Losing your job is one of the most devastating life-changing events you can go through, behind the loss of a loved one, divorce, and serious illness. The job loss may be due to corporate downsizing, layoff or being fired. Regardless of the method, there is so much tied up in your job. It stands to reason because it’s your career, it impacts your finances and often is an integral part of your self-worth. No wonder you can’t move on from job loss.
Here are some behaviors that might be keeping you from moving forward. After that, I’ll share a few tips to turn this around.
Being in Denial
This is normal. It’s a coping mechanism to help you see the reality of the situation through a filter. You might think why me? You may hope they will change their mind. Or you may use humor to deflect the raw emotions that come up from being let go. Even though this is normal, staying too long in this state will not serve you well.
You’re Immersed in Emotions
Anger, betrayal, and blame are just a few of the strong feelings that may be pervasive. Sorting through these emotions is an important part of moving on from job loss.
Staying Stuck in a Negative Attitude
How could this happen to me? I’ll never find another job like this! Who will hire me now that I’ve been let go? Negative thinking can create a downward spiral that can lead you to believe that these statements are true. They are likely not.
Rehashing the Story
Recounting the details of your job loss repeatedly keeps you in that story, which makes it difficult to see the new opportunities that may unfold in front of you. In other words, stop telling the old story and start telling a new one.
Imagining What Might Have Been
Focusing on what you hoped would be your future in that job increases the possibility that you can’t see the potential that lies ahead. Instead, you may want to visualize what might be as you explore new options.
Allowing Limiting Beliefs to Take Hold
So often I hear people equate what they do with who they are. If you are one of those people—I’m a nurse, financial professional, corporate executive—thoughts about what you might do in the future may be limiting your progress of moving on from job loss. What if you could use your skills and talents to do something else that utilizes those same gifts in a different way?
You’re Taking It Personally
More often than not, unless you’ve been fired for cause, the loss of your job was merely a business decision. Regardless of how you feel the company should have acted, there were factors in play that you may not even realize. And the truth is, those factors are beyond your control. It’s not personal!
A Pity-Party Erupts
Feeling like a victim, and inviting everyone to your pity-party, puts you in a position of powerlessness. Just like staying stuck in a negative attitude, this can quickly devolve into depression from which it can be very hard to pull yourself out.
Moving On From Job Loss—A Few Tips
There are several things you can do to change your perspective and help you move on from job loss.
What If It Was Your Idea?
These few words helped to shift my perspective when my 20-year career with one company came to an abrupt and unexpected end. Rather than focus on all the things you’re worried about, start to think about moving forward from job loss as though it was not a loss at all—but your choice. What would you do in that case?
Embrace the Future
If it was your idea to end this job, then you would likely be making plans to ensure you are well set up to move forward with your career search. Review your finances so you know what you need and how long you can spend in your search. Open your mind to new possibilities. Allow new ideas to come to you without judgment. This job change could be a blessing in disguise and the next job you land could be better than the last.
Access Your Connections
Connect or reconnect with people in your network who can help you and let them know what kind of help you need. Do you need someone to help update and up-level your resume? Are there people in your circle who can introduce you to others who may be able to help? Would you benefit from having a career consultant as you move through this process?
Secure Your Bridges
Burning bridges is not a good practice. Speaking badly of colleagues or management staff from any previous employer will not reflect well on you. Being grateful for their assistance and for the experience will send a message to your connections and future employers that you are kind and considerate of others. It’s one of the many qualities employers favor.
Fill Your Own Cup
Finding a new job is a job in and of itself, and it is going to take time and energy. Making clear choices and a good impression requires you to be rested, well-fed and relaxed. Reducing your stress levels and taking good care of yourself is essential at all times in your life—but especially when you are moving forward after job loss. Fill your own cup by making time to do the things that relax you and allow you to get centered and focused on what is most important to you. There are many benefits from self-care when a major life event has taken place.
Surround Yourself with the Best
In my experience, when I have rubbed shoulders with people I admire and who have been where I want to go, I’m encouraged and uplifted. I see this same phenomenon happening all the time. When you surround yourself with the best people, who are positive, have your back and can make connections for you, this process of moving on from job loss will be so much easier. I like to call this group of people my “Personal Board of Directors.” Who is on your Board?
Although the loss of a job can be devastating, how you react to it can influence how quickly you bounce back and find your next good move. Recognizing the behaviors that may be holding you back and quickly taking control to change them, will help you to take part in the practices that will land you in a better position.
What if it was your idea?
Stepping onto Your Bridge
When life-changing moments flip the world upside down, I create a bridge for women so they can turn chaos into calm, build resilience and learn to live a life guided by their own values and vision. If you’re ready to take the first step onto your bridge and explore how change can impact you and how to move through it with more dignity and grace, get my free ebook From Darkness to Light: Learning to Adapt to Change and Move Through Transition.