JOB LOSS RESOURCES
No matter what you may call it… laid off, terminated, dismissed, outplaced, fired… the experience is a hurtful one. It is not unusual that you may feel discouraged, frustrated, isolated, fearful and depressed. You may feel overwhelmed and disoriented. You may feel worthless. You may feel like a failure. You may feel like someone has pulled the rug out from underneath you. After losing your job, you may experience any or all of the typical emotions associated with any kind of major loss, including the initial shock, the immediate anger, the subsequent grief, and finally an acceptance of your situation.
Shock… You may feel stunned or surprised that this has happened. You may have feelings of disbelief or denial.
Anger... You may feel that you have been betrayed. You may have feelings of resentment, rage, and fury. You may feel like blaming or criticizing.
Grief… You may feel sadness over the loss of friends and co-workers. You may have feelings of yearning. You may discouraged, depressed, or in despair.
Acceptance... Finally, you get to the point of adaptation and a willingness to get on with your life. You feel a sense of resolve and a desire to focus on future possibilities. You’re ready to move forward.
Among a variety of life-altering events, such as death in the family, divorce, and serious illness, losing your job ranks among the highest in stress-causing situations. Job loss can have a profound effect on your emotional well being. Being separated from one's job is extremely difficult. Many of us closely identify ourselves by what we do for a living. When the job is taken away, we can lose track of who we are and even why we are. Emotional issues aside, a number of practical issues must be addressed. We must determine how long our financial resources will sustain us. We must also decide if a career change is in order. Then we must begin to plan for the future.
“Every success, every failure, if we let them, helps us in the future. We may not be able to see how an experience helps right now but if we keep our eyes open we will. Losing a job is a stressful time but within that stress is opportunity. What a wonderful time to reevaluate what you want from your career and life. Our road to our dreams is not a straight path but one with twists and turns. Keep learning and moving and you'll get there!”
“Ask yourself… What is good about this situation? What have you learned from your past experiences that is helping you now? What step will you take today to get closer to your goals? What do you really want in your next job?”
It is time for you to consider how best to get back on your feet and move forward. You may want to begin by doing whatever you can to at least get what is owed you.
Even though your head may
be spinning, make sure you ask your employer about severance pay, vacation pay,
medical insurance, and so on. If the employer does not offer you any of these,
try to negotiate some. Take advantage of absolutely everything your employer
offers you in a severance package, including career transition workshops,
psychological counseling, health benefits, and severance pay. Initially, you
might be too upset and proud to participate in any of these programs.
As with any loss, there will be a recovery period. Feelings of anger or sadness may last for a couple of weeks or more. Give yourself time to grieve the loss, and express your feelings in healthy ways so they will pass more quickly.
“The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances.”
“Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore, avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.”
Staying motivated and keeping grounded is key. Remember, this is only temporary. You will eventually get out of this predicament.
Take care of your mental and physical health. Eat well and exercise to stay fit and lower stress. Get proper sleep, and stay away from drugs and alcohol. You can join a support group, keep a journal or seek counseling. Take time to enjoy yourself.
Stay active. Get out of the house. Talk to people. Go for walks. Go to the gym. Maintain hobbies and social activities. Establishing a firm daily routine can help you stay in focus, reduce stress, and maintain your mental health.
Be particularly careful with your finances during this time. Create a budget with your family, and stick to it. If you have debt, figure out how you’re going to afford your payments. If you think you may run into trouble, consult a consumer credit counseling agency.
And stay determined and diligent in your job search, following up on every possible lead.
"Getting the ax hurts. It's a slap in the face. It feels like an attack on who you are and all you've done. Yesterday you were safe, secure, you belonged, and the future was promising. Today, you're out. You're on your own -- no safety, no security, you don't belong, and the future is scary."
-DAHLSTROM / Surviving A Layoff
"Involuntary job loss is a fact of life today. Being fired is so common that the word has fallen into disuse. Outplacement is what it's now called. As common as it has become, and no matter what it's called, it will still always be one of life's truly traumatic experiences."
-CHRISTOPHER KIRKWOOD / Your Services Are No Longer Required
"When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us."
-ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL
"I've learned that getting fired can sometimes be the best thing that can happen to you."
-H. JACKSON BROWN, JR / Live & Learn & Pass It On
Begin networking immediately. Use your available support system. Contact all the people you know and request their help. Update them about your situation. Don’t close yourself off to them. Now is a time to ask for help.
You may feel
embarrassed or ashamed by what happened. Do not let that negative thinking stop
you from getting emotional support. Ask your network to please keep their eyes
and ears open for any employment opportunities that they might hear about. Your
friends and acquaintances can be very helpful in brainstorming ideas and
circulating your name. It's very important to have a support system of friends,
colleagues, former co-workers, neighbors, and family members who can motivate
you to jump back on the horse.
You might need to not only find new long term employment, but to also find a temporary job to pay your immediate bills. Until you find a suitable fulltime permanent job, working part time can generate income and provide you with a schedule that allows you to go on job interviews.
Open your mind to different jobs. You need to cast a wide net, so don’t just look for jobs exactly like your last one. Being too focused on one particular job may decrease your chances of finding work.
“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.”
-GEORGE S. PATTON
“The obstacle is
Helpful Links & Resources
Reality Check: Tips &
Strategies for Coping With Job Loss
Job Search Strategies: Managing Your Career Transition
Promoting Your Candidacy
Interview Preparation and Skills
About Career Planning: Coping With Job Loss
Love To Know: Stress Management and Managing Job Loss
Riley Guide: Coping With Job Loss
Family Corner: Job Loss Survival Guide
Vidaville: Bounce Back From Job Loss
Help Guide: Job Loss and Unemployment Stress
Intercom Magazine: Dealing With Job Loss
Pink Slip Slump: Inspiration & Expert Advice
Improving My Life: How to Deal With Losing Your Job
Career Confidence: Job Market Success
Birmingham-Southern College n Career Services