Starting Over After Losing a Job

Action Steps to Take After a Job Loss

Getting over shock  mode and into a take action mode after losing a job is unequivocably the first step to take.  Accept the feelings that come with the loss of a job, even with the rationale of a bad economy as reasoning.  Feelings normally felt include embarrassment, shame, anger, sadnessLost Job, self-pity, and probably most of all, fear.  Wow!  Think of all those feelings coming at someone at once.  Take a deep breath, and make getting a job the new job at hand for the moment.

Take Care of Details Concerning Exiting Former Job

Be certain of taking care of all paperwork tasks such as filing for unemployment, signing up for COBRA insurance, and in general, taking care of the exist details for the earlier job.  Be cautious of burning any bridges as the old saying goes.  Even though all the above feelings are alive and well, a thank you note for the opportunity to have worked at that job goes miles.  Over the past three years, I have been with a corporation who restructures every year in just trying to deal with a plunging economy.  The number of former employees brought back into the corporation when jobs came available is nothing less than incredible.  As hurt as those people certainly felt, one can bet that they left without slamming doors or dynamiting bridges.  

Take a Look at Personal Finances 

Take the time to check personal circumstances and finances.  Look at the unemployment benefits and truly find out how long a time frame is available before the new job is at hand.  So many people blindly go about looking for a job and do not really understand the time frame under which they run.  Should there be a dire situations with bills such as mortgage payments, going early on to those lenders to just tell them of the situation can help.  

Deal with Family and Friends

This potentially is one of the toughest parts of job loss as it is here that feelings of embarrassment or shame come in.  Be thankful for family and close friends at this traumatic time and try to share true feelings with them if possible.  Sometimes it takes admitting the feelings to help others understand how they might aid.   Have a plan, and share that plan with those trusted advisors around you.   Surprisingly enough, this situation is one where your best characteristics can shine through.

Make a Job Search Plan

Make getting a new job your new job, a full-time one.  This is really important.  When the corporation where I work started laying off people a few years back, I saw some people walking into their new jobs within weeks.  Others two years later still maintained the search.  No one variable controlled who did and did not get jobs, but , I did notice one big difference.  A positive example to illustrate that difference was action taken by my administrative assistant.  She spent a few days working through all those feelings listed above.  My heart just broker for her.  

She relayed her action plan for getting a job to me.  Wow!   Two weeks later, she was working at a job closer to her home and with greater pay and potential.  

What were her actions steps in finding the perfect new job?

  1. She took care of all the paperwork association with her former job and
     got it out of her way.
  2. She got together a solid resume. In talking with her, she was not overly boastful but felt like a company would be fortunate to have her and that she wanted a choice in where to work.  She deserved that as she was a fabulous administrative assistant.  
  3. Making sure she signed up on professional sites such as Linkedin secured the slot for the second move made.
  4. Thirdly, she made use of a professional employment agency.  After all, as she pointed out to me, the hiring company pays the fee and not the person being hired.  She set her expectations high.  In fact, the least salary she would accept was higher than what she was making before.  She put her "all" into each interview.  In the end, she had two job offers from which to choose.  Five years later, she is still at the company to which she accepted as her employer after the layoff.  

In contrast, what I saw from people who struggled more with the job search was a different approach.

  1. Some let all the above stated emotions basically paralyze them for a month or more. This paralysis kept them from engaging in the positive attitude job search needed.
  2. Most sent out resumes online to any job that looked remotely interesting or for which they qualified.  To a person, they all expressed frustration with the approach as they just did not hear back from the businesses to whom they applied.  
  3. The job search beyond looking online or in the paper for addresses for which to send resumes consisted maybe of looking at jobs through the Unemployment Commission.  Contrast this to the administrative assistant.  Recruiters at professional firms receive a commission when they fill a job for a company.  Their motivations work  FOR the job seeker. 
  4. These people, some of whom had decent severance packages, did not show as much a determination to get a job immediately as the fallback was the severance.  Unfortunately, more than one of those folks 

Before You Jump after a Job Loss, Dance around a Bit

Should you love the career from which you lost the job, follow the steps above.  Stay determined, and believe in yourself.  Hiring companies understand the economy and layoff situations.  So jump right on in to finding that perfect job in your field.

However, if there is something you have always wanted to do and could make a living doing it, consider those possibilities.   Dance around in exploring directions.  Some people from our corporation started their own businesses such as consulting services.  In a few instances those have become permanent,  great career paths.  For others, doing so kept the lights on until they landed something suitable and more permanent.  To a person though they say today that exploring losing a job enabled them to explore their career with a closer lens.