Whether your ego has taken a hit, you’re worried about the change in your finances, or you feel as though your dream career has been totally derailed, losing your job can be crushing.
However, feeling genuine grief, however it presents itself, after being let go is a totally normal feeling——and whether you believe it right now or not, it can actually be the best thing to happen to your career, even if that role was your exact desired job title.
“It is important to mourn the loss of the job and evaluate all the things about the job that were good and bad,” says Tom Marino, a life and career coach who works with clients in career transition.
Whether it’s a fresh wound or it’s been a few weeks, it’s vital to remember the good things that happened in that job and evaluate the skills you learned from it—even if you’re feeling angry or hurt. As in any relationship, like yours with an employer, you must evaluate what you learned from the experience.
If you’re currently mourning the loss of your job, these expert-approved tips will help you overcome the unexpected change, evaluate what you learned and come out with an even stronger mindset.
Step 1: allow yourself to feel the loss.
“When speaking with folks going through this situation, I encourage them to allow themselves to feel the loss because not only is it a loss of stability and security (i.e., a schedule, colleagues, a paycheck, etc.), but it is also a loss of part of their identity and can bring up alternating waves of doubt, insecurity, anger, and betrayal.” says Diana Morris, a clarity coach who helps people identify and get what they want in the next chapter of their life, even in times of uncertainty. “As these feelings ebb and flow, I also encourage folks to really sit and think about what was and was not working in that position so that they can strategically take those lessons into the next phase of their life.”
Step 2: understand that it’s not personal.
“The first thing to do is understand that it’s not personal—many people lose their jobs—and your job is not who you are, it’s what you do,” says Suzanne Wolko, Finance & Human Relations expert. “If your identity was your job, it will take longer to separate and grieve the loss.”
“When I lost my job after twenty years I ran away from my life and the daily drama bubble. I jumped on a cruise ship from Miami to Barcelona to travel in Europe for nearly three months to reset my mind, body and soul to figure out who I was without the job, what was important in my life and what the next chapter should look like. I had to mentally prepare myself for the job search process.”
Step 3: try to change the perspective.
“This happened for you, not to you,” says Marino. “It forces us to reevaluate our values and what is important for us. When we believe things happened for us, we allow for better things to happen.” “Maybe it trained you for the opportunity that you will be going after next or prepared you for those steps—there’s always a silver lining and trusting that you will find something better and then manifest that to happen will immediately begin to change how you look at your new reality.
Step 4: become resourceful.
“Once you have truly come to terms with your job loss and have taken the time to properly grieve, now is the time to get resourceful and strategic about your next steps in developing your career versus just looking for a job to pay the bills,” says Kimberly Ramsawak, CEO and founder of Professional Jetsetter, a career coaching company where she helps professional ambitious women find their travel dream jobs.
So, Instead of taking personality or self-assessment tests that provide broad or general career advice, find an underlying theme among a variety of things that you find interesting, really taking the time to figure out what type of industry or job functions interest you the most. Then get really specific about the type of career niche and respective job function and job title you want within a particular industry
Step 5: be a job creator rather than a job searcher.
“Come out stronger and empowered by becoming a job creator versus a job searcher,” Ramsawak urges. In order to tap into the hidden job market where 80% of the jobs exist, Ramsawak suggests developing a targeted list of 5-10 companies that you are interested in working based on your desired career niche, job function or job title.
Use social media (LinkedIn, Twitter) to research and find current/former employees at those companies and reach out to them to learn more about their companies, their jobs, to get the inside scoop on the industry overall and job opportunities that exist before they are made public; where you can then craft a tailored resume that caters to those targeted opportunities.