We would all prefer to leave an employer on our own terms. But unfortunately, circumstances are sometimes beyond our control. Whether due to a layoff, a job cut, or receiving a pink slip, it’s only normal to take a job loss hard. In fact, it’s a situation that will leave most people devastated, deflated, and deeply concerned about their financial situation.
So if you’ve recently found yourself out of a job, you’re going to go through a mourning phase. You’ll feel some regret at the loss of your daily routine. You’ll question why it happened to you and you could even feel angry about the whole situation. This won’t pass after a few days or a week or two. It will take some time. But you will need to move past your emotions or at least put them aside in order to move forward and find your next job.
First Focus on Yourself
Following a job loss, it can be difficult to move past thoughts of your former employer, the managers who gave you the bad news, the coworkers who kept their jobs, and the actual work that you did. No matter how much you reflect on all these aspects of your previous job, it won’t change your situation.
Instead, try to keep your focus positive and centered around yourself. For instance, when you were going to work on a bright, sunny day what would you rather have been doing? Did you wish you could go for a long walk at a local park or spend a few hours enjoying a cup of coffee and a good book at a local café? Did you wish you could exercise in the middle of the day? Well, now you have the time to do those things. So go treat yourself to some time outdoors in the middle of what would have been a workday. It will slowly help change your perspective of the job loss situation and improve your outlook for the future.
You may also want to develop a new daily routine for yourself. Otherwise, it can become easy to get stuck in a rut.
Think About the Intangible Benefits of Your Last Job
Your previous employer may have provided you with severance pay or extended your insurance benefits beyond your last day of work. These benefits are generously and certainly helpful, but they will only serve you in the short term. However, the experience you gained at that job has a much longer-term value. So don’t write off your former employer because your emotions may be high. Instead, give some careful consideration to how the experience enriched you as a professional.
If you still have the original job post that you responded to, review the job description and the qualifications. Can you give concrete examples in a future job interview of how you directly applied your skills to your outcomes at work? Did you acquire any additional responsibilities or new skills while you were in the role? These can all be talking points on your resume or in future interviews.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
“You’re known by the company you keep” is an expression meaning you’re judged by the people you surround yourself with because of the influence they have on you. If your friends all work in the hospitality industry, people will naturally assume that you do too. The people with whom you associate will also influence you.
If you spend a lot of time with family members who are always laughing and finding the humor in situations that aren’t necessarily funny, you likely laugh easily, too. If your friends are ambitious and interested in advancing their careers, their behavior will probably keep you motivated to do the same. On the other hand, if you’re regularly commiserating with other coworkers who also lost their jobs, the empathy may help to console you. But you may also find it difficult to move on to the next phase of your professional life.
Become a Better Professional
It may not have been your choice to leave your last employer, but it’s important to remember that you can still take control of your professional path forward.
Of course, you can now devote more time to updating your resume. You can also bolster your professional development with a free or low-cost course. This is a great way to fill the gap that unemployment causes on resumes. It will also demonstrate your time management skills to potential employers as well as the importance you place on improving yourself as a professional.
Volunteering is another good option for enhancing your resume in addition to creating a new daily or weekly routine for yourself. Employers place a strong value on candidates who are passionate about their interests, who have a spirit of service, and who have motivations beyond financial gain. You may also meet some new and interesting people while giving your time.
Finally, dedicate some of your newly found time to further building your network. Here are some quick tips for developing a networking strategy.