What next after losing your job?


The recent mass sacking of staff at one of the country’s leading media houses is warning shot to every employee who is in employment. It is some wake up call that anything can happen and nothing is permanent.

One of the worst things that can happen from a career perspective is to lose your job. Losing a job often is a traumatic experience. That’s especially true when it’s unexpected and not your fault.

It’s normal to feel angry, hurt, or depressed, grieve for all that you’ve lost, or feel anxious about what the future holds. Job loss and unemployment involves a lot of change all at once, which can rock your sense of purpose and self-esteem.

Sacking employees is becoming very common but dealing with the stigma can be difficult. But while in employment, it is good to always be prepared for a sack. Being fired is one of the facts of working life, and it can happen to any of us.

While the stress can seem overwhelming, there are many things you can do to take control of the situation, maintain your spirits, and come out of this difficult period stronger, more resilient, and with a renewed sense of purpose.

Losing your job doesn't mean you aren't valuable. No matter how devastating it might be, there is always some hope. Just as Helen Keller said, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”

With time and the right coping techniques, one can come to terms with these setbacks, ease your stress and anxiety, and move on with your career or change career altogether.

In the immediate aftermath of getting your walking papers, do the following:
• Acknowledge that you are in a very stressful situation and your feelings are entirely a normal reaction to it. It is very normal to be upset or angry. Otherwise, never vent out towards your immediate boss or coworkers.
• Take a short break to evaluate your situation. You don't have to start looking for a new job the day after you get fired but do not wallow in self-pity for very long.
• Try to figure out what happened so you can learn from this experience. It is easy to blame others, but it is essential to own your own mistakes. If you don't, it won't be possible to make the necessary changes to keep it from happening again.

Take control

You might be tempted to act on denial, convincing yourself that everything’s fine and not adjusting your lifestyle – ignoring the fact that budgeting and job searching should be your top priorities.

Being proactive allows you to use your unemployment time wisely – whether it’s through training, volunteering, freelancing, or interning. This is a very opportune time to realise what you really want to do and to gain the skills needed to pursue it.

Assess and re-organise your finances

However, this is the time to assess your finances. Learning to organise them effectively is key if you want to make your money last. Don’t deplete your savings or increase your debt. Devise a budget that allows you to cut down on your expenses as much as you can.

With your money taken care of (even if only temporarily), you will have more time and energy to focus on picking yourself up and finding a new job. Get rid of inessential expenses, reduce costs by limiting unnecessary purchases and find ways to tone down your bills.

Stay positive

As hard as it may seem, you have to stay positive and focus on learning, growing and making goals for the future.

If you find yourself struggling to find a routine, make job searching your job. Make a set time to start and finish every day, and set yourself goals to reach – whether it’s to apply for at least two jobs, or just to refresh your CV.

Reach out to others to stay strong

Social contact is nature’s antidote to stress. Nothing works better at calming your nervous system than talking face to face with a good listener.

Though you may be tempted to keep your status a secret, friends and family can’t begin to help if they’re not aware. Letting people know you are available for new opportunities is the first step in getting your job search off the ground.

If you find yourself alone and struggling, you can join a support group. Meeting new people with common interests or other job seekers can be invaluable sources of encouragement, support, and job leads. Being around others facing similar challenges can help energise and motivate you during your job search.

You can also talk to a professional who will provide comfort and encouragement and also help you reign in those negative emotions.

Invest in your personal development

If enrolling in a class or two will make you more marketable and you can afford it, go for it. This way, you can boost your self-esteem and it might end up being your positive outlet.

Create a competitive resume highlighting the skills that are most in demand in your field. Let people in your professional network know what has happened and don't be ashamed to ask for job leads. Review your job interviewing skills and make sure you have appropriate attire available.

Reevaluate your career choice

Losing your job provides the perfect opportunity to reevaluate your career choice and determine whether a change is in order.

One thing to consider is whether you enjoyed what you were doing. Another is the health of your field.
If you feel that you would be happier or have more stability in another occupation, make sure to do your homework first. There are a variety of tools to help with career exploration, including several that provide labour market information.

Do a thorough self-assessment to learn about your interests, work-related values, personality type, and aptitudes then find suitable occupations based on this information. You may need professional help to do this.

Consider Starting Your Own Business

Do you have a marketable skill that can translate into a profitable business? Sometimes losing a job comes at just the right time. If you have ever thought about starting your own business, this is a good time to give it serious consideration

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