Losing your job and dealing with the stress that comes with it is really hard to cope with especially when you have bills to pay and a family to support. Whether you’ve been retrenched, downsized or forced to leave for other reasons, the financial anguish takes a huge toll.
Careers give us a sense of purpose and structure and losing all of this can leave people floundering and feeling lost. It also makes an individual feel powerless but take heart that no matter how impossible the situation looks there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
Author of the book The Importance of Work in An Age of Uncertainty: The Eroding Work Experience in America Professor David Blustein says that work helps us satisfy our need to achieve, earn an income, connect with others and feel like authors of our own stories. In fact our jobs are often so integrated into our identities that it is common to feel as though we have lost a sense of self when we lose our jobs.
Getting a hold of yourself
Understand that it is perfectly normal to feel disappointed, sad, angry or frustrated and process this accordingly in order to move on. In addition, if you feel relief it could mean that you weren’t happy there anyway and not living up to your full potential so take that as a sign to move on to greener pastures.
Emotional support and finances
Make sure you have your family or some good friends around to support you during this trying time. If you have family depending on you for financial support talk to them about how your job loss will impact all of you and what sort of changes or cutbacks you may need to make going forward.
Expand your social network
Often our work friends form part of our social life as well since inevitably you end up spending so much time together. So when you lose your jobs you may lose friends too or simply drift apart. Find ways to connect with people whether its doing volunteer work, joining a book club or simply getting out more.
Develop new skills that are marketable
Figure out how you want to move forward. Develop new skills that will help you in your next job and make you more marketable. Think about what you want to do next and work towards that, building on developing yourself to achieve that goal.
Update your resume and start applying for new opportunities
Create a portfolio which you can present to a recruiter or hiring manager to showcase your work from previous roles. Doing this will also make you feel more confident and good about yourself and your past achievements.
Once this is done, go all out for the jobs you want and don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear from employers in the beginning. If you have been rejected at the interview stage try and find out the reason for this so that you can look towards filling in the gaps in terms of the requirements allowing you to aim for the role you really want.