which you find new employment in the weeks and months ahead.
- Resist the temptation to call business associates or contact search firms. You're not ready to talk rationally about new opportunities within those first 72 hours. You haven't had a chance to sort out a clear new direction and a focus for your search, and you may scare off people who could be helpful to you once you are ready.
- Deal with your emotions. If you hang on to your emotions, they'll almost certainly trip you up later in the job search process. Imagine for a second that you haven't dealt with your anger toward your former boss, for example. You're on an interview a month from now, and the potential employer asks you about your former boss. You might let your bottled-up anger show and make the interviewer wonder if you would use that same language to describe them sometime in the future.
- Don't imagine you can hide your feelings. The death of a loved one, personal injury or illness, divorce, marriage, and job loss are among the top ten most stressful life events. Losing a job is a powerful shock, and it shows, so you must acknowledge and process your feelings and move on.
- Don't think your emotions will go away if you ignore them. Refusing to deal with feelings of self-pity, anger, or failure may make a potential employer conclude that you are not flexible or adaptable. Feeling ashamed about losing your job may prevent you from appearing self-assured and self-confident when searching for new employment opportunities.
- The longer you wait, the harder it gets, so act now. Talk to someone. Tell a friend, partner, spouse, or professional about how you feel and what you're thinking. You need a friendly, supportive, non-competitive shoulder to lean on.
- Realize that while you cannot control how you feel, you can control how you react. The art of job loss involves taking control of a seemingly negative situation and turning it into a positive or at least neutral one. You can begin by identifying all your options and asking yourself: What is the best thing I can do for me right now? (The answer should be: start moving forward.)
- Get back in the game. Once you've dealt with your emotions properly, you are ready to orient yourself away from the past and toward the future and the opportunity to get ahead. Begin to outline the plan for your job search, which you can do by asking yourself the following three questions: What can I do? What will I do? What do I want to do?
More Career Advice
The road to self-discovery in one's career begins with self-assessment. Honest and precise answers to these questions will help you to begin to have a clear focus for your search for new opportunities and successes.