10 steps to recover and reset your course for a bright future
Involuntarily losing a job can be both financially and emotionally devastating, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. For some, in fact, it’s a new beginning. Consider the following 10 steps to help you recover from an unexpected job loss and reset your course for a better future.
Before you do anything else, update your résumé. This will force you to consider what you accomplished in your former position and add any new experiences. If it wasn’t much, then recognize that the job wasn’t fulfilling for you. Either way, this exercise can help restore positive feelings.
Once you start to feel a little more confident, it’s a good idea to vent about what happened to someone you trust. You may wish to vent to someone from your former company, but be careful not to be too disparaging since that person still works there. The purpose is to exorcise your negative feelings about the situation – so you don’t carry them into future job interviews.
After you’ve let out all of the negativity, do something that restores your sanity. If you need some time for yourself and can afford it, then take it. But restoration doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation. It can be anything from a rejuvenating nature hike to a night out with friends. Spending quality time with your family is another good way to restore your focus on what’s truly important in your life.
Contact former colleagues to solicit referrals while you’re still fresh in their minds. Many may want to help by making introductions to their network. Establish/update your profile on LinkedIn and send invitations to colleagues you respect. Ask for written referrals you can post to your profile. Schedule networking opportunities in which to glean advice, leads, encouragement, ideas and words of wisdom. You may be surprised by stories about job losses from others – you are certainly not alone in this situation.
Establish a routine to stay physically active. This will help restore a sense of discipline and physical exercise releases endorphins that can help reduce anxiety, give you energy to tackle an organized job search, boost self-esteem and improve sleep – all typical symptoms that occur after job loss.
Fortunately, healthcare benefits are no longer tied to employment. If you lose your job, you may now purchase coverage via the government exchanges, and may even qualify for affordable subsidized coverage until you land your next job. You also have the option to continue coverage through COBRA, which allows you to keep the same coverage you had with your employer (for up to 18 months) by paying the negotiated group rate on your own.
Review your expenses for the next few months and cut out anything you don’t need. If part of a couple, consider how well or how long you can live on a single income, and create a time frame by when you’ll need to secure another position. You should also work with your financial advisor to identify contingency sources of income. Developing best- and worst-case scenario plans can help you feel more in control.
If you need a job right away to make ends meet, consider something part time until you figure out the best move for your career. You’ll want something flexible so you can still interview and attend to the needs of your family, if applicable. Apply for jobs that offer exposure to networking opportunities.
Unemployment benefits are available to many people who get fired. However, they can take a while to begin, so apply right away. Your company likely has been paying unemployment insurance coverage for your position all along, so don’t be shy about claiming this benefit.
This is your chance to redefine your future. Put some time into assessing what you really want from your career – perhaps you’re interested in a new industry or want to become an entrepreneur. Also consider what type of position will best meet your family’s needs – maybe a more flexible work schedule and work/life balance benefits.
It’s important to think about where you’d like to be in your career a year, five or 10 years down the road. Leaving one job gives you the opportunity to redefine the career path of your own choosing – something not always available to employees for whom there is only one trajectory in their current company. The important thing is to change your mindset from one of rejection to opportunity: Embrace the future.
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