Surviving Job Loss

by Kurow, M.S., Dale Monday, April 30, 2012
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If you are one of the many who are unemployed or anticipate being out of work, read on.

When you lose a job, whether by choice or not, you may feel loss, fear and its helpful cousin, anxiety.

It may have been a miserable situation that you couldn't wait to leave. You may start beating yourself up (mentally and emotionally) for having stayed too long, for lack of foresight and for the dread of having to begin a job search.

These emotions are draining, debilitating and make you want to stay in bed.


Here are some tips that I've learned through the years to deal with job loss:


Initially, give yourself the time to feel and deal with the loss.
That may mean you need to postpone your job search. That's okay. You'll come back stronger after taking the time you need. However, if you can't get out of bed after a week or two, seek professional support.


From day one, focus on taking care of yourself.
This is not the time to eat junk food or give up your exercise program. Your immune system takes a hit when you are stressed, so give it the fuel and care it needs to help you stay healthy.


Visit with close family and friends.
You need hugs, comfort and support. The best place to get it is with people who love you. Don't isolate yourself for days.


Take time to be reflective.
Think about what your strengths are and what part(s) of your last job you would want to do again. Take notes.


If your last boss was a monster, think about what you would look for in your next boss.
What type of personality and temperament would you seek? What would you avoid? How will you know if it's a good fit?


Rehearse how you will handle questions about your previous employer, especially if you were forced out.
Don't get bogged down in too many details. Most employers know that companies reorganize, resulting in staff changes. You don't need to lie. You can position your former situation in a positive light, without sounding like a victim.


Limit the amount of time you spend speaking with former coworkers.
You don't need to rehash what happened and who said what about whom. This is a waste of time.


If you really feel blue, think about past successes in your career or life.
Focus on times when you felt joyful. Look at photos of trips or events when you were happy.

Your "job" before getting a job is to keep yourself well and heal prior to launching your job search campaign. You'll be more successful, and have more confidence and poise, if you give yourself time to restore your energy and resolve.