Even the most loyal and competent employees can face the dreaded pink slip. And moving on can take time, motivation and support. Here are seven tips for coping with job loss.
Going through a layoff or other job loss is rarely a pleasant experience. Stress, confusion and even depression can result. Your confidence can drop, and your motivation to move on may be temporarily zapped. But keep things in perspective. Losing your job is a setback, to be sure, but there are proven strategies to make it through this tough transition. Coping with job loss can be much less difficult when you have a plan to bounce back:
1. Let yourself feel the job loss
There’s no need to fight those feelings of defeat and disappointment you’ll likely have immediately after losing your job. It's much like a grieving period: Don't repress these thoughts only to have them resurface later. That’s not to say you should dwell on them, but everyone needs a little time to heal.
2. Surround yourself with the right people
You may need some moments of solitude while coping with job loss, but don’t isolate yourself. Friends and family can make a big difference. Being around supportive, positive people can help keep you hopeful and focused while you look for your next job.
3. Re-evaluate your options
The fact is that you have more experience in your field than you did when you applied for your previous job, so update your resume and consider applying for positions that might not have been a fit before. You also have a chance to step back and look at the bigger picture. Were you truly happy in your previous job? Or can you visualize yourself changing careers and doing something different? Think about where your interests lie and how your life experience, work background and education can serve those passions.
4. Catch up on career development
If you do want to continue in the same field, maybe it’s time to consider that certification you’ve thought about getting, or to dive into some continuing education. Many industries, such as accounting, require ongoing professional development, so why not meet those requirements while you have the time?
5. Keep in shape
It would be easy to slip into a sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary choices because of stress or boredom while coping with job loss. But studies show that exercise can improve both your physical and emotional health. Exercise releases endorphins that trigger positive feelings, something that can fuel the drive and motivation you’ll need during your job hunt. A simple 30-minute walk in the fresh air goes a long way.
Spending all of your newfound free time focused solely on finding a new job can be draining. Worse yet is when you find yourself sitting at home worrying or just staring at the TV. Think about a cause you genuinely care about, and then seek out volunteer opportunities around that. Volunteering gets you up and out, serves as a source of social and intellectual stimulation, and distracts you from the worries of unemployment. If you can find a volunteer role that uses your professional skills, it makes a nice addition to your resume. Remember, too, that volunteering can sometimes open the door to a paid position.
7. Call on the professionals
Connect with a professional staffing agency specializing in your field to learn about opportunities in your industry. A skilled recruiter can uncover job leads you wouldn’t know about otherwise, all while you look for a new job, too. That can double your search power while relieving some of the anxiety of unemployment.
In addition, a staffing agency can help you line up temporary work. That can ease the financial strain, and you will likely learn new skills and gain valuable experience along the way.
All of these ideas cost little or no money and could pay off with a renewed outlook and a better position than the one you lost. Keep your chin up and your eyes open. Coping with job loss is difficult, but you never know what’s around the corner — it could be the job of your dreams.