When You Lose Your Job

Believe it or not, there are ways to cope if you lose your job.

Whether you’ve been laid-off, fired, downsized, outsized or right-sized doesn’t really matter. If you’ve been forced out of a position without a new one in sight, the road you’re traveling is likely full of speed bumps, potholes and detours!

What You’re Feeling

  • If your job ended and it wasn’t your choice, you’re probably struggling in one or more of these ways:
  • You feel out of control. If you were in control, you certainly wouldn’t leave without lining up another position first.
  • You feel insecure. You’ve always taken financial security for granted, but without that regular paycheck, you’re unsure how you’ll make ends meet.
  • You feel dissatisfied, discontent or depressed. You realize that much of your identity came from your job, and now you’ve lost your identity as well.
  • You feel bitter toward some nameless, faceless employer or specifically toward the former supervisor who fired you/laid you off.
  • You feel stressed out. As you’re around home more, your family relationships are changing and that adds pressure to your already throbbing head.
  • You feel worried. You wonder what others think of you. Your friends surely must be questioning what you did wrong to lose your job.

What You Can Do About It

  • You don’t have to let your fears and emotions eat away at you. Use these practical suggestions to help you cope with your unemployment situation and move beyond it:
  • Think ahead to where you’d like to be in one year, three years or five years. Can you imagine yourself in a better position than the one you were forced to leave?
  • Find a support system. Ask your former employer about employment counseling, check large churches and job centers in your community for support groups or just meet with a good friend who’ll level with you even in the toughest times.
  • Be professional even if you parted ways negatively. In most fields, it’s just not smart to burn bridges; inevitably you’ll have to cross that river again.
  • Make it your job to find your new job. Work at it, but don’t let it consume you. Get up every morning, shower and get dressed in decent clothes, get out of the house and make calls and contacts. Maintain a semi-normal family life by “working” up to 40 hours a week hunting, sending out resumes and interviewing; then make sure you “play” when the rest of the family plays.
  • Reach out beyond yourself. Volunteer a few hours a week at a local charity. You’ll feel better doing something good for others, and you’ll realize that your life could be worse.
  • Contact creditors and make them aware of your financial situation. You might be able to negotiate lower payments until you find a new job.
  • Put your most positive spin on the change. View this time as a chance to grow, an opportunity for new adventures in your current career. Maybe it’s even a good time for a complete career change.
  • Think outside the box. Network through professional organizations, support groups, trade organizations. Ask your contacts to broaden your network by connecting you with their contacts. Consider starting your own business. Combine several part-time jobs into full-time employment that works well for you. Take a class to add a new skill.

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