Losing a job can take the wind out of you; it can feel like someone punched you in the stomach and left you laying there. Losing your job can feel like you lost your best friend, i,e. your ego. Self-esteem suffers after a job loss, regardless if you were let go for cause or through no fault of your own, such as in a lay-off or downsizing. How you recover will depend on: how it was handled, your personality and your ego strength. It is important to take some time to ‘lick your wounds’ after. It’s ok to get angry, sad, and to cry. You will go through the grief stages, namely denial (shock and disbelief), bargaining, anger, depression and then acceptance. Not all of these stages will be felt as strongly but it is important to not deny your feelings, particularly anger and sadness, in order to heal. Once you move through these stages, it is now time to work on recovery and getting back to job-search mode.
If you are resilient and weather changes with a positive attitude, you will not take the job loss personally and will be able to reenergize and refocus your efforts on finding a new career path. If you don’t have resilience or good coping skills, there are ways you can also refocus and find your inner strengths to help you bounce back:
1. Practice good self-care – exercise, eat healthy, get enough sleep, go for walks, or other activities that relieve stress; resolve to focus on taking charge of your career path
2. Do a self-assessment – write down all of your skills, experiences, successes on the job, awards, etc.; you need to rediscover your qualities to increase your self-esteem and help you to feel positive about your job prospects
3. Develop a job search strategy – have a specific plan for how you will spend your days, what job boards to search, who you will call to network, job fairs to attend, and what groups or associations to align with
4. Revamp your resume – develop several versions of your resume that will highlight your skills, benefits and accomplishments; develop a cover-letter template that can be used for the job you are applying for
5. Self-develop – this would be a good time to take up reading and research; there are a lot of good books and internet resources related to careers (such as on this site) and personal and emotional development; you can also join social networking sites to find information and support.
6. Seek help – if you find yourself procrastinating or grieving for an extended period of time, or feel overly frustrated with the lack of progress in your job search, seek the help of a career coach or a therapist who can help you work through the loss and find healthy coping and job-search strategies
Losing a job can be devastating, leading to not only loss of income but of friends and esteem. By following these steps you can get refreshed and refocused, not only on your career but on yourself which can give you a new lease on life. Losing a job does not always have to be negative as you can rediscover yourself, and your strengths, in the process. How have you bounced back?