Job Loss as an Transformational Opportunity
When a person loses a job, it’s normal to feel hurt, angry, vulnerable, and maybe even embarrassed. This is a natural reaction and nothing to be ashamed of! The good news here is that despite the stress that presents itself when an unemployment situation arises, it is possible to work to take control of the situation as well as improve your mood. While it’s true that this might be a tough time in your life, it’s important to take care of your mental and physical health, reach out to other people, and use this time to assess (and maybe reassess) your career goals and objectives. Facing unemployment can help you rediscover what makes you happy and what you want to do with your life.
Career Uncertainty is Stressful
A career is part of your identity—it is a component of who you are as a person and it’s about more than simply making a living and ensuring you can pay the bills. A job influences our self-esteem as well as how other people see us. A job is an indicator of stability, structure, and purpose. When this is snatched away from a person unexpectedly, it can certainly open up a world of doubt.
Outside of losing income, a job loss can also make you face loss in the following areas of your life:
· Professional identity
· Daily routine disturbance
· Purpose in activity
· Work-based social network
Job Loss Can Trigger Grief
Grief is a normal feeling, and it can be triggered through the loss of employment. Spurred on by this life changing circumstance, grief can make you feel angry, hurt, panicked, rejected, scared, and depressed. Realize that you have every right to be feeling this way. Accept the way you feel, go easy on yourself, and know that you will get through this time in your life.
We also encourage you to come to the understanding that you are not alone in this situation, and it isn’t indicative of your ability to achieve and be successful. Remember, many successful people have faced job loss and they have made it through. For example, Apple founder Steve Jobs was famously fired from his own company when he was 30 years old and Oprah Winfrey lost her job as a news reporter when she first started out. Even Walt Disney was let go of from his position as a cartoonist for the Kansas City Star newspaper because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Ultimately, you can move past this and grow stronger and more resilient.
How to Cope
In order to survive the emotional roller coaster that is job loss and unemployment, consider the following:
· Confide in a trusted friend or family member. Talk about what you are going through. The other person doesn’t have to offer solutions, they just have to be a good listener.
· Journal about your feelings. Express yourself through the written word. Talk about how you feel and maybe even detail the things that you wish you would have said (or hadn’t said) to your former boss. This can be especially therapeutic if your layoff or termination wasn’t handled in a sensitive manner.
· Accept reality. Yes, it’s important to acknowledge what is happening in your life, but it’s also important to avoid wallowing in despair. Don’t dwell on the woulda, shoulda, couldas. Accept the situation. The sooner you can do this, the faster you can get on with the next chapter of your life.
· Practice self-love. Don’t beat yourself up, criticize your own capabilities, or blame yourself. Putting yourself down will only make you feel worse. Instead of pursuing negative self-talk, keep your dialogue based in reality. “I lost my job because [REASON], not because I am bad at my job.”
· Think about the silver lining. Maybe this job loss was actually a blessing in disguise. Open your mind to possibilities and realize that there could be an incredible new opportunity just around the corner. This could be your chance to rethink your career and set new goals. Embrace it!
Reach out to recruiters. Even with the Pandemic of Covid19, there are employers seeking to hire. A professional can look at your resume, experience, talents and strengths objectively. I can recommend, Gayle Norton of CMP is a well respected talent solutions firm that transforms careers. Gary Bozza of World Bridge Partners a global leader in connecting talent to organizations.
Famous Career Changers
In an effort to keep your chin up—think about the following famous career changers. If you find inspiration from these people, just think about the heights that you may rise to!
· Thomas Jefferson: Yes, he was a wealthy landowner, but here was a guy who had many personal interests that coincided with his professional persona. He was a politician as well as an architect, a lawyer, and a magistrate.
· Vincent Van Gosh: A highly influential artist, it’s incredible to realize that he only painted for 10 years of his life before he died. He also worked as an art dealer, a teacher, a minister’s assistant, a bookstore employee, and a missionary before deciding to attend art school.
· Mark Twain: He was the epitome of a career shaker-upper. He started out as a typesetter and printer, then moved on to becoming a river boat pilot, mining for gold, and dabbing in journalism.
· Frederick Douglas: A true self-made man. Beginning his life as a slave, he became an abolitionist, an author, a bank president, ambassador to the Dominican Republic, a U.S. Marshall, a recorder of deeds, consul-general to Haiti, and a house builder!
In closing, job loss and unemployment is always tough, but it’s not uncommon and you aren’t alone. For more information on how BLT Strategies can help you navigate this season of change in your life, visit www.BLTStrategies.com.
We believe every adversity offers an opportunity.
Summary: Job loss and unemployment can be a humbling experience. Mary Ellen Wasielewski discusses how to handle this situation and move forward in your career.