If you’ve ever been laid off, downsized, outsourced, eliminated, removed or any other verb for the many involuntary reasons you may leave a job, you know that it doesn’t always feel good. You may not agree. The situation may not always be fair. However, I challenge you to take a different perspective on the situation. While it is easy to feel angry, resentful, hateful or otherwise disadvantaged by the situation, you will absolutely not do yourself any good by harboring these sentiments. Okay, if you need an hour or a day to feel bad about it, go ahead. Get through the mourning and get on to moving on. However, as you move on, look back on the situation for all you’ve gained and not what you’ve lost. Not only will it help you on your job search, but you’ll get yourself in a winning state of mind that will accelerate your path forward.
You’re saying, “Hold on a second. It isn’t that easy, dude.” To that I respond, it is much easier than you think. Listen, most of us have felt rejection in some form or another. It is a part of life. When this happens with work, it can be devastating to realize that the safety and security you felt in your job are gone. The feeling for some can be debilitating and crippling. The worry about financial security, retirement and reputation are real thoughts that you will have. If you can think your way out of it, and you can, you will realize things aren’t so bad. You will get through this. You’ll bounce back. You will be better off. You will come out on the other end of this a better person. This isn’t some self-help BS. Here are some concrete ways to take a job loss and turn it into a win for you.
Mourn for a Minute (Then Get Over It)
Look, losing a job sucks for whatever reason. That doesn’t even matter right now. The first thing you must do is take a minute and feel sorry. Mourning is critical. Let the emotions take over. If you need to cry, do that. If you need to scream, ok. But, you have a minute to do this. Take an hour if you really want, but once you’re through that first day, no more crying. You don’t have time to cry anymore. As much as this sucks, you will be okay. Don’t panic. Don’t let fear and anger fester. Genuinely get over it and focus on the future.
Be Thankful for Your Last Job
You are coming out of this situation with more knowledge and more confidence in your abilities than you realize. You should be thankful for that. Do not let this situation turn into resentment, hate or disgust. Do not turn to job boards and leave horrible reviews. I encourage you to take the high road no matter what. For so many reasons you will be doing yourself more harm than good to dwell on the negative. No job or business is perfect, but for some period of time, that business saw great value in you and probably rewarded you well for it. Just because things ended prematurely or even untimely, look back on the experience in a positive light by being thankful. Reach out to your former colleagues and thank them for their kindness, help, and friendship. Thank them for the good times you shared. Often the relationships will endure long after you start your new job. At every turn, show genuine gratitude for your former role. Once you realize how much you have to be thankful for, you will find it so much easier to move on.
Take Stock of Your Accomplishments
You need to polish up that resume, so you will really want to document all of your wins. Realize that you are a smarter, more knowledgeable person than when you started that job. Whether you were in that role for two weeks or two decades, you earned some benefit from your role. Depending on the environment in which you worked, you probably had to take on projects and tasks that may have been beyond your job description. Be honest about your accomplishments, there are many. Take stock of new software you learned or the successful completion of projects. Did you take on a big challenge or many and completed them with success?
Reach Out to Everyone You Know, ASAP
There are lots of statistics out there on the percentage of people who land jobs through connections. I have heard the number range from 50% to 80%. Regardless of the actual percentage, connections matter. Whether or not you’re a natural born networker or not, people do care about you. Let them know you’re on the market. Share your resume. Ask for their help. You may be surprised at how many people genuinely want to help you. It is in times of adversity that you will see the best in people. You will get interviews faster and maybe even for better jobs than simply applying to any open listing you see on LinkedIn. Stay positive. Highlight your accomplishments. Let people know what you want to do next. If someone works at a company you like, let them know. Relationships matter and people are awesome. You will see.
Just because at the moment you’re not making your way into an office every day, doesn’t mean you can loaf off and enjoy the vacation. You have work to do. With work come goals. Set goals that make sense for your situation. Whether you set the goal of applying to 5 jobs per day or plan to run 5 miles each day, the targets are your choice. Hold yourself accountable to these regular goals and you will find that your days are full and rewarding as you seek your next gig.
It may only be a few weeks until you land your next job. It could be months. In the time between your jobs stay positive. You will get some rejections from jobs you seem ideal for. You will face disappointments. You will face stresses and challenges. Stay ahead of your fears and self-doubt. Focus on yourself during this time. Get outside. Go to the gym. Shop a bit. Make some new recipes. Learn a new piece of software. Read some books. Spend more time with the ones you love and care about. Staying busy, productive and motivated will help you maintain the right state of mind you will need to be in when you meet with your prospective employers. Remember, you’re in control of how you feel.
Social media is a level playing field. Take up posting on Twitter, Medium, and your own blog. Write about the things you have learned. Write about your passions. Write about just about anything that when read by a prospective employer will cast you in a positive light. Prospective employers do check social media, so build the profile that matters. Additionally, look for speaking gigs at local career or events related to your industry. Keep yourself out there. While you probably won’t be paid for these smaller gigs, the networking and experience are worth it all.
Remember, being in this situation was not your choice, but how you feel about it and what you do about it are in your control. Do the right things and you’ll come out of this better than where you started. Most times a new job means higher pay, more opportunity and a fresh perspective on work and life. Don’t burn bridges, build them. Life is good, even if that’s the last thing you want to believe. You’ve got this!
Do you have your own ideas and thoughts on this topic? Drop some comments below!