After losing a job, it’s natural to feel a sense of loss. Right now, you might be feeling hopeless or overwhelmed. You might not have any idea how to proceed or how to keep up with your current standard of living. However, losing a job can actually be an opportunity to reflect on the quality of your career life and the changes you want to make. Take these steps immediately following a job loss to bounce back and return to the job force even stronger:
1. Use Your Feelings for Good
Some people will say that everyone needs some time off to “process” the job loss. This isn’t for everyone, however. If you’re feeling angry over a job termination, channel some of that energy into finding a job that’s even better. If you’re unsure of your next career step, ask yourself a few simple questions:
- What lessons can I learn from my recent job loss?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses?
- What are my work non-negotiables (what do I need) and desirables (what do I want)?
For example, if you disliked your last job because you had gossiping employees or an ineffectual boss, consider self-employment or seeking out companies with an ethical company culture. Find out what went wrong, and use your energy to come back even stronger.
2. Be Realistic About Your Next Steps
For some people, losing a job can be a good opportunity for introspection and figuring out what you want from your professional career. But others must be more practical. For example, there might be financial constraints that require you to take on a job sooner rather than later. If you don’t have the luxury of months of introspection, realize that your next job might not be “The One.” If you do find another job that’s not a perfect fit, know that you’re not stuck in it forever – and keep thinking about what you really want to do next.
3. Consider a Career Coach
Still others have been in a career for so long that they’ve effectively been living their lives in autopilot: hit the alarm, hit the grind, go home. Rinse, dry, repeat. For these people, losing a job can bring ennui or existential crisis. An executive coach or a career coach can help you determine your next steps and will help you discover how you got into your current predicament – and what you need to do to live your best professional life.
4. Take Care of Yourself
No matter how you approach it, unemployment is a stressful time. It’s essential that you take care of yourself. Shoot for 8 hours of sleep each night, eat healthfully, and get plenty of exercise. These are methods proven to reduce stress and keep your mental health at its best. If you’re not keeping your brain and heart healthy, you won’t be as well prepared to tackle the job-seeking process that lies ahead.
Losing a job can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be a tragedy. Follow these steps to bounce back after a job loss and come back even stronger.