I just lost my job, what now?
Most likely you are on an emotional roller coaster right now. Your feelings are ranging from disbelief, shock, fear, lost of identity, anxiety, anger to sadness, grief and stress.
First, you need to understand that what you are feeling right now is very normal and you need to give yourself time to process those intense emotions. This is going to be a process and you will be going through various stages.
This stage might not be very pleasant but it is needed to start properly healing and moving on.
But also, deep down, buried beneath the pain and grief is a feeling of hope and excitement for something new to come.
But first, we need to give time to let the surface emotions settle before we can focus on the more hidden ones.
At this point, this is where our main focus should be.
How To Cope After Losing Your Job?
“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” – M. Scott Peck
Why is this the most important aspect at this point?
This is the most important aspect because if you are not coping properly with the trauma of losing your job, your efforts to find a new one will not be as effective. You won’t be able to think clear. If you are motivated by fear and panic, you will not make the right decisions.
Our focus should be on healing our minds so that our efforts have flow and we see opportunities instead of obstacles.
Shouldn’t I focus on looking for a new job?
Yes, you can and should continue to look for a new job as this will most likely give you a sense of comfort knowing that you are actively looking for something, but this should not be your sole intend.
What Steps Can We Take To Cope?
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” -Milton Berle
There are steps that you can take to ensure that you are coping properly and letting yourself heal.
- Acceptance – accept what happened. Most pain we feel is due to resisting what happened. We don’t want to deal with it, we just want it to go back to how it was before
- Forgiveness – forgive yourself for whatever mistakes you think you have made that lead to what happened. Your mind is probably going insane trying to figure out if this could have been prevented somehow. Forgive yourself, acknowledge that you are a human and you did whatever you thought was best at the moment.
- Figure out the logistics – come up with a plan how you will support yourself and take care of your responsibilities. Can you apply for employment insurance? Do you have savings?
- Daily routine – create daily routine involving job search. This will allowed you to stay focused on what’s important and not get distracted by fear and uncertainty.
- Reward yourself – reward yourself by doing something for yourself every day. It doesn’t matter how productive you think your day was, you survived it and that deserves a reward.
- Remember you are actually developing new skills. By going through this experience, you are learning the skills of adaptations, research, thinking out of the box, learning to thrive in a changing environment, and learning to motivate yourself.
- Look for what makes you happy. Take the time t0 explore. Be honest with yourself, other than the steady pay cheque, did you really enjoy the job you had? Make a list of what sort of things you like doing, of what feelings you would like to feel, of what kind of people you would like to interact in your next opportunity.
- Remember this is a perfect time to make changes. Keep an open mind, there are opportunities everywhere if we learn how to look for them. Use this time as a perfect opportunity to start following your passion.
Next we need to look at what exactly have we lost by loosing our jobs and how to gain it back.
Aim To Regain Lost Aspects Of Yourself
“Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi
When you lost your job, you didn’t just lose the job, you lost the following:
- A feeling of control over your life
- Your professional identity.
- Your self-esteem and self-confidence
- A daily routine
- Purposeful activity
- Friendships and a work-based social network
- You and your family’s sense of security
The best thing to do is not to dwell on what is lost but how to deal with it. There are things that you can do to regain some of the above while looking for a job.
The truth is, the job did not give you much control over your life but it felt like it did. Look for ways in your current life where you have control and use that to regain the sense of loss.
You are not your job, and yet it takes one to lose his/her job to find out how much we identify with it. Take time to find identity in other, longer lasting things. Like who you are deep down, what are your skills and abilities that are not job related.
Find your self-esteem and self-confidence in the fact that you are able to survive a very traumatic situation. You are a survivor. You should be confident about that.
You can develop your daily routine. It will be different but you can control it fully. You can develop the routine that works for you, not for others.
There are many purposeful activities in your life without your job, you are just not used to think of them that way. Take little bit of time to examine some activities in your life and re-discover the purpose of them.
Hopefully, some of your work-based friends stayed friends but if not, which very often is the case, don’t worry. Everyone one has friends and social network outside of work. You might need to reconnect with a few people, but the bases are there.
Sense of security is very elusive. Our job usually gives us that but should we rely on it in the first place if it can just be taken away at any moment? I’m going to ask you to dig deeper. How about trying to find a sense of trust in the grand universe. If you can find in yourself to believe that the universe always has your back and always works in your favor, the sense of security you will get from that will be unshakable and no one or no circumstance will ever be able to take it away from you.
What Not To Do
“A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory.” – Arthur Golden
Now that you know what to do to use this time of your life to create some changes and start a life that you always wanted, we need to talk about what not to do. This is just as important as what to do, if not more important.
1. do not blame yourself or others
2. resist despair
3. do not be angry with yourself and others
4. do not go the worst case scenario path
5. do not dwell on it
6. do not badmouth the previous job and company
7. do not lose hope
8. do not be a martyr – live your life.
We have a tendency to put our lives on hold until something happens (a new job, a new relationship, etc). Do not do that. You do not know how long this will take, you do not want to live your life like that. Use this time to find in you the ability to be ok with what is, and I promise you, if you can do that, what is will change.
The above will be very tempting to give into.
Resist, resist, and resist.
Nothing good will come out of allowing yourself go down this path.
There will be times when your mind will just go there, don’t be angry with yourself, whenever you catch yourself going that path, gently acknowledge it and focus your mind on something good.
I Just Lost My Job, What Now? – Now We Get Excited!!
“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown
This is the time when we have healed our minds enough from the trauma of losing a job that we can do the following:
- we start dreaming – we dream big
- we start envisioning new life and new opportunity
- we start believing that this had to happen to force us to find something better
- we follow our passion
- we believe that a new, much better future awaits us
- we are able to be appreciative again
- we use the time of adversity to show the people in the world how to properly deal with is and use it as a bridge to a much better future.
“Everyone has been made for some particular work and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” – Rumi
I really hope this article has been helpful to you. I hope you were able to see that there are different perspectives to any situation that happens to us in life. We can get swallowed by the grief and misery or we can use the adverse situations as a stepping stones to a much better future. I wish you all the best and I know without a shadow of a doubt that you will be great. Your best future awaits you.
Please share your questions, comments, suggestions below.
What does your best life look like?