Lost Your Job? Here are 6 Crucial Things You Need To Do ASAP.
Canned. Fired. Laid Off. Terminated. No matter what verb you use for it, you’re out of a job. If I were to guess, you’re probably feeling a million different emotions – fear, anxiety, relief, and maybe even joy. I would know because I’ve been there. There’s no better way to explain unexpected job loss other than it sucks – big time. But having come out on the other side of it, I can tell you with certainty that it does get easier – even if all hope seems to be lost right now. So if you’ve just recently lost your job, here are my top six things that you should do ASAP:
Must-Do #1: Breathe
You’ve just received shocking or unexpected news and your mind is reeling. Just breathe. I know it sounds so simple but when you’ve experienced this kind of trauma, you need to decompress. Try this five-minute guided breathing exercise:
Must-Do #2: Prepare for a Wave of Emotions
Over the next days, weeks and months, you’re going to feel more uncomfortable, anxious, and scared and than you ever have been before. You’re going to feel fine one minute and burst into tears the next. You may wake up with anxiety or panic that subsides throughout the day or feel a strong sense of hope. No day will be the same when it comes to your emotions. The encouraging news is that as time passes, the good days will start to outnumber the bad days. Recognize your emotions and their patterns. And if the burden gets too difficult to bear, seek professional help.
Must-Do #3: Celebrate the Wins
No matter how big or small, count every win as a step in the right direction. Progress is progress. Moving forward is so important in overcoming this difficult time during your career. Did you get up and go for on walk? Great! Did you get your resume updated? Awesome! Just keep taking baby steps to move forward. Once you start getting some little wins, start setting bigger goals. For example, you could set a goal to apply for one job per day or attend three networking events per month.
Must-Do #4: Surround Yourself with Positive Influences
Now is the time to lean on the people closest to you. You’ll need to surround yourself with friends, family and colleagues who will help lift you out of the trenches and get your life and career back on track. Going through this alone shouldn’t be an option. Make it a point to spend time with your people.
Must-Do #5: Don’t Make Rash Decisions
Even though you might be panicking about where your next paycheck is going to come from, don’t do anything rash decisions. Don’t put your house up for sale, sell your car or surrender your dog to a rescue group. Review your financial commitments and eliminate any frivolous expenses for the time being. Apply for unemployment if you qualify. Adjust your shopping habits. Just tweak the little things at first but don’t do anything extreme until the dust has settled.
Must-Do #6: Be Nice to Yourself
If your confidence or ego was damaged, that’s ok – it’s normal. Just don’t confuse who you are for how you feel. For example, you may feel like a failure, but it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. You may feel like you’re terrible at what you do, but that doesn’t mean that you actually are terrible at what you do. Don’t beat yourself up – your former boss or company already did that for you. Cut yourself a break and show yourself the same kindness that you would show a friend who was going through the same thing.
If you're looking for more helpful tips, actionable plans and job search resources, check out my book Fighting FIRED With Fire: A Guide to Coping with Job Loss, Rising from the Ashes and Igniting a Career You Love.
What other job loss survival tips do you have? I’d love to hear them if you post them in the comments!