Whether your job loss results from an unexpected company layoff or termination, it is bound to be an emotional time. The loss of the work family, routine, income, self-image and sense of belonging can leave any former employee with a sense of grief. This can be a very difficult time for not only for you but also for your family members due to changes in routines and lifestyle.
Stages of Denial & Isolation, Anger, Bargaining & Desperation, Depression, and Acceptance are all part of a normal grieving process. Similar to any other major loss in life, the rate of transition from one stage of grief to the next varies from person to person. You may adjust more quickly if you have experienced job loss before due to your insight and knowledge that it will be a temporary situation and that you can still compete in the market place.
While intellectually it makes sense to update your resume, contact your references, and get out there to pound the pavement to find another job, you may require a longer period to re-group before you are able to present your ‘best self’ to potential employers. Below is a list of considerations to help you get back on track:
- Talk about your experience with a supportive audience. Family, friends, former colleagues and an Employment Counsellor can help to provide the understanding and encouragement needed during this grieving period.
- Try not to take it personally. If there was company re-structuring, there is nothing you could have done to change the situation. If your employment was terminated for cause, take time to reflect on how you can do things differently at your next job. While it is difficult to accept that we make mistakes, taking responsibility is an integral part for both moving forward and growing as an individual.
- Take time to care for yourself. Proper nutrition, physical exercise, and a good night’s sleep all play a role in achieving and maintaining emotional and physical wellness.
- Maintain contact with others, get out of the house daily, and develop a routine. This provides a sense of purpose and a starting point for your eventual job search activity.
- Talk without blame or anger. This may not be your initial reaction yet fostering a hostile response can be detrimental to you in the long run. If you feel you cannot move past this point, consider taking advantage of professional counselling, as it may provide a necessary extra level of support to you.
- Take control of your situation. While being unemployed can be very difficult, it provides an opportunity to investigate self-employment, retraining, or pursuing a career that may be more promising or fulfilling than the last.
Check out our weekly 50+ Club on Wednesday mornings for extra tips on dealing with job loss and support with your job search.