Imagine this: You are fired.
No matter what term your employer used – terminated, laid off, let go, restructured, and dismissed, downsized, right-sized the fact remains. You just lost your job. We used to think that 100-year-old firms were somehow safer than the brand new start-ups around the corner, but if you follow the daily news, you will find plenty of examples of how dangerous it can be to be in any industry, at any time:
Job Loss covers both imminent or recent job loss. So read on and give us your feedback.
What would you do if you got fired today? The important thing to realise is that the best time to put together a plan for “what if I got fired today” is anytime well before you actually need it.
That time is now.
So I’ve put together a few curated tips for insuring against unemployment by keeping yourself employable
Be thankful. At the end of each workday jot down one thing you enjoyed or appreciated that day. Small bits of gratitude remind you of why you took the job in the first place and help reinforce your ability to handle the rough times. If you do this every day, you’ll find yourself being more appreciative and your colleagues and secure in your work.
Show gratitude. At the start of each workday, email one colleague, vendor, or partner, and thank them specifically for something they’ve done for you. Showing your gratitude to others is just plain nice, but it also lets others know what you enjoy and expect to see from them. It doesn’t have to be long: “Steve — just wanted to say that you did a great job at the planning meeting yesterday and I thought you handled the question about the 2013 budget cycle very professionally — Marc.” The world will become appreciative of you for being so gracious. Over time, you’ll find that makes working together a richer and more enjoyable experience.
Have an opinion. Write one contrarian and one trend opinion post on your industry per month. 350 words are all you need. Show that you are witty and have a sense of humour. People won’t remember you if you are just another commentator. I only subscribe to editors with humour and grit. My rowing trainer already lectures us everyday, so I don’t need more of that. Also, you don’t need to start your own blog. Just use forums and websites from your industry or express an opinion on LinkedIn. You can start there and expand it later. Mate, that’s literally two minutes of talking out loud. You can talk for two minutes out loud, can’t you?
Become the #2 person in a local Meetup group in your area of specialty. Meetups are local groups that meet to discuss areas of common interest. You might call them Interest Groups or Industry memberships. There are over 100,000 Meetup topics that cover everything from Marketing and Business Law to nerdy or geeky things and more. Find one you like, start attending and contributing, and see how you can get involved in organizing the group. Oh, and if the right Meetup doesn’t exist in your town yet, you could even be the founder! You don’t have to live in a big city to network.
Keep up with the latest. Read the major Newspaper or maybe even two from your city, region or country. I enjoy reading the Sydney Morning Herald and the New York Times. It is a very important time of the day for me. I sit back and relax and I am in my “ Info Zone”. Pick a subject or writers like the Tech reporters Jenna Wortham and Nick Bilton. They write on cutting edge technology. Sign up for one of the services they mention and play with it for 15 minutes. You don’t have to love it — sometimes being able to explain why you don’t like a service or product is more valuable to an employer.
Get 100 followers on Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook that you don’t know. Interact with people in your industry and your area and build yourself a little safety net. It might take a week or it might take a year, but getting a community outside of your immediate work can actually feel very liberating and provide support and connections when you need them.
Stay connected. Once a year, reach out to your old bosses and let them know how you are doing. Anybody who has invested the time, effort, and attention in getting your head screwed on straight will likely enjoy hearing how you’ve turned out (and take credit if the result is positive!)
Stay in touch. Once a month, go to lunch with an old colleague, a former co-worker, a college classmate or a friend and do a face-to-face, nacho-to-nacho. It’s the only way to keep true human relationships going. So break bread, grab a drink, or meet before work to share your experiences and trials.
Keep connections warm. Go through all your contacts, e-mails, business cards, etc. and find fifty people from your industry that you wouldn’t ‘normally’ speak with in the next year. Assign those fifty people to the next fifty weeks — one person per week.
Each week, e-mail just that one person with a reminder that you exist and that you remember them: “Hey Jerry, I was just thinking about how great it was to meet you at the trade show show in Aukland. I wonder if that re-engineering project of yours ever finished! Well, stay in touch, and let me know if you’re ever in my town or want a few tips on the golf course or sample sales sites I was telling you about….”
With these few curated tips, and just 15 minutes a day — between meetings, between flights, in the car, on the train— you’ll keep yourself safe by purchasing the best type of unemployment insurance —employability.
Have a great week in the search. I’ll be cheering for you!
So now to the more acute scenario: You have just been fired.
I said it before and Ill repeat myself again… No matter what term your employer used – terminated, laid-off, let go, restructured, dismissed, downsized, or right-sized the fact remains that you just lost your job.
The thing is, you do not have to be negative about getting fired. This is part of the working experience. It reminds you to improve on some working aspects and opens doors for new and exciting working opportunities. I know how you feel and I know how tough it is to get those negative thoughts out of your mind, but you have to try and you have to focus on what really matters.
It is your mission to find a new Job.
Job Seeking is another type of Full Time job, so I suggest you get right back to work.
By the way – this is my personal approach and not necessarily what Psychologist and HR Experts advise.
If you are all stressed out and if you cant be bothered reading on… than skip to this great blog post by Margie Warrell from Forbes Women Magazine Bouncing Back from Job Loss: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Job Hunters
Otherwise read on….
Getting fired, or losing a job is hard. It is especially hard when you have done your best and when you are not prepared for it. I have been exposed to many job loss stories and I can safely say that most of the guys who shared their experiences with me had an inclination that something bad was going to happen. This is one of the reasons why I strongly suggest, that you are always prepared for the worst; even when you have a job.
It is upsetting, yes I know, but try not to be bitter about it. Yes, it hurts, but you need to stay calm and focused. Don’t be ashamed to tell your family, friends, relatives and the like that you are now back in the market. In this way, they may easily help you find a new job. So, go. And spread the word.
It is bloody stressful
For me my jobs past and present are much more than just the way I make a living. I believe that they have influenced how I see myself as well as the way others see me. Our jobs give us structure, purpose, and meaning. That’s why job loss and unemployment are some of the most stressful experiences you can have.
I have lost 3 jobs in my career and beyond the loss of income, losing a job also came with other major losses which were very difficult to face. The ones that bothered me the most were:
- Loss of my professional identity
- Loss of self-esteem and self-confidence (well kind off )
- Loss of my daily routine
- Loss of purposeful activity
- Loss of my work-based social network
- Loss of my sense of security
Grief is a normal response
Grief is a natural response to loss, and that includes the loss of a job. I loved almost all my jobs and for each one I was “in” it with all my passion and energy. Losing a job forced me to make rapid changes. You may feel angry, hurt, panicked, rejected, and scared when you first lose your job. You have every right to be upset, so accept your feelings and go easy on yourself.
Also remember that many, if not most, successful people have experienced major failures in their careers. Some of the most successful people on the planet have experienced job-loss, failure and unemployment. They have also turned those failures around by picking themselves up, learning from the experience, and trying again.
Mate “deal with it”
Fear, depression, and anxiety will make it harder to get back on the job market, so I suggest that you try to actively deal with your feelings and find healthy ways to grieve. This will help you to move on.
- Write about your feelings. Express everything you feel about being laid off or unemployed. Include things you wish you had said (or hadn’t said) to your former boss. This is especially cathartic if your layoff or termination was handled in an insensitive way. However, I strongly advise you to be professional and don’t get personal. Don’t be abusive. Just be honest. I did this 3 times in my career and my former bosses became my reference for my next job.
- Accept reality. So yes it is important to accept job loss and unemployment but it is equally important to avoid wallowing. Rather than dwelling on your job loss—how unfair it is, how poorly it was handled, things you could have done to prevent it, how much better life would be if it hadn’t happened—try to accept the situation. The sooner you do, the sooner you can get on with the next phase in your life.
Oh and another piece of personal feedback. Avoid talking to co-workers too much. The immediate time after a job loss is the worst. It is not helpful to share your feelings and anger with former co-workers. Defer them to another topic and maybe even check to see if they can offer you some immediate help. Ask if they can be a reference or if they can introduce you to a contact. If their response is positive, chase them, set dates and get on with it. These are the times when you learn the true character of your former co-workers and it is very good to learn from the experience as well.
- Don’t beat yourself up. It’s easy to start criticizing or blaming yourself when you’ve lost your job and are unemployed. You’ll need your self-confidence intact while you’re looking for a new job. Challenge every negative thought that goes through your head.
- Look for the silver lining. I know, it sounds hard when you have big bills coming in, but losing a job is easier to accept if you can find the lesson in your loss. What can you learn from the experience? Maybe your job loss and unemployment has given you a chance to reflect on what you want out of life and the opportunity to rethink your career priorities. Maybe it has made you stronger. If you look, you’re sure to find something of value.
Don’t underestimate the importance of other people when you’re faced with job loss and unemployment. Be proactive. Let people know that you lost your job and are looking for work.
Taking action will help you feel more in control of your situation—and you never know what opportunities will arise. Plus, the outpouring of support you receive may pleasantly surprise you. Simple words of sympathy and encouragement can be a huge boost in this difficult time.
Involve your family
Unemployment affects the whole family, so keep the lines of communication open. Tell your family what’s going on and involve them in major decisions. Keeping your job loss or your unemployment a secret will only make the situation worse. Working together as a family will help you survive and thrive, even in this difficult time.
- Keep your family in the loop. Tell them about your job search plans, let them know how you’re spending your time, update them on promising developments, and let them know how they can support you while you’re unemployed.
- Listen to their concerns. Your family members are worried about you, as well as their own stability and future. Give them a chance to talk about their concerns and offer suggestions regarding your job loss and unemployment.
- Make time for family fun. Set aside regular family fun time where you can enjoy each other’s company, let off steam, and forget about your job loss and unemployment troubles. This will help the whole family stay positive.
Helping Children Cope with a Parent’s Unemployment
One of my best friends is Bronwyn Carman, she is a great HR-Professional and an even greater mother. I see her Facebook posts about her kids and her family all the time. Bronwyn would have the following advice for you.
Children may be deeply affected by a parent’s unemployment. It is important for them to know what has happened and how it will affect the family. However, try not to overburden them with the responsibility of too many of the emotional or financial details.
- Keep an open dialogue with your children. Letting them know what is really going on is vital. Children have a way of imagining the worst when they write their own “scripts,” so the facts can actually be far less devastating than what they envision.
- Make sure your children know it’s not anybody’s fault. Children may not understand about job loss and immediately think that you did something wrong to cause it. Or, they may feel that somehow they are responsible or financially burdensome. They need reassurance in these matters, regardless of their age.
- Children need to feel they are helping. They want to help and having them do something like taking a cut in allowance, deferring expensive purchases, or getting an after-school job can make them feel as if they are part of the team.
Take care of yourself
- Maintain balance in your life. Don’t let your job search consume you. Make time for fun, rest, and relaxation—whatever revitalizes you. Your job search will be more effective if you are mentally, emotionally, and physically at your best.
- Make time for regular exercise. Exercise can be a great outlet for stress and worry while you’re unemployed and looking for work. It is also a powerful mood and energy booster.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleep has a huge influence on your mood and productivity. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night. It will help you keep your stress levels under control and maintain your focus throughout your job search.
When job search takes longer than expected :
- Keep a regular daily routine. When you no longer have a job to report to every day, you can easily lose motivation. Treat your job search like a regular job, with a daily “start” and “end” time. Following a set schedule will help you be more efficient and productive while you’re unemployed.
- Create a job search plan. Avoid getting overwhelmed by breaking big goals into small, manageable steps. Instead of trying to do everything at once, set priorities. If you’re not having luck in your job search, take some time to rethink your goals.
- Volunteer or get involved My personal favourite!
- Unemployment can wear on your self-esteem and make you feel useless. Volunteering or getting involved helps you maintain a sense of value and purpose. So if volunteering is not your thing, try to join a club or sports club and get involved. Join the Committee or the Fundraiser team, help with the events or the website. Helping others is an instantaneous mood booster. Volunteering and getting involved can also provide career experience, social support, and networking opportunities. You will be surprised how many “Captains of the Industries “ are actively involved in sports clubs and volunteer organisations. I enjoy it and I made some great friends via my involvement.
- Focus on the things you can control. Settle down. You can’t control how quickly a potential employer calls you back or whether or not they decide to hire you. Rather than wasting your precious energy on things that are out of your hands, turn your attention to things you can control during your unemployment, such as writing a great cover letter and resume tailored to the company you want to work for and setting up meetings with your networking contacts.