How to Bounce Back from Job Loss

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When something like losing your job suddenly comes along and hits you in the face, disappointment and frustration are quick to set in. However, Nelson Mandela once said: ‘It’s not important how many times you fall but how many times you rise’. In other words, you have to find a way past this predicament.

Getting fired or being made redundant is really no fun, but remember that you aren’t the first person – or the last, for that matter – to go through this. And you should find comfort in the fact that many of those before you who suffered the same fate as you found a solution.

Of course, suddenly finding yourself without a job does not equal to optimism. Instead, you end up focusing on every mistake you made at work, every conflict you had with your boss or a colleague, and every time you failed on a project. You end up constantly questioning every move and decision you made in your career, and you just can’t seem to accept the fact that you were laid off.

Losing your job isn’t much different to losing someone you love, going through a divorce or dealing with rejection, and it’s wise to give yourself some time before you’re ready to move on and start thinking about what comes next.

According to the Kübler-Ross model, there are five stages of grief in almost any situation, including job loss. These are:

  1. You struggle to admit that you are jobless, especially when you have been working for the same employer for a long period of time. In fact, you find it hard to believe that this is even happening to you and not the guy next door, largely down to the fact that you feel you worked hard and gave your job everything you could. You simply believe that you do not deserve any of this.
  2. You might become angry either at yourself or at the people who didn’t appreciate all the hard work you put in over all this time and who decided to let you go. Anger rises from disappointment after a recent failure and can easily drag you down.
  3. You desperately want your old job back to the extent that you begin thinking about asking your employer to take you back on for a much lower salary. This might happen out of fear you are going to struggle finding another job and are going to remain jobless for the rest of your life.
  4. At this point, you realise that there is nothing you can do to change the situation. There’s no going back to the way things were. You still can’t come to terms with the fact that you lost your job and you are, naturally, still sad about it.
  5. At last, you have decided to move on in your career, leaving all the unpleasantness behind. This is when you realise that behind every closed door is a new opportunity, and you find the will to try new things out.

If you have suddenly found yourself out of a job and you’re trying to figure what to do next, you are more than likely struggling with these difficult emotions as we speak. Whatever the case, it’s necessary to go through each and every one of these stages. And once you get to the final stage, everything will begin falling into place.

So, what can you do to help things move along?


1. Start Networking

Networking is extremely important when you have a job, and it’s just as important when you don’t – sometimes even more. What’s rather positive about losing your job is that you have now added a few more connections to your professional network. Those people you called your colleagues a few months ago are now key people you need to hold on to as they can be your point of reference. Before you leave your job, you can ask your manager to write a reference letter for you to send to potential employers, and make sure to keep in touch with your former colleagues along the way. LinkedIn is a great tool for networking purposes, and if you don’t have an account, it’s high time to create one. The sooner you tap into your network, the more opportunities will come knocking on your door.


2. Take a Look at Your Options

The perfect time to take a closer look at your options is when you think you’ve got nothing left. Ask yourself what matters to you the most and make time for it. Come up with a plan to do what you wanted to do for so long but couldn’t because of work. Also, consider looking at different career paths and think about your personal interests before you start looking for a job. Alternatively, you can buy yourself some more time by volunteering for something you are passionate about, freelancing, starting your own business, or looking for job vacancies abroad. The opportunities are indeed endless, and you get to choose where you want to go.


3. Consider an Outplacement

If you don’t want to waste any more time than you need to and quickly find another job (because you can’t afford living on a strict budget, for example), there are professionals who can help you out. Consultants who provide outplacement services can help you find a new job through personalised matching tools and job alerts. They’ll also help you work on your personal brand so that you can learn how to effectively promote yourself through CV and cover letter writing. Many also offer seminars on how to deal with a career transition, so considering using outplacement services really isn't a bad idea at all.


4. Take Good Care of Yourself

Since you are more than likely to be going through a hard time at the moment, you should take a break from everything that is stressing you out and instead choose to focus on yourself. Although easier said than done, you need to forget about the fact that you’re jobless and in need of another job. Besides, your mental health and physical wellbeing shouldn’t be dependent on a pay check, but rather on those activities that make you happy and that relax you. As such, it might be a good idea to take a break and do something that you enjoy. This could be spending some quality time with your family or going for a short holiday abroad.


Nobody likes losing their job, but you can’t always prevent it from happening. Whatever the reason behind your job loss, don’t be discouraged. While this often happens because a company considers it to be the best move, according to its needs and priorities, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing for you. On the contrary, it could be the best thing that ever happened to you (although you might not see it like that right now). You just might come across your dream job or an opportunity in a country abroad where you always wanted to move to. You might find something that pays more, or maybe choose to pursue a career in a completely different field.

It might seem a little scary right now, but remember: there’s always a way.

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