The loss of a job can place you in an unfamiliar position. It’s frequently a confusing time. You may be overwhelmed by financial strain, added stress, and uncertainty about your future. By knowing how to cope with job loss, you can move forward and find the next opportunity that’s perfect for you. In this article, we explain what the loss of a job is and share tips to help you move forward and get back in the job market.
What is the loss of a Job?
When you lose your job, you are no longer gainfully employed by the employer who let you go. You may lose your job through termination, also called being “fired,” or through a layoff. Although being terminated differs from being laid off, the end result is the same: you lose that job. Although job loss stress can be considerable, there are several ways to process and deal with job loss.
How to cope with job loss
After you’ve lost your job, you may not know what your next steps should be, but there are some best practices for getting back into the job market. Here are nine steps for getting past a job loss:
1. Take stock of how you feel
Job loss can make you feel a range of emotions. You may feel sad, disappointed, frustrated, or confused, all of which are perfectly normal and okay. It’s important to understand how you feel about the loss so you can properly move on from it later. More than just knowing how you feel, try to understand why you feel that way. You may feel sad because you’ll miss your coworkers or frustrated because you’ve spent years at the company as a loyal employee.
Ask yourself if you are experiencing any other emotions, such as relief. If you feel some relief alongside your sadness, maybe it’s because your work responsibilities didn’t allow you to achieve the work/life balance that’s perfect for your needs. Job loss doesn’t have to be an entirely bad experience. Instead, it can be a time for you to process what’s happened and look for an opportunity that’s a better fit.
2. Turn to your loved ones for support
As you process your feelings, you may find comfort and emotional support through your friends, family, and neighbors. You may feel the need to talk about what happened, and your loved ones are usually the most skilled at listening and being there for you during this period. If you support your family financially, think about talking with them about your job loss and how it may impact their lives, whether that’s adhering to a family budget or needing to cut back on extracurricular activities.
3. Figure out your finances
One of the first things you may worry about after a job loss is your finances. With any job loss, you can usually expect your household income to decrease, but there are ways to not feel the effects as profoundly. As soon as you can, check into how to receive unemployment benefits. Details and qualifications typically vary by state, and the U.S. Department of Labor is a great resource for information on the laws where you live. You may also want to take on side jobs or freelance work as you’re trying to find your next full-time opportunity.
4. Expand your social reach
If you worked in an office with others, chances are your circle of friends included your coworkers. When you work with the same people on a regular basis, it’s typical to form bonds when coordinating projects and sharing concerns when you’re experiencing a tough day. When you no longer have your job, you may also end up losing those relationships too. However, there are ways to build valuable connections with others that don’t rely on working in the same space.
To expand your social connections after a job loss, consider:
Joining a book club: A book club can provide you with the opportunity to have real discussions about your book selections and likely share personal stories too. You can meet at coffee shops, at each other’s homes, or at a local park when the weather is nice. Plus, books can expand your mind while distracting you from your job loss.
Volunteering: Putting your time and effort into doing something good for another individual or an organization can help boost your self-confidence. Think about the organizations that mean a lot to you, then inquire about volunteer opportunities. If you volunteer regularly, you’re more likely to get to know other regular volunteers and form relationships with them.
Attending networking events and workshops: Even when you’re unemployed, it’s a good idea to remain active in your industry’s community. Consider joining any membership-based organizations that specialize in your field as some of them may have resources you can use to get back to work. Attend workshops so you can gain valuable skills to add to your resume.
Hosting a neighborhood potluck: If work has previously kept you from getting to know your neighbors better, now may be the perfect time to change that. Because your neighbors live close together, you can all look out for each other, help when needed or even just be there for support. Think about hosting a potluck, backyard BBQ, or community yard sale so you can invite families from around the block and form a group of people you can socialize with and rely upon.
5. Take time for yourself
After a job loss, think about taking some time for yourself to realize new interests and get back into your old hobbies. There may be something you once loved doing but just haven’t had the time to indulge in recently. By renewing your hobbies, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to enjoy an activity outside of work.
This can be the ideal time to read, go on hikes, establish a self-care routine, or take classes in topics that enrich and interest you, such as photography, painting, or learning a foreign language. Ultimately, taking time for yourself is a way to take care of yourself, so try to eat right, drink plenty of water, and get adequate sleep. Practicing healthy habits can help keep you active and in the right frame of mind for finding a new job.
6. Decide which job you’d like next
Now is the perfect time to decide what kind of job you’d like to pursue next. If your job loss made you realize that your former job wasn’t the best position for you because you worked long hours, were too stressed, or had to work individually a lot when you are more of a team player, then you can take this time to figure out your ideal work environment. This can mean finding a new place of employment whose culture matches your values a little better, or it could mean that you pursue a new career path altogether.
7. Reach out to your network
Once you have an idea of what your next step will be, reach out to your network and see if anyone has leads they can share with you. Their own place of employment may be hiring for a role that would be perfect for you. This same contact can also write a letter of recommendation and officially refer you to the role. Consider posting your interests on your social profiles so those beyond your professional network, such as family members and friends, know you’re searching for your next role.
8. Create a portfolio
A portfolio is something you can present to a recruiter or hiring manager to showcase your work from previous roles. You can put your portfolio on a website, prepare a presentation, or even print out your remarkable work and include copies of it in a binder. Portfolios are a great way to show your actual achievements to employers beyond merely listing them as bullet points on your resume. By creating your portfolio, you may also feel more confident in your abilities.
9. Start applying for new opportunities
Sometimes the best way to deal with the loss of a job is to pursue a new one. If you’ve spent some time reflecting on the kind of position you want, narrowing down your choices should go smoother. However, applying for jobs can take some time. Try making a plan for searching and applying for positions, which may include how many jobs you’ll apply for in a week or a commitment to spending only a certain amount of time per day looking for something new.
The application process can also be overwhelming, but by breaking up your process into manageable steps, you may find it easier to tackle. If your job search isn’t yielding you the results you want, think about reevaluating your goals and possibly changing your approach.